Alas, a tsunami of health issues knocked me off my game in 2014, so I didn’t finish the book. Until now....
Because loyal readers helped me keep up my spirits during my health crisis, I’ve decided that while writing the rest of Thick as Ice, I will post chapters from the book here on my blog. Unlike with Rattletrap, I may not post the entire book. My publisher has the rights to any sequel (and to the characters), so I am limited to how much can be posted at any one time. In other words, I may take down chapters so I can put up new ones, or I may have to pull the book about halfway through. Just giving a heads up about that. You’re still getting an advance peek and, as readers who were on hand during Thieves’ debut might recall, I have my own kind of reward program.
After Vorgell the barbarian fucks himself with a unicorn horn, he ends up in a cell with Maddog, a pretty young thief. It’s lust at first sight for Vorgell—but honestly, he can’t help it. Unicorn horn is a potent aphrodisiac, and now he can’t stop thinking about sex. Luckily, Madd is one male witch who knows how to put Vorgell’s new magical body to good use when he tricks Vorgell into a kiss that helps them escape.
Vorgell may desire sex in general—and Madd in particular—but Madd has no intention of being screwed by a man twice his size. He has problems of his own, including an enchanted collar that causes him to desire his most hated enemy. He wants that collar off as soon as possible, but that requires stealing a basilisk egg from the castle they just escaped.
Drawn together by lust and magic, the two men join forces and soon find themselves up to their necks in witches, wizards, and trouble. Vorgell and Madd might just be perfect for each other, but first they have to survive long enough to find out.
Thick as Ice, Chapter 1a
The ice harpy looked unhappy. Her flat little eyes fixed on Vorgell and she fluffed her ice-rimmed leg feathers in warning. The temperature in the room plummeted so that his next breath emerged as frost.
Vorgell had never seen a happy ice harpy. Even when not imprisoned like this one was in an enchanted cage at the center of a magical room, ice harpies were miserable creatures. To start with, their magic froze everything around them. The cold air of this room would have reduced him to violent shivers had he not had the forethought to clothe his body with furs in the middle of summer. Even the moonlight pouring through the glazed windows was cold. He glanced toward the other side of the room, where Madd crouched on the floor behind the ice harpy’s back. His partner was also bundled in furs as he worked on the room’s magical perimeter.
Vorgell’s job was to occupy the harpy.
He shrugged out of his heavy fur cloak. The leather jerkin he still wore showcased his broad chest and manly arms. The harpy craned her neck and spread her wings the better to display two very human-looking breasts atop her narrow, bird-like body. As was usual with ice harpies, her breasts were enticing. billowy soft, with pink perky nipples. Vorgell knew better than to fall for such charms. He’d seen ice harpies in action. The moment the lustful harpy succeeded in mounting him—an act he was determined to thwart—her pretty tits would deflate into unsightly bags. Not only were ice harpies miserable, they were devious. His cock, however, responded to the sight of two large firm globes and glorious cleavage by plumping with eager interest, pushing out his trouser front.
He damned the unicorn magic that made him susceptible to sexual lures of every persuasion. That he had fucked a unicorn horn in a moment of weakness left him vulnerable now… and very appealing to the ice harpy. One of the most unsavory of magical beasts, ice harpies needed to mate with human males if they were to breed. This was difficult on two counts: not only were the sexual habits of ice harpies disgusting, but any man who succumbed to their questionable charms ended up freezing to death. Willing males were hard to come by.
No wonder this harpy now eyed Vorgell with anticipation. From across the room, Madd looked up with a scowl and gesticulated that he needed a little more time. Apparently the wizards who had set the wards had been as skilled as was rumored. Madd was now gloveless and working frantically, but at least he still wore several layers of furs. Vorgell was beginning to shiver.
Forcing a grin of nonchalance, Vorgell opened the flap of his trousers, releasing his erect cock into view. Breasts bobbing, the ice harpy danced on her perch. The feathered mound between her plump avian legs opened to reveal a rosy slit already wreathed by mist in the frigid air. It was… terrifying, actually. Vorgell swallowed hard. He waggled his cock and, when he saw the harpy was transfixed by the sight, shot a desperate look at Madd.
