Title: Off World
Author: Jonah Bergan
Publisher: Booktrope Publishing
Cover Artist: Michelle Fairbanks
Length: 240 Pages
Release Date: August 22, 2015
Blurb: What really brought Taine to that backwater little world? Taine’s a hunter. He’s a red-skinned, black-eyed Lowman by nature, and a hunter by trade. Some hunters work in flesh, others in secrets, and some few work to set right what’s been set wrong. It’s a big galaxy and there’s always plenty of work for a hunter like Taine, so you got to wonder, what with all that at his feet, what really brought Taine to that backwater little world?
Off-World is a M/M science fiction action/adventure set in F/M dominated space. The story takes place in an arm of the galaxy where slavery (sexual and otherwise) is legal and commonplace. Strictly speaking, it is not a BDSM novel in that consent is not a matter of concern for the characters, but those with an interest in BDSM should enjoy the story. Due to explicit content, Off-World is not recommended to readers under eighteen years of age.
From Chapter Twelve: A Flit in Time
Set-up: Earlier in the story, Taine fed on Tanner’s life force. He’d told himself that since it was only a tiny sip, it wouldn’t do him any harm. He’d only done it because he was curious, but Tanner is a feral human—uncultivated and undisciplined, and Taine wasn’t prepared for the effect it would have on him. Like a single appetizer, the taste he had of Tanner has awakened his hunger, and Taine begins losing control. They are in the wilderness, still trying to reach the starport on horseback. Sunshine is in the saddle, sitting in front of Taine and the scent of the boy is driving Taine mad with hunger.
"Get down," Taine said. He nudged Sunshine as if to hurry him.
Sunshine shifted in the saddle. His arms were bound, and the ground seemed very far away, and he shifted again, and still likely wouldn’t have figured a way to get down without falling down, but it didn’t matter because Taine gave him a shove, and down he went.
It hadn’t been a hard shove, or at least Taine hadn't meant it to be. Still, it proved to be hard enough to send the boy toppling over and off the back of the horse, and crashing to the ground. He hit like a sack of something or other, and landed with a grunt.
From way up in the saddle, Taine looked down at the boy. He looked more surprised than hurt, though Taine was sure there was plenty of hurt there, just not the kind a person gets from falling.
Well, that's just fucking wonderful, Taine thought. Let's just make us a whole laundry list of things to regret. Let's just keep adding links to that chain ‘til we're just as fucked up, and bound up and blind as a human. Yeah, that'll land me a few good years in the rehabilitation enclave!
"Are you alright, Sunshine?" Taine asked, his words were kind, but his tone gruff.
"Yes, Master, I'm alright," Sunshine said. There was that hurried answer and that hurried tone and all that brittle again spinning up to the surface.
Tanner was standing right there. He’d caught up from where he’d been lagging behind, and had been watching Taine’s face while the man’s expression darkened. But when Taine shoved his flit like that, Tanner looked like he couldn't believe Taine had done it. He stooped down and helped the boy up, and he kept his eyes averted, so as to hide the mixed feelings he was having.
"I'm sorry, Master,” Sunshine said. “I should have moved faster.”
Tanner scowled, just about glaring at the tree line, or the mountains, or whatever it was he could see over there, so that he could feel as if he were over there, and not here, where he really ought to keep his place. The boy was a slave and a flit too, so it's not like Tanner had any kind of respect for him, but on the other hand there was just no call for Taine to treat him like that. The boy apologizing like he did, and Taine not saying a word, just about did it for Tanner, and he snapped around and glared up at Taine.
"You gonna let that stand," Tanner said, the expression in his sharp green eyes was like a dare. “You gonna let him apologize for what you done?” Tanner said, adding sarcastically, "Sir!"
Taine swung his leg over and came down off the horse. He stood a good head and shoulders taller than Tanner, but the boy stood his ground defiantly, staring up at Taine like he could take anything Taine might throw at him.
"No," Taine said. He stepped up close to Tanner, getting right in his face. "I'm not going to let that stand. None of it…"
Jonah Bergan is a freelance writer living in New England. His publishing credits include a ten part serial, multiple short stories, and a collection of anecdotal humor. He has also published MMORPG game reviews and content, hypnosis scripts, online user manuals, and advertising texts. Please visit jonahbergan.com to learn more about him.
Winner’s Prize: A Paperback copy of “Off-World”.
Runner-up’s Prize: An e-copy of “Off-World”.