Under the Midnight Sun by Lore Graham follows the adventures of Otto Johanson through trials and tournaments, guts and glory, as he finds love again. Below is a short excerpt about Otto and his last lover, Rasmus.
CONTENT WARNINGS: Explicit violence, character death
An Excerpt from Under the Midnight Sun
Three years ago, Otto had been ready to ask Rasmus, his lover of the few years prior, for betrothal. Rasmus—wiry, witty Rasmus—had been a fine warrior who was eager to leave his family’s ironworking trade to his older brothers. But a vicious attack from Yewcastle on a band of Thunderhill warriors out hunting left them with many casualties. Rasmus and Otto had survived the initial onslaught together, only to be interrupted by the fresh terror of Rasmus clutching his throat soon after the lull.
The primal fear on Rasmus’s face was etched into Otto’s mind even now. Otto had wasted no time tearing through the nearby trees in search of the red sorcerer, finding her quickly and pulling her down from her cowardly perch hidden in the trees. He hacked off the hand clutching the freshly carved rune, spilling even fresher blood down its surface. But it had been too late; though he had slayed her moments later, Rasmus was still dead.
An uneasy truce had been settled between Thunderhill and Yewcastle more recently, after a nasty spate of dire fox attacks, but Otto had found neither comfort nor love since. Now, surrounded by all of Thunderhill in the festivities of the solstice, Otto was expected to be looking for a new partner. Relationships that ended with the death of one of the men in battle were painful but common. One of Otto’s fathers, Alvar, had died from a wound of war many years back; his other father, Johan, had remarried not two years later. But despite the unspoken expectation that Otