He stood perhaps seven feet tall, wiry and strong with his height. His skin was dark gray, a cool steel color. Waist-length hair the color of coal was pulled back harshly from a high forehead. Like me, he had only two eyes—except one of his had the nerveless glare of artificial light; its lids moved, snakelike, steel over steel. Next to the mechanical eye, his own gleamed an impossible purple, and his mouth showed a grin full of fang-sharp teeth.
I stared, a deer caught in the headlights of his gaze, and my heartbeat drummed hard in my ears. His machine eye flashed, and I winced, not quite in pain; a low buzz was rattling in the back of my head, the barely audible hum of a television on standby. Building below that buzz, there was a pressure, a sense of something dammed and dangerous, like white water held back by cracking stone.
Jason Vale has just been unceremoniously dumped by his long-time boyfriend, and decides he could use a change of scenery; what he gets instead is a change of world. After setting out on a road trip to 'find himself', he barely gets a mile before a freakish storm sets him down on a tundra of silver grass with a alien sky overhead. This world is called Skoria, and it soon turns hungry eyes toward him, most keenly in the form of Aedar Rictus, the cyborg pirate who covets him as a pet.
Collared and chained to Aedar's will, Jason slowly comes to realize two uncomfortable truths: first, he is not entirely unhappy as Aedar's property, and second, the chains that bind him to his new owner go both ways. An unexpected mind-link between cyborg and human throws the certainties of brutal Skorian law into disarray. With pleasure and pain linking them in a feedback loop of sensations, the boundaries between owner and property--machine and man--begin to blur.
A Stranger in Skoria
File under: planetary romance, telepathic bonds, sexy cyborgs, one hell of a post-breakup shakeup
Content notes: slavery (including nonconsensual slavery), dubious consent, owner/pet dynamics