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Authors: A.M. Sexton

Tags: #gay, #fantasy, #steampunk, #alternate universe


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About the

Song of Oestend

Also by A.M.
Sexton and Marie Sexton


Davlova: Book Two

A.M. Sexton


Davlova: Book Two

Copyright © 2015, Marie


Editing by Karin Story

Cover art by Reese Dante


EBooks are not transferable. All rights
are reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any
manner without written permission, except in the case of brief
quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. The
unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work
is illegal. No part of this book may be scanned, uploaded or
distributed via the Internet or any other means, electronic or
print, without the author’s permission.


This book is a work of fiction. The
names, characters, places and incidents are products of the
writer’s imagination or have been used fictionally and are not to
be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead,
actual events, locale or organizations is entirely


Licensed material is being used for
illustrative purposes only and any person depicted in the licensed
material is a model.


Published in the United States of
America by Marie Sexton, August, 2015



Paperback ISBN:



This one is dedicated to every reader who took
a chance and followed me into the grimy alleys of

With many thanks to Troy, Rowan, Carter, and
Kelly for their ongoing encouragement and support.

Chapter One

Davlova burned.

The flames lit up the western sky, casting an
orange glow across the water. I watched them as our yacht moved
deeper into the open sea, wondering if my friends still

My lover didn’t. That was the only thing I
knew for certain. The man who had employed me as a whore, beaten
and abused me. The man who had loved me and worshiped me and
anchored me as I floated in the vast emptiness between water and

Dead, by my own hand.

Twice before in my life, I’d felt the earth
shift beneath my feet, the pull of gravity suddenly tilting away
from me, as if the ground had buckled, leaving the path of my life
veering straight downward in a ninety-degree drop, my toes hanging
over the edge while the rest of the world carried on in some other
plane of existence. Twice now, I’d stood there with my heart in my
throat, knowing I had to push through my vertigo to the other side.
The first time had been in an inn, when the owner threw open a
simple wooden door to reveal my mother’s lifeless corpse splayed
across the bed. The second had been the day Anzhéla had taken me
into her den and fed me the first food I’d eaten in days, telling
me as my stomach rumbled and the sausage juices ran down my chin
that I’d never go hungry again, so long as I followed her rules.
I’d like to say I’d experienced the same nerve-rattling sense of
change on the day she’d called me to her office and told me I was
to become Miguel Donato’s whore, but it would have been a lie. The
only thing I’d felt that day was fear, confusion, and the mantle of
obligation heavy across my back.

But as I watched the flames consume the only
home I’d ever known, climbing the sky like an enormous funeral pyre
to the man I might have loved, I felt it again. The axis of my
world shifted so alarmingly, it made me dizzy. Davlova would either
die or rise from the ashes. Either way, I had no idea where I fit

I became aware of Ayo, still in my arms. He’d
cried himself out. Now, the trembling of his limbs came from
exhaustion, or maybe from the cold. “Go to bed,” I urged

He looked up at me, but the only light came
from the burning city, which lay behind him. His face was in
shadow. “Won’t you come?”

I thought of the yacht’s tiny bedroom. I’d
once slept there with Donato, and it had been the most amazing
night of my life. The thought of it made my heart ache. “No,” I
said, as gently as I could. “I’m going to stay out here a bit

He hesitated, and I wondered if he’d argue or
try to change my mind, but in the end, he simply nodded and did as
I said. A lifetime of servitude had taught him to take orders well.
I’d have to be careful not to abuse such blind

I sat in one of the two deck chairs, possibly
the same one I’d sat in on that long-ago night. My ribs ached from
the beating Miguel Donato had given me only a few days ago. The
bandage Frey had wound around my torso before we’d snuck into Upper
Davlova helped, but it didn’t completely alleviate the pain. It was
also beginning to itch. I longed to take it off, if only for a
minute, but decided it was best to leave it on. I’d never be able
to re-wrap myself adequately.

Eventually, when Davlova was barely more than
a spark on the distant horizon, the boat’s engine stopped. Jenko
came down the ladder from the captain’s cabin and sat next to

“We could drive all night,” he said, “but I’d
just as soon stop now, and we can decide our next move in the

I scrubbed my hands over my face, too tired
and overwhelmed to even ponder what our options were. “Makes sense
to me.”

