M.D. Grimm has a new MM fantasy romance out (ace, bi, demi): A Priest, a Plague, and a Prophecy. And there’s a giveaway.
“Orcs are the answer but what is the question?”
Elias is a priest at the Temple of the Divine Sibyl. When he becomes lost in the woods after his brother’s hunting party abandons him, it’s just his luck that he’d stumble upon an angry orc caught in a trap. Unable to stomach the suffering of others, Elias throws self-preservation to the wind and frees the orc. Then Gurrkk—that’s a name?—ends up leading him to safety.
Gurrkk finds himself rather smitten by the sweet, awkward human. He’s always been fascinated with his people’s sworn enemy, and now he has a life debt to fulfill to maintain his honor.
Hiding an orc among the temple’s crypts wouldn’t have been Elias’s first choice but Gurrkk is stubborn about leaving. As they learn each other’s languages and spend more time together, Elias realizes they’ve become friends… and maybe more. And when the dying sibyl gives her last prophecy, Elias knows it wasn’t chance that brought them together, it was the gods.
This is a sweet, ace romance, so no sexy times, but plenty of snuggles and cuddles!
M.D. is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card with this tour:
Elias closed his eyes and clasped his hands under his chin, sending a fervent prayer to the gods, asking for a sign. Any sign that would lead him home. Seconds passed. Minutes. He cracked open one eye to look around. Seeing nothing, he glared and set his fists on his hips.
So much for divine intervention.
“I’m one of your priests, and you don’t give me the time of day,” he mumbled as he set off down the left-hand path.
He was hungry again.
Even as he was contemplating the pros and cons of eating one of his last apples, he stumbled around a thick tree before halting in shock.
An orc sat on the ground, his greenish-gold skin glistening with sweat and his coal-black eyes glaring with menace. He was almost bald, except for a spiky strip of green hair running from his forehead to the back of his skull. The lack of hair accentuated his large ears that moved independently of each other. Two pronounced fangs jutted up from his lower jaw, which was square and blunt, and more sharp teeth showed when he growled.
Elias stayed frozen, taking in the long black tunic cinched at the waist by a gold cord. The short sleeves were trimmed with gold thread, baring muscled arms. The stately garb struck Elias, making him wonder as to the status of the orc. Did they have hierarchy as humans did? The tunic ended around his knees, leaving the rest of his muscled legs bare. Also, this orc wasn’t of monstrous size, so he couldn’t be of the mountain variety. He was certainly taller and broader than Elias, but also leaner, corded with muscle, like that big cat Elias had spotted earlier. And his face was… not horrible. Brutish and sharp but not hideous or even ugly. Those illustrators of tomes really set out to depict orcs as the most horrific creatures ever to grace the earth.
The urge to run made his palms grow damp and his breath to quicken. Not that he could run for more than a few steps before wheezing because he was so damn out of shape, and why the hell didn’t he train with his brother? I’m going to die, I’m going to die….
Then his gaze traveled down to the reason the orc was sitting on the ground and not eating his face. Vicious steel jaws had the orc by the ankle, piercing deeply into his flesh. The jaws were attached to a chain that was buried into to the earth. The fact the orc hadn’t freed himself meant this was one of the trick jaws. One specifically made for capturing orcs. The scoured earth around the chain proved that the orc had tried to dig himself free but clearly hadn’t succeeded. His ankle was a mess of torn flesh and caked blood, and only then did Elias notice the buzz of flies.
How long had he been sitting there, in pain? In fear?
Sympathy rose with anger not far behind. Elias and the orc stared at each other, and Elias found himself stepping closer without consciously deciding his actions. The orc growled deeper, eyes narrowed in warning. Elias stopped again, wondering what he was doing. This was an orc! The enemy! The beasts that kept trying to take their lands. Attius’s tirades whirled through his mind even as the battle songs about marauding orcs jangled in his memory.
He’d never joined in. He’d never had anything personal against orcs. He never thought one way or another about them. Fighting them wasn’t a part of his world. Most of his life had been spent ensconced in the Temple of the Divine Sibyl, which was safely behind fortified stone walls and separated from the general populace of the city.
He was sheltered and he knew it. To see such ugly pain in another living creature struck him to the core. That was one of the reasons he didn’t eat meat. He couldn’t reconcile killing just to feed himself when there were plenty of other things to consume if he simply looked.
At that moment, this orc was no different than any other wild animal caught in a trap. And would he let such a creature die so horribly? No, he would not.
Taking a deep breath, and with more courage than he would profess to have, Elias crouched before slowly pushing off his pack. He kept his eyes on the orc and opened the top flap before tilting it to show the orc that it only held medicines, plant samples, parchment, and ink.
“I don’t want to hurt you,” he said gently. “Can you understand me?”
The orc made no indication either way. He continued to growl and glare.
“I want to help you.” Elias took the one weapon he had, a long dagger, and showed the orc the blade before tossing it away. The orc stopped growling and blinked in apparent surprise. Elias shuffled closer on his knees, keeping his demeanor as non-threatening as possible. He almost snorted—as if a soft priest like him could be threatening. He kept speaking in low tones as he would to a frightened animal. He kept his pack held out in front of him, hoping the harmless items would convince the orc he wasn’t a hunter.
The orc’s large nostrils flared, and he squinted into the bag. He must have smelled the remaining apples, the plant samples, and the few healing ointments Elias carried with him everywhere. Elias set the bag within easy reach of the orc just in case he wanted to investigate. Then he took a good look at the steel jaws and winced.
The orc didn’t wear shoes, his sturdy, rough feet tough enough not to need them. His nails were more like claws, almost identical to those on his fingers. The trap would have been covered, and he’d stepped directly onto the triggering mechanism. The blades had barely missed his foot to cut into his ankle, probably scraping against the bones and tendons.
Elias took a moment to fight nausea.
“Damn. Once I free your leg it’s going to bleed profusely. I have to wrap it fast and tight.” He glanced up and met the orc’s eyes. Grim determination stared back at him and Elias blinked. “You do understand me.”
M.D. Grimm has wanted to write stories since second grade (kind of young to make life decisions, but whatever) and nothing has changed since then (well, plenty of things actually, but not that!).
Thankfully, she has indulgent parents who let her dream, but also made sure she understood she’d need a steady job to pay the bills (they never let her forget it!). After graduating from the University of Oregon and majoring in English, (let’s be honest: useless degree, what else was she going to do with it?) she started on her writing career and couldn’t be happier.
Working by day and writing by night (or any spare time she can carve out), she enjoys embarking on romantic quests and daring adventures (living vicariously, you could say) and creating characters that always triumph against the villain, (or else what’s the point?) finding their soul mate in the process.
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