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Florence, 1875After making a grisly discovery one night, I needed proof that there was still goodness in the world. I never dreamt it would come to me during my next commission-with a subject whose very name means light...Yuri was glorious in his otherworldly beauty, surrounded by a bright halo of iridescence, but I detected a fierce darkness lurking underneath the surface. Sketching all night, I could hardly wait to capture his likeness in a painting. For Yuri has stimulated not only my creative urges, but my sexual ones as well.His very presence infuses me with joy and passion, but what will happen if my patron should discover our trysts? Dependent on his good graces, I can't afford to lose his support. But I fear the time will soon come when I must choose between restoring my family's fortunes and obeying the temptation of the muse before me...Previously published as Chiaroscuro, newly revised by author.19,000 words
Bohemia, 1866They met in a port-side tavern, their lust-filled moments stolen from days of marching and madness. After eighteen months, Captain Rudolph von Ratzlaff and First Lieutenant Mathias Hofmann have decided to run away from everything they hold dear. Resigning their commissions is social suicide, but there's no other choice. Someone will eventually see Rudolph's partiality toward Mathias. Now their plans have gone horribly awry... When Mathias goes to Rudolph's tent after their last battle, his lover looks at him without a hint of recognition. Mathias can hardly believe the man he knew is gone. He wants to fill in so many of Rudolph's missing memories, but the doctor says a shock could result in permanent damage. The pain of seeing Rudolph on a daily basis, when Rudolph doesn't remember their love, is excruciating. Now Mathias must decide whether he wants to fight for the man he loves or forget him completely...43,000 words
1642, England: David Caverly's strict father has brought home the quiet, puritanical Jonathan Graie to help his dreamer of a son work the family forge. With war brewing in Parliament, the demand for metal work increases as armies are raised.The fair David is drawn to his father's new apprentice. And though his father treats them both as if they were brothers, David's feelings toward the shy Jonathan develop as they hide their growing physical relationship. Until the fateful moment when local gossips force David's father to banish him, to protect the family name.Freed, directionless, and whimsical, David is eager to experience the drama and excitement of war, and follows two soldiers headed for battle, but the reality is a harsh awakening for his free-spirited nature. Seizing the opportunity to desert, David heads to London to lead a secret life, unaware that Jonathan too has left the forge in search of him. Lost and lonely, the vulnerable Jonathan quickly falls in with the Witchfinders, a group of extremists who travel the country conducting public trials of women suspected of witchcraft. Jonathan is drawn to the charismatic Michael, finally embracing a cause for truth so wholeheartedly, he doesn't recognize the danger-physical and emotional-that Michael represents. For the fanatic puritan is desperate to purge Jonathan of his memories of David in any manner possible....
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