Two slender cones of bluish light rose from the floor to each side of the softly chanting, dark-haired male witch. Madd extended his slender hands and touched each blue magical object with a gleaming dragon’s fang. The wards flared and vanished. Madd raised his head, lifted his thumb, and delivered a wide grin of triumph that nearly melted Vorgell on the spot… which was good considering how frozen he was beginning to feel. The little guy’s smile also went straight to Vorgell’s cock, inspiring dreams of how he planned to celebrate.
Emboldened by thoughts of Madd wrapping those bewitching lips around him, Vorgell stepped forward across the now disarmed floor. His approach caused the harpy to lift her wings and squawk with excitement. She pressed herself against the bars, licked her thin little lips and craned toward him. Kneeling below the cage, he removed the water pouch tucked between his belt and belly and trickled a stream into a depression in the floor. It took only a moment for the water in the mold to freeze into a key. He retrieved it and stood to unlock the door. Unnoticed behind the harpy, Madd crept up with all the stealth of a seasoned cutpurse and thief.
The door swung open. With a shriek of lust, the harpy leaped upon Vorgell. Her thighs gripped his hips and her nauseating breath iced his lips right before Madd tossed a net of blood-hued string and gold-edged red feathers over the creature and the contraption snapped tight around her, binding the harpy into an feathered ball. The room noticeably warmed.
“Quick!” Madd wrapped his fur cloak over the harpy and scooped her up into his arms as he hurried toward the window through which they’d entered.
Vorgell dashed to get his own fur cloak—wolf pelts were costly and he had paid much for the work—and fastened it around his shoulders. He caught up with Madd in a bare few leaps, his long legs eating the distance. Making a stirrup of his hands, he catapulted Madd and their prize up onto the window ledge, then climbed to join him.
They left nothing behind but a puddle from the melted key.
* * * *
“You could take a turn at the oars.”
Vorgell’s arms were getting tired. Though it was only morning and the sun had yet to clear the trees lining the bank, so much sweat streamed down his body, plastering his shirt across his back and his pants to his ass, he might as well have taken a swim in the river. Thanks to his willingness to row through the night, his and Madd’s plank boat had made swift progress downstream. They were now well away from the Serene Prince’s palace and faced little risk of pursuit. The harpy, the crown jewel of the mad aristocrat’s menagerie, rested between Vorgell’s boots.
“You really want me to row?” Madd could take any request and make it sound ridiculous. “I have as much talent for brute work as you have for magic. Let’s start with the obvious: I’m a third your size. Your right arm alone dwarfs my whole body.”
Not quite true, but it was easier for Vorgell to resume rowing than it was to argue the point. The oars bit deep into the dark water as Vorgell pulled with all his might, causing his chest to expand and his mighty muscles to bunch. Madd’s smile stretched into an appreciative leer. He looked very comfy sitting on the bales of furs that had formerly been their protection from magical cold.
“I’ve been rowing all the way. I could use a break.” Vorgell grunted at the oars.
“I’m enjoying the view.”
Vorgell could say the same. Ever since dawn’s first soft light he had been admiring Madd’s delectable person. His partner had shed the furs and now only a loose tunic and coarsely woven breeches stood between him and Vorgell’s lustful gaze. Even after months of partnership, Vorgell’s blood rose at every flash of his partner’s dark eyes and cutting smile. Were they not in a hurry to pass the harpy off to their mysterious buyer, he would have pounced on the man and risked upsetting the boat.
He turned to look downstream, making sure they weren’t headed toward some hazard. They’d so far avoided fallen trees and sandbars. Now the shapes of Gurgh’s towers stood etched in the misty distance. He lifted the oars from the water and laid them in the bottom of the boat, taking care to avoid the harpy. From the breasthook at the bow, a long-bodied green creature lifted its rosy crest and chittered softly at being disturbed. Vorgell shot Petal a grin.
