Author Name: Pelaam
Publication Date & Length: April 3, 2015 – 80 pages
Cassian is the bait when his Monarch wants to trap a Firebird. Are Firebirds beasts, or will Cassian discover that real monsters exist closer to home?
Palace scribe Cassian is stunned when he’s called before his ruler, Great Monarch Maurus, to be the bait for trapping a Firebird—a dangerous predator and a beast of legend that lives high in the mountains of his country’s border.
As he climbs a mountain, Cassian is injured, but a Firebird rescues him. Cassian discovers that Firebirds are not animals. Instead, he uncovers Arturri, an intelligent being from another world, living as a castaway. But Cassian is helpless to prevent Arturri’s capture by Maurus’ dangerous and evil head of security, Phrixus.
When the secret beneath the palace is revealed, Maurus is more monstrous than even Cassian ever imagined. Who can Cassian trust? Can he save not only Arturri, but also the other prisoners of Maurus?
Reader Advisory: This book contains a scene of attempted rape and sexual abuse.
Publisher’s Note: This book was previously published elsewhere. It has been revised and re-edited for release with Totally Bound.
I’ve been writing since childhood and always preferred fantasy and science fiction. I also read a lot of short horror stories, but when I’d finished with the book, I’d then leave it with cover face down. I watched horror movies at a totally inappropriate age, but have no taste for today’s blood, torture, and gore fests. These days, I like my books to have some romance as well as a good story and I’m very selective about what I’ll watch.
When not holding down my full time job or writing I can be found indulging in my other passions of cookery and wine appreciation. I read cook books like other people read novels. I love the pictures, the recipes, and the insights into other countries and cultures that can be found within a cook book’s cover.
Do I have a signature dish? Absolutely. I have a starter, a main, and a dessert! I adore French onion soup. It’s so easy to make and can be made into a main meal just as easily as an appetiser. For a main, I do a mean spag bol with smoked bacon and red wine to enhance and enrich the dish. For dessert, I love to make galaktoboureko. This is a Greek dessert with creamy custard baked in filo pastry.
When writing, I try and include food or drink in some way. Occasionally I include a recipe, sometimes a food and wine combination that go well together, or just a wine I know is particularly good. If my story has historical aspects to it, I will research the common dishes of the day to ensure anything I include is authentic for the time period.
My preferred genres for writing are science fiction/steampunk, paranormal, and fantasy. Firebird is science fiction and I got my inspiration from a single sentence in an obscure fairy tale. The story is a little darker than I usually write. I put poor Cassian and Arturri through some very hard times, but their love is forged all the stronger because of it.
Cassian finds that a legendary predator, the Firebird, isn’t really the monster of his country’s myths, but a castaway from another world. He’s able to see past Arturri’s different appearance and falls in love with the beautiful and gentle soul of the Firebird.
Unable to prevent Arurri’s capture, Cassian thinks the hardest thing he has to do is find a way to free the man he loves. Until he uncovers the truly monstrous nature of his country’s ruler and the secret he keeps hidden beneath the palace.
I love variations on the Firebird tale in any form, so I was thrilled to pick this up. Pelaam delivered a well-written, sensual story that went beyond my expectations. It was an unusual take on one of my favorite fairy tales.
I’m a big fan of hurt/comfort stories, so I loved the way first Arturri, the Firebird, takes care of Cassian and then they reverse it when Cassian rescues Arturri. I enjoyed the distinctions between their mutual, consensual relationship and the authoritarian, abusive relationship Cassian suffered from his superiors.
There were some interesting surprises in the story. This was a very complex world for such a short tale, yet I didn’t feel lost or confused by it. The author did a superb job of creating mood and setting without a lot of information dumping and back story. Everything unfolded naturally through the narrative and dialog.
Readers should be aware that there are some scenes of violence, including some of a sexually violent nature. They’re not graphic, and they are an integral part of the story, but some readers may be sensitive to that.
All in all, this was a beautiful, elegant story, and it held me under its spell from start to finish.
Living in clean, green New Zealand, Pelaam is a multi-published author of gay romance and erotica.
When not working at writing, Pelaam likes to indulge in her other passions of cookery and wine appreciation.