Beryll and Osiris Brackhaus has a new MM sci fi space opera romance out: “The Pet and His Duke.”
Robert is a pet, a human pleasure slave, and well past his prime.
So when teenage Duke Thomar of Aylian buys him via mail order, Robert first suspects a dreadful misunderstanding. The duke is young, handsome and headstrong, and the very last thing he needs while struggling to secure his reign over his planet is an aging bargain bin pet by his side.
Only, the more time Robert spends with Thomar, the more he learns that the young duke rarely makes mistakes. Unless, of course, Thomar dashes off on one of his mad adventures, which Robert increasingly becomes a part of…
‘The Pet and his Duke’ is a standalone m/m romance novel in the ‘Virasana Empire’ universe. Written by Rainbow Book Award winners Beryll and Osiris Brackhaus, it is a story of self-determination and love, and Happily-Ever-Afters in the most unlikely places.
Robert looked up from his latest romance novel as the door to the Ducal Suite opened to admit his master.
He was seated in his armchair at the burning fireplace, huddled under a woollen blanket. Early autumn in the capital of Aylian was usually pleasantly mild, but this year had brought an uncomfortable chill to Toraskah.
Thomar had explained that this was a problem caused by the Eigenrealität-bubble of the Aliaerean Realms leaking through the demon portal above them, messing with the climate. Whatever that meant. Apparently someone very important named Lady Beverly was working hard on correcting the issue, but it was all very complicated and would not be fixed before this winter, which promised to actually bring snow to the capital, a rare occurrence indeed.
All Robert had understood was that it was fucking cold, would get even colder, and would stay that way for a few months.
Blinking somewhat owlishly through his reading glasses, Robert watched his master carry a huge bowl filled with various types of fruit over to him. Thomar was home from work early and that usually meant he was so fed up with his duties that he was only left with the choice to either walk out or start shooting people. However, his smile looked decidedly indecent and made Robert discount that theory.
Thomar placed the bowl of fruit on the low sidetable next to Robert’s armchair. He pushed Robert’s feet off the footstool and inappropriately settled himself there, smiling up at his pet.
Robert carefully took off his reading glasses and placed them on the table with his book. His master obviously wanted something, and as usual, Robert wasn’t sure what it was.
“How was your day, my lord?“ he tried to gauge Thomar’s mood.
“Pretty nice, actually.“ Thomar drew a vicious-looking N’Ptalini dagger from a concealed compartment in his left boot, picked up a lima fruit from the bowl and started peeling it. “I was stuck in a meeting between Bishop Claudius of the Belligra and demon Ambassador Brassion for the last three hours and got to listen to them yelling at each other while entirely ignoring me.“ He dropped the lima peel to the ground, cut a fillet out of the ripe fruit and noisily sucked it off his blade. „I don’t think they have noticed that I left.“
“I see.“ It was of course exceedingly impolite for the Duke to slip away like that, but Thomar knew that perfectly well himself.
“So, I thought I’d come home and see how my favourite pet is doing.“ Thomar discarded the rest of the peeled lima and picked up a mango instead. Again his dagger went to work, this time with juice dripping over his fingers.
“I’m good, thank you, my lord,“ Robert replied politely. He was not sure where his master was leading with this seemingly innocent conversation.
“You do look a bit cold.“ Thomar eyed him thoughtfully, licking mango juice off his fingers. “I’ve been wondering if we should find someone to fix the palace’s central heating.“ He popped a piece of mango into his mouth and continued sucking on his fingers with obvious relish. “Not sure if it’s worth the effort if the climate is fixed by next winter though.“
“I’m sure we can make do until then.“ It was kind of hard to concentrate on the conversation when his master was such a pleasant distraction.
“Yeah, you’re probably right.“ Thomar discarded the half-eaten mango as well, along with the dagger, and started rummaging in the fruit bowl until he produced an already cut piece of melon. “And the cold has some advantages too, eh? Snuggled up under blankets, sharing warmth…“
Thomar bit into the piece. Melon juice ran down his chin and he spent some time mopping it up with his fingers and licking them clean.
Robert watched hypnotised. He was slowly getting an idea of what his master wanted but he felt it was safer to ask first. Only how to phrase that question?
“So… anything in particular I can do for you tonight, my lord?“ he finally asked, while Thomar picked up a handful of strawberries from the bowl.
“Hm… actually… yes.“ Thomar lasciviously licked the first fruit and bit off half of it. “You know… I enjoyed that afternoon on the first day of our vacation.“ He sucked the juice from the rest of the strawberry. “When you ordered me onto the bed and fucked me so hard I thought you’d split me in half.“
Robert gave an undignified, half-choked sound. Pounding his master hard while half-crazed with lust was one thing. Having his master talk about it and demand more of it was another thing altogether. Then again, Thomar was doing a great job of getting him to that half-crazed state again.
“You seem to need some inspiration…“ The next strawberry followed, this time including Thomar licking red juice off his lips with his terribly agile tongue.
By now, the blanket as well as the fire seemed way too hot for Robert’s liking. He felt heat pool in his groin as Thomar grinned up at him, sinfully sexy in his black uniform and that innocent face with eyes that promised pleasure as far from innocent as possible.
