‘Stung’ coming on the day before Halloween :)
The release of our newest novel, Stung is approaching fast. It’s been simmering on the backburner since January, but now it’s time for the countdown to begin. The book will be out on October 30th.
We are incredibly happy to expand the Zombie Gentlemen universe with Stung. The stories are all overlapping in small ways, and this book in particular was inspired by certain events that occur in “The Copper Horse”, a pony play/slavery trilogy, which will be released by Storm Moon Press.
The cover of Stung came out exactly how we envisioned it. From the very first draft of the manuscript, we kept dreaming about using this particular photograph by Nikos Vasilakis (you might want check out his website and DA gallery, he’s an amazing artist) and now that it’s on the cover, it couldn’t have been more perfect for us 😀 It’s such an eerie, yet sensual image, with the tongue resembling a piece of raw meat and dribbling honey. Exactly the right image to represent our novel. Hot and scary.
There is no need for further introductions, as along with the cover, we decided to post the blurb and a short excerpt. Enjoy! ;D
— If you want honey, prepare to get stung. —
October 1907, Honeyhill
Twenty years after the Plague
Victor is a man of delicate sensibilities, not fit to do backbreaking labour on a farm ran by the mob. Upon arrival in Honeyhill, he decides he needs an anchor, an alliance with one of the guards, if he wants to survive. That anchor comes in the form of Crunch, a hunky ex-sailor with a pair of tight leather trousers and a ruggedly handsome face.
But from day one, Victor knows he won’t last long with the hard physical work assigned to him and the torment he suffers at the hands of a sadistic guard. He needs to run, and his new alliance might prove to be a burden instead of solace.
If Crunch wants Honeyhill liberated, he needs to focus on his job, not on protecting Victor, one of many new arrivals on the farm. Distraction is the last thing he needs after months of undercover work. But it’s hard not to get seduced by Victor’s big brown eyes and fingertips that don’t know work. Hundreds of people depend on Crunch keeping his identity a secret, revealing it could be fatal for both him and Victor, and a failure of his mission.
Thankfully, Victor would never be dumb enough to try and escape through a forest that’s swarming with zombies. Would he?
“Stung” is a standalone book and a part of the “Zombie Gentlemen” universum.
Themes (may contain SPOILERS): zombies, prisoner/guard, beekeeping, gore, deception, undercover agent, captivity, romance, brutality, forced labour camp, murder, farm, torment, forbidden romance, Victorian
Erotic content: explicit m/m sexual scenes (including dubious consent)
Genre: dystopian homoerotic thriller
The train stopped. Only this time, no one fell on Victor. He didn’t have to fight his way up to the surface of the crowd that was squeezed into the cattle wagon beyond its capacity. Blindfolded, with his hands bound behind his back, he was fighting for his life like a drowning cat, ready to go beyond all measures to keep his head high so that the foul-smelling bodies wouldn’t choke him. He couldn’t be certain, but judging from the cries and overheard conversations, some people were less fortunate than him. Only a few hours into the journey, a man died of a heart attack at the other side of the wagon, his body now lost on the floor below. Whenever Victor felt threatened, or his throat dried so much it hurt, he kept thinking about his most prized possession. It was his late mother’s engagement ring, which he managed to hide in a small pouch sewn into the inner side of his shirt by whoever owned the garment before. As long as he had the ring, he would afford hope.
Victor got to his toes, trying to get his chest above the tightness of the bodies around him, so that it could expand more, letting him breathe properly. No use.
Shouting from the outside made Victor swallow. He had no clue where they were being taken, but it couldn’t be anywhere good. He couldn’t believe it was happening to him! He had plans, a home, nice clothes that were ripped off him and replaced with some old rags…
Suddenly, the struggle to raise above the others was gone as the wagon filled with cool air and the crowd moved, carrying Victor with it. He frantically clutched at the fabric of someone’s skirt, but the stream of people came to an abrupt stop with a loud bang that made Victor’s ears ring. The air filled with a new smell, smoky, a bit like fireworks.