“You sent the boy to bed?”

“Yes.” I thought again about joining Ayo in
the bedroom, but quickly rejected the idea. “Is that the only bed
on the boat?” No, it couldn’t be. After all, Jenko had gone with
Donato on his various business trips to Deliphine, and he certainly
hadn’t been sharing our master’s bed. “Where do you usually

He gestured to the driver’s cabin, which
rested on top of the main cabin. “I have a cot up there. It’s
small, but I’m used to it.”

“But that’s it, right? There’s no other place
to sleep?”

He cocked his head at me, as if amused. I was
too tired to wonder at what that meant. “My cot, or Donato’s bed.
That’s it.” He hesitated, as if wanting to say more, but then
shrugged it off. He left, and I stayed on deck, eventually dozing
uncomfortably in my chair.

I dreamed I woke to find Donato standing
before me on the deck of the yacht. The stars glistened overhead,
inviting me in their silver tongue to join them for a swim. My
master kissed me sweetly, then offered me a glass of wine. Not the
wine he’d given me that night, though. In the surreal way of
dreams, I knew without being told this wine would stop my heart. It
would steal my breath.

It would take me to wherever he really

I woke with a start. I had no idea how long
I’d slept. I only knew I felt worse than I had the night before. My
back and neck ached from sleeping upright. I wasn’t sure if I was
relieved or disappointed to find that my dream wasn’t

I stood and stretched. The sky glowed with the
satiny grey light of dawn. A slight breeze ruffled my hair and
raised small peaks in the sea, faceted like jewels. Davlova had
passed out of sight, her existence betrayed only by a trail of
black trickling into the sky. I saw nothing but water and sky in
every other direction, as far as the eye could see. The sight made
me dizzy, and caused some instinctive fear to bloom inside my
chest. I wanted to go to the diving platform off the back of the
boat, so I could splash a bit of water onto my face — I thought it
might have refreshed me — but the thought of falling into the sea
gave me pause.

“It seems as if the flames have gone

I turned to find Jenko coming down the ladder
from the upper cabin, his hair still sleep-tousled.

“It’s hard to tell from here.” But I suspected
he was right. The flames would have quickly burned through the
available fuel. I tried to imagine what Davlova must look like now.
Most of the third and fourth quadrant had likely been destroyed,
along with the government that had ruled the city since her
founding. Who would rule now? Anzhéla? If she still lived. Her
brother, Aleksey? He’d undoubtedly try. I had no idea who else had
been behind the coup, other than myself.

And I hadn’t ever cared about their
revolution. I’d only wanted to save Ayo.

“They boy’s still sleeping?” Jenko asked, as
if sensing the direction my mind had strayed.


He went to the railing at the rear of the
boat, and I followed. We stood side by side, staring across the
wind-chopped waves, toward the distant fallen city. “You told him
about Donato?”

My heart clenched. I thought of Donato, lying
dead in my arms the night before, and of Miguel, standing above me
in my dreams. “I did.”

“How did he take it?”

“It’s hard to say.” He’d cried, but he hadn’t
spoken. “I think he was in shock.”

He nodded, his eyes moving back and forth
across the waves, but he was focused inward. He was searching for
the words to say whatever he felt needed to come next. “He’s quite
taken with you.”

I didn’t know how to respond. I clutched the
cold metal bar of the railing. It was solid. It gave me something
to focus on other than the chaos of my thoughts.

“He’s innocent, and yet he’s not,” Jenko went
on. “After so many years, all the things he’s been through, he’s
not a child, despite his appearance. And yet, in many ways, he’ll
never be like us. Do you understand what I’m saying?”

“Yes,” I said quietly. “And no.” He turned to
me, a challenge in his eyes, as if he thought I was being
impertinent. “I know what you mean.” I assured him. “But I’m not
sure why you’re choosing to bring it up now.”

He raised an eyebrow in amusement. “You shared
a bed with him last night, yes?”

I felt the blood begin to rise in my cheeks.

“Ah. Well, you will at some point, I’m

“I hadn’t really considered it.”

“Really? A boy trained to deliver the very
heights of sexual pleasure, and you hadn’t thought what it would
mean to have his loyalty suddenly directed at you?”

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