“You think you can repeat that performance?“ Thomar asked, turning his attention back to the bowl of fruit.
This time he reached for a banana, but Robert’s hand shot out and grabbed his wrist before he could pick it up. Discarding any kind of careful considerations, Robert got to his feet and pulled his master against himself forcefully. He was rewarded with a breathless laugh full of delight. He covered Thomar’s mouth in a demanding kiss and tasted the unexpected fruit cocktail with Thomar’s own taste the cherry on top.
Guest Post: Virasana Timeline
by Beryll & Osiris Brackhaus
Up until now, all the novels we published in the Virasana Empire were parts of the ‘Sir Yaden’ series. With three novels out and the fourth one coming at the end of this year or early next year, it is one of our favourite series – and the sales seem to agree with us. So why do we diverge now from this track and offer a standalone novel that has virtually nothing to do with the ‘Sir Yaden’ series apart from the fact that it is taking place in the same universe?
We will have to delve a little deeper into this story universe to make sense of that.
First, the Virasana Empire from the very start was always meant to be a universe shared by many stories. Even though every story has a proper beginning and an end, no story ever existed in a total vacuum. There have always been things happening before, and there will always be things happening later. The past of any fictional universe influences its present in just as many countless ways as it happens in real life. The letters you read this text in? Roman. The numbers on your watch? Probably Arabic. The hours of the day? Sumerian. The notch in the lapels on your suit jacket? A vestige of 18th century uniforms. The list is endless, and all of it influences our sense of what is ‘normal’.
So how to imbue a fictional universe with a similar sense of ‘normal’? How to make the characters react in tune with all that fictional culture, but still in a way that a reader can relate to it?
By knowing what to skip.
Yes, we have mapped out the entire history of the Virasana Empire. We have the different factions’ creation myths and the truths behind them. We know the Noble Houses’ ancient histories and the lies they are built upon. But we don’t need dates for ancient history. Neither do we need detail – the further away from the ‘now’, the less detail we need. But we need to know how things basically happened and how they influenced each other.
As you might have realized by now, we love our stories to have a strong sense of place, and the more alien the place, the better. We love to write (and read!) culture clash stories, and the further these cultures are apart, the more we feel we can learn about our own, about us and the world we live in.
From this vast pool of almost infinite stories, we picked the one that was closest to our heart and the one we found most accessible to our readers: the Sir Yaden series. It starts small, on Hagermarsh, with a very limited setting of a single hamlet. Step by step, the story grows from there, and we can take our readers with us on the trip of discovering this wildly diverse, colourful universe.
Like the Virasana Empire universe, the basics of the entire Sir Yaden series are already mapped out. Over a dozen novels, four written, several more written in parts and plotted in detail. And of course, not one of these stories happens isolated from the rest of the universe. Yaden and his work for the Emperor influence the lives of people all around, ripples in the vast network of interconnected fates.
One of these future books will be ‘The Erean Incursion’, currently set at #15. It will detail the attack of a large demonic realm against the backwater planet Aylian, and how Yaden and his allies will sort out that particular mess. Needless to say that they will win, but the planet and in particular the capital will take some heavy damage, with most of the ruling family eradicated. Eradicated to the point that they will have to quite literally pull a remote relative out of the wilderness and put him on the throne – teenage Duke Thomar Quetzal.
And while that is the end of Yaden’s part of this story, it is the beginning of someone else’s: Robert, the ageing pet that the young duke will buy to keep himself from going insane. ‘The Pet and his Duke’ takes place only months after ‘The Erean Incursion’, and unlike most of our stories, it is pretty self-contained. It’s a classic romance, in many ways, boy-meets-boy, boy-loses-boy, boy-gets-his-boy-back. And at the same time, it is a character study, going deep into the mindset and expectations of Robert, the ageing pet, and what ‘growth’ means for someone who grew up in such twisted ways as him.
Admittedly, we could have waited until the publication of ‘The Erean Incursion’ to publish ‘The Pet and his Duke’. But it was already written in most parts and only needed a (thorough) polish. You don’t need to have read any of the earlier books in the Virasana Empire universe, and it’s not as if we are starting a second series here. And we love the story, and think there are a lot of readers who will enjoy it at least as much as we did writing it. So, despite being a spin-off with no connection yet and entirely out of chronology, here we are: ‘The Pet and his Duke’ will be published this June, casting another spotlight into this many-faceted story universe.
And we hope you’ll come join us for the ride!
We are Beryll and Osiris Brackhaus, a couple currently living our happily ever after in the very heart of Germany, under the stern but loving surveillance of our cat.
Both of us are voracious but picky readers, we love telling stories and drinking tea, good food and the occasional violent movie. Together, we write novels of adventure and romance, hoping to share a little of our happiness with our readers.
An artist by heart, Beryll was writing stories even before she knew what letters were. As easily inspired as she is frustrated, her own work is never good enough (in her eyes). A perfectionist in the best and worst sense of the word at the same time and the driving creative force of our duo.
An entertainer and craftsman in his approach to writing, Osiris is the down-to-earth, practical part of our duo. Broadly interested in almost every subject and skill, with a sunny mood and caring personality, he strives to bring the human nature into focus of each of his stories.
Author Website: http://www.brackhaus.com/
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