He froze with fear, but no one died, and the gun proved useful in keeping the crowd of prisoners from trampling over each other. It was all a chaos of limbs and bodies before someone pulled the piece of cloth off Victor’s eyes, and he was immediately blinded by a flood of light. All the captives were being rushed out of the wagons with shouting and prodding, so he kept his gaze down, on the dirty boots of the man walking in front of him. At least he could breathe properly again. He couldn’t even remember the last time he smelled pine, and the fresh scent of nature blended into a balm for his soul. He kept moving, but tried to look around as much as possible, and what hit him right after the smell was a constant, sharp buzzing from somewhere beyond his immediate surroundings. He half expected it to stop, or change tune, like in the case of all machines he knew, but as their sad cavalcade advanced along a sun-bathed dirt track, the low tremor in Victor’s ears was a constant companion.
Once his eyes got used to the bright light, he started taking in details. They were unloaded at a remote train station in the woods, or rather, at the end of a track that led to nowhere. As soon as he realized there were no solid buildings around, his stomach knotted, and he couldn’t stop himself from scanning the broad treeless strip for stray zombies. Forests, the countryside, were places he always associated with the presence of the undead, so he tried sliding his hands out of the binds around his wrists, but the rope wouldn’t give. The guard who tied them was certainly proficient at it. Victor’s head emptied when he noticed the familiar open jaws he had only seen in the zoo. The terrain was protected by a tall, iron hedge, something that didn’t seem solid enough to stand between people and carnivorous beasts. But as there was nothing he could do other than obey men with shotguns, he cast his gaze down and marched, even though fear kept creeping up his back, urging him to look out for danger.
As the captives were being herded towards a group of wooden buildings, Victor couldn’t stop looking to the undead walking between the trees just over a dozen yards away. His breath hitched, and he stumbled to the side when one of the monsters crooked its head, trying to bite through the iron bar. He fell out of the row with a yelp, his back immediately covering in cold sweat, but the nearest guard didn’t tolerate any nonsense and roughly pushed Victor back in line, straight into a young, shivering woman whose breasts were uncovered by a torn blouse.
“Watch where you’re going, knobhead!”
“But… there are z–zombies.” Victor tried so hard not to stutter, but his voice was trembling.
“There’s a metal fence. Are you blind or somethin’?” The guard sneered at him, patting the big, black shotgun in warning, a clear sign that weakness would not be tolerated.
Victor’s stomach cramped, and he had to blink to get his eyes back into focus. Everything seemed far too bright after the dark days in the wagon. He had no idea where he was. All he knew from the scraps of conversation he overheard on the train, was that most of the people he was taken with were indebted to the Dals, a powerful family that ruled a whole district of Bylondon with an iron fist. It made him want to cry in rage, as he did nothing that should have earned him a fate such as this.
The sunshine, the delicate rustle of leaves, or even the fresh autumn air could not console Victor. From a dirt road leading through the forest, they went on to one that was neater looking, and led along never ending rows of trees with succulent, red apples pulling the branches down with their weight.
“New transport!” another guard yelled to someone at the front and the half naked woman next to Victor broke into a sob, but he was too stunned to make himself care. This couldn’t be happening to him. He had money, he had a father who ran a successful business.
Between the trees of the vast orchard, he noticed a group of people picking the fruit, their thin bodies tanned by the sunlight that was unnaturally strong for October. To his right, by the edge of the pine forest was a collection of wooden buildings, some of them two stories high. There were also sheds, all circled by an additional row of fence, topped with barbed wire.
Victor rushed to the side of the group, so he could see more of what awaited them ahead, and the glimpse he got, made his heart sink. There was a dozen of armed men, some with crossbows, others with swords or machetes, and none of their faces was even remotely friendly. One stepped in front of the others. From the way he moved in confident strides, Victor assumed he was the leader. The man scratched his bald head and took his time to assess the group with a sneer on his wrinkled face. The grimace showcased an ugly scar across his bulbous nose.
“Welcome to your new home, or as we call it, Honeyhill.”
More to come on 10/30/2013 ;D
Tags: alternative history, apocalypse, beekeeping, book, copper horse, cover, erotic, fiction, forbidden romance, gay, gore, guard, Historical, homosexual, horror, k.a. merikan, labour camp, lgbt, m/m/, male, masculinity, prisoner, romance, romantic fiction, sex, steampunk, storm moon press, story, undead, undercover, victorian, zombie