Bitter Gold Excerpt:

Liese shivered in the barren room. They'd taken her coveralls, her necklace and her ring. She huddled against the gray metal walls in her thin lavender tank top and panties. The contraption almost filling the tiny room's back wall looked complex. They'd called it the spinning wheel, but it wasn't moving, just softly glowing with typical white touch-laserlight.

She couldn't believe this. Honestly, she couldn't. It was surreal that an alfen had walked up to her on her way to work and simply said, "Miller chose you to spin our flax."

Miller, the roach, had been a nymphomaniac. She'd thought he was fun, and he had been... with at least five other women that she knew of. The few times she'd been in bed with him, he'd been good. He'd worked both of them hard and paid attention to her. He'd been the last good sex she'd had, over two years and two guys ago.

Surely someone had witnessed her being kidnapped by a yellow-haired god in nothing but red silk pants, with four grim, strung out Troths surrounding them, in the middle of the morning rush. Any minute now the waystation's polizei would burst in and free her.

A sob echoed in the metal room, bouncing with a sudden blast of panic. She bit her lip, clenching her fingers into her shins, her knees drawn up tight. The alfen had taken her. They wanted her to make gilt, because of something Miller had told them. The troth had taken her locator from her shoulder in a painless flurry of hands and subdermal shots, like they'd done it many times before.

No polizei were coming. After the men had stripped her, the beautiful weirdo had come in. He'd explained everything very clearly. She had never been exposed to gilt, therefore, she would be able to make their machine work. Tomorrow, she was going to be beaten to death if she didn't do this.

The big scarlet-haired man with feverish garnet eyes had described her death in great detail. Apparently he believed it was a more terrifying death than the slow one she'd have if she spun the flax into gilt and ended up addicted, her brain on the short track to a stroke. He was wrong. She'd rather go fast and violent than be made to crave ever increasing sensation, a desperate supplicant scrabbling and begging.

That had been hours ago. Was it midday? She'd cried a little, before forcing herself to stop. She swung between hoping she'd be rescued and believing she would die here. It seemed a lifetime ago that she'd told Stillskin she was worried about him! Wasn't life strange, that now it was she who rode the alfen trap. What would he do if he saw her here?

She paced around the cream-colored mat that sat before the machine. More out of bored curiosity than anything, she jabbed at the mat with her toe. The machine hummed with a whir, green lights winking and flashing in different shades. Liese leaped back with a cry, stopping only when she was plastered to the cold gray wall. She stared at it hard, chest thrusting with horror at starting it up.

The door slid open. With a squeak and a snap of her neck, she stared. Almost, she didn't recognize him. He stood in the sumptuous hall wearing nothing but a black harness across his torso. The red light on his dark brown skin and mussed black hair painted him in flames. Her schwarz had never looked more compelling. His eyes pinned her tight where she stood, hands flattened on the slick metal down next to her hips.

He stepped into the room, and the door zipped closed. His gaze went to the machine and then to the three boxes of flax. "I heard the cheer go up when they got the notice that you'd approached the wheel."

She swallowed. "You... you knew I was here?"

"I heard Miller give you up last night, and Konig give the command to bring you in."

She blinked at him, her eyes fluttering from the sharp pinch of pain her breastbone. He'd known. He hadn't stopped it, hadn't ended this. "Can you get me out?"


The word was final. Clenching her jaw, she stared at the floor. This couldn't be happening. "So this room is monitored?"

"The alfen have a no-monitoring policy. Generally, any pleasure they'd derive from recordings is less than the danger of their recordings being used against them." He waved one hand at the wheel. "But they are watching the readouts of this. They'll know when you begin to use it, and they'll know when you've finished making the gilt."

Liese looked at the machine, the light-wheel, the clear boxes and the white mat. "I'm not going to."

The silence in the room was, for the first time, uncomfortable between them.

"Liese. You must." The words seemed torn from him, thick with grit.

She shook her head. "No."


"They sent you, didn't they? To convince me." She glared at him, standing all muscled and hairy in that shockingly lewd black webbing.

It was his turn to shake his head. "They don't know I'm here."

Her face crumpled in dismay. She couldn't control the way her chin wobbled. "There's been no search? No missing person call?"

He shrugged. "I don't know. I only go out on shopping day. Certainly, there's been no one looking for you here, nor will there be. Konig has the station master well in hand. If there were any sympathetic witnesses, they'll have been paid off and threatened by now."

Liese slid down the wall, wrapping her arms tight over her chest. "I can't believe this is happening."

"It's best if you get past that denial quickly. I can tell you that the sooner you start negotiating the situation to your benefit, the better off you'll be." His voice sounded tired.

She wouldn't look at him. "I won't do this thing. I'm not going to waste my life creating a drug, only to then be enslaved by it. It won't be a good death, but—"

"But what? Death before dishonor? Don't be an idiot. Are you saying you don't respect me for surviving as a slave instead of killing myself outright?" He moved closer to her.

She closed her eyes. "You have a chance of escape, Stillskin. But if they make me an addict, I'm already dead. It's just a matter of time."

More Reviews:

Got Erotic Romance (Gabrielle) 4 Diamonds

"I loved Liese and her love for Stillskin. He may be a slave but he is still a strong man who continues to fight. Seeing the love that these two begin to have for each other was a great read. ... If you love your romance stories with an edge to them than these are for you."

Nocturne Romance Reads (Michelle) 3 Hoots

"...absolutely captivating! ... Readers will be in awe at the love the two show for each other and the sacrifices they are willing to make. Bitter Gold is a fast paced sensual story ... Absolutely brilliant!"

Dee Carney

"In this version of the class fairy tale, both Leise and Stillskin are doomed, and only have a chance of survival if they work together. Their dedication to each other, from the very first chapter, is so "aww"-worthy that you'll find yourself rereading this tale. And jeebus, the sex... *fans self*"

Mrs. Giggles 85

"Stillskin and Liese have a romance that is sweet and even tender despite the sexual excesses surrounding them, and, for a short story, the romance here feels solid and real."