The basilisk had done her job well, guarding the boat so they could make a clean escape. Two new stone dogs, frozen in mid-bark, now graced the Serene Prince’s waterside garden.
“Keep rowing, why don’t you? I’m not sitting on a Sun prince’s throne back here. I’m downwind of the harpy.” Madd illustrated his complaint by waving his hand. “That thing smells worse than the Back End of Gurgh.”
“I warned you about that.” Vorgell reached for Petal, who scooted up his arm. Their combined movement rocked boat, creating wavelets, and he laughed when Madd clutched at the sides.
Madd scowled. “Laugh if you want, but the boat leaks and that harpy reeks.”
“You told me the magical web thing would take care of the stench. Other than not sparing our noses, it’s doing a good job. But that net looks uncomfortable. Are you certain the harpy isn’t suffering?”
“You actually care about that?” Madd arched an eyebrow. “You do realize the harpy wanted to fuck you into an icicle. The only reason it didn’t is because I made a perfect throw.”
“Yes, you did.” His partner was nothing if not deft of hand and wit. “I just want to make sure we keep to our rules.”
“Don’t be an oaf. Let’s go through it again, shall we? Is the harpy human?” Madd lifted one finger. “No, it is not. So stealing it doesn’t break that rule. Did we snatch it from—or in any other way offend—a wizard? No. We stole it from the Serene Prince, who is crazy but not a wizard.” Up went a second finger. “Is the Serene Prince poor? I don’t think so. So he won’t be impoverished by this theft. He won’t have to sell his children or do anything to tread upon the rule about not harming those who have enough misery already.” Madd held forth his three fingers. “The harpy fits the rules.”
Vorgell sighed. It wasn’t that he felt particularly agreeable toward the harpy—given the creature’s habits, what man would?—but something about this particular job didn’t sit quite right. The frivolity, perhaps. Supposedly some high lady wished it to cool her palace from this wretched heat. It was just that he had a soft spot for creatures in general.
Petal settled on his right shoulder, where she hunkered down to one of her favorite tasks: giving Madd baleful looks. Madd narrowed his eyes and glared right back.
“She looks terrible. Her skin is dull. I think it’s getting tight again.”
“She can’t help it. She’s growing.”
“Yes. Because you feed her too much! I don’t think basilisks are supposed to eat human food.”
Vorgell stroked Petal’s back, lightly scratching two prominent bumps atop her bony shoulders. Acquiring Petal had been one of his life’s more bizarre turns, yet he could no more regret having released the basilisk from her magical imprisonment than he could regret having fucked himself with a unicorn’s horn. Especially not when the latter adventure had rendered him perpetually horny and ready for action, a state that had led him directly to Madd. All he had to do was look at Madd’s face and….
“Not in the boat,” Madd said, eyeing Vorgell’s erection.
“Sex in a boat could be fun.”
“It could be wet. And I’m not sucking anything but air until I’m back on good earth at the meeting place—which by the way, we will reach much faster if you start rowing again.”
“Didn’t you say you know how to swim?” He’d never actually witnessed Madd using this skill.
“I do well enough. If the boat tips over I won’t drown. But if the harpy falls into the river, the phoenix net would probably be extinguished and I don’t want to find out what would happen then.”
“The river would freeze, I imagine.” Vorgell pondered what he knew about harpies and their magic. The rivers in their native habitat were nearly always frozen.
“Yes. With us in it. Not to mention the mood the harpy would be in.”
With a sigh, Vorgell lifted the oars and put them back into the water. Sex with Madd was worth almost anything except joining a pissed off ice harpy in a body of water. Even Petal’s basilisk stare wouldn’t be of use. Magical creatures had little effect on each other.
Keeping his heated gaze on Madd, he rowed toward the abandoned temple across the river from the city.
I enjoy feedback and am always happy to discuss readers’ thoughts or answer any questions that don’t spoil the story. Posts will generally average about 2000 words, though I reserve the right to make them longer.
Also, I have posted new excerpts from other works in my Pages for anyone who might want to check those out.
Also, I have posted new excerpts from other works in my Pages for anyone who might want to check those out.