I don’t have a release day, but I am writing. I’m working on Human Rights, which is a novella set in a fantasy world where anthro felines and canines are the dominant species while humans are not. It’s mainly an exercise for me, but I’ve fallen in love with Sir Jiat and his pet Ewan. I can’t wait to finish this up and send it to my editor. But, until then, I am sharing a bit of a teaser with you!
“Are you going to tell me why you’re so far away today?” Jill asked as she picked up the bar of soap and set to scrubbing me of grass and dirt.
I blushed, ducking my head shyly. Could I tell her? Or would she tell Lady Hyra, who would then tell The Guard? I didn’t want to risk Sir Jiat, but the need to confide in someone boiled inside me. Finally, I murmured, “I kissed Sir Jiat.” At her puzzled look, I clarified. “I pressed my lips to his. It was wonderful and everything I had thought it might be.”
“You’ve only kissed him?”
“Yes.” I nodded, glancing down at the suds in the water. “Though… I ache for more.” As much as I liked feeling what I felt for Sir Jiat, it also brought me shame. It was a sin. Pets were never supposed to lust for their masters, and before now, I never had. But Sir Jiat… his touch… his voice… his gaze…
Jill laughed softly. “I understand.”
I frowned. “Do you?”
As she rinsed my body, Jill nodded. “I do. Lady Hyra and I have been more than mistress and pet since my sixteenth year.” Jill was now in her twenty-seventh year, so I was shocked to hear that Lady Hyra had been her mate for the last eleven years. Eleven years! “We’re careful, but…” Jill smiled. “I love her, and she loves me.”
I stared at her with my mouth agape. Jill and Lady Hyra. It explained why Lady Hyra’s home wasn’t exactly catering to a pet’s needs. In these walls, Jill wasn’t a possession. Jill was a lover. A mate. The truth rocked me. Here was a pet who was living the fantasy I had created in my own head! It was possible. It was dangerous. It was against the law. But it was possible. That possibility was all I needed.
“So cheer up.” Jill grinned at me and pressed her fingers to my chin, closing my mouth. “If you love Sir Jiat, and if he loves you in return, a life together is real. It takes thought, and it means understanding the difference in your relationship inside his home—and homes like Hyra’s—and your relationship in the city or when those not of the Movement are around.” A shadow passed through Jill’s gaze. “It can hurt in the beginning, not being able to share your love with the world and be as if we were of their race, too, but the pain is worth it. Her touches to my flesh, her soft words, her love for me… it’s worth it.”
I tilted my head, chewing on the words as Jill washed herself. To love Sir Jiat more than I did, I would have to sacrifice. Didn’t I sacrifice already? How much would truly change if I knew his body as I had known Syra’s? I chewed at my lip until I winced and tasted blood. The heart of the matter was not whether or not I was willing to risk myself, but if Sir Jiat was willing to risk all he had. A home, a position in The Guard, a place in society. He had so much more than I did to lose, and that couldn’t make taking me into his bed as a lover very tempting. I deflated a little in the tub, huddling in on myself. I wanted him, and though he had told me I was special, just how special was I? Was I special enough to risk everything for?