Title: Off World
Author: Jonah Bergan
Publisher: Booktrope Publishing
Cover Artist: Michelle Fairbanks
Length: 240 Pages
Release Date: August 22, 2015
Blurb: What really brought Taine to that backwater little world? Taine’s a hunter. He’s a red-skinned, black-eyed Lowman by nature, and a hunter by trade. Some hunters work in flesh, others in secrets, and some few work to set right what’s been set wrong. It’s a big galaxy and there’s always plenty of work for a hunter like Taine, so you got to wonder, what with all that at his feet, what really brought Taine to that backwater little world?
Off-World is a M/M science fiction action/adventure set in F/M dominated space. The story takes place in an arm of the galaxy where slavery (sexual and otherwise) is legal and commonplace. Strictly speaking, it is not a BDSM novel in that consent is not a matter of concern for the characters, but those with an interest in BDSM should enjoy the story. Due to explicit content, Off-World is not recommended to readers under eighteen years of age.
From Chapter Three: A Transaction Fair and Square
Set-up: Simone, the woman who sold her twin sons into slavery, has explained that she wants Taine to take her eldest son Tanner as an apprentice. It’s clear that the world is not safe for males under Sisterhood rule and she’ll do what she must to get them off-world. They haggle over Tanner’s future while he is outside tending to Taine’s slave.
“I ain’t never had an apprentice,” Simone said. “But I heard of it, and studied up the ways of it some. I ain’t got much, but I got that twenty-five I just brought in, and a few more squirreled away. So as dowry, I’ll grant you thirty for your efforts, and you take from Tanner as pledge, his earnings or his service for the rest. That meet with your expectations?”
Taine looked her in the eye. Between the stars, thirty credits wasn’t really all that much—not in the scheme of things, but by his estimation, here on this world, a full thirty credits might last her three years. Longer, maybe four or even five, if she were frugal. He glanced around the cabin, his eyes settling on the bedrolls tucked up in the eaves. “I don’t need your money,” Taine said.
“This ain’t charity I’m askin’ for, Mister Devil,” she snapped. She pointed toward her daughter. “That one told me all I need to know about apprenticing and mastering a trade. I sent her three days to the library and three days back again to learn it too. I was going to apprentice the boy over to Bishop, but then you came along, and I figure you’re a better prospect for him. So you take what’s fair, and you take what you need from the boy against the balance, but don’t you look down on me, and don’t you shame me here in my own home.”
“Of course not,” Taine said. “I meant no disrespect. These are not easy times, and I can take the dowry in full as pledge, leaving the coin to you and yours here. Along with your invitation to return, and a promise of a fair price on the redhead and tow this autumn, that should balance the scales.”
She sat for a moment, just staring hard at Taine. He wasn’t sure if she was about to laugh or holler. Based on her look, it might have gone either way, but then that mix of emotions tipped over toward laughter, and she did, she had herself one good hard laugh, leaving Taine to wonder what he’d said that was so funny.
“Now that’s some smart bargaining right there, Mister Devil,” she said, once she’d settled down. “You teach my boy that kind of thinking, you train him up in that real good, and you teach him to use all them slick words you use to coo and cuddle and coax just that little bit more from the likes o’ me.”
Taine looked surprised at that, smiling slightly but she waved him off.
“Don’t be acting like you don’t know what I mean,” she said. “You teach him all that, so he can come on back, and sweep up his dear old mother, and whisk her off to some sunny paradise world where her old bones won’t ache none no more. You do that, and you got yourself a deal, Mister Devil.”
Jonah Bergan is a freelance writer living in New England. His publishing credits include a ten part serial, multiple short stories, and a collection of anecdotal humor. He has also published MMORPG game reviews and content, hypnosis scripts, online user manuals, and advertising texts. Please visit jonahbergan.com to learn more about him.
Winner’s Prize: A Paperback copy of “Off-World”.
Runner-up’s Prize: An e-copy of “Off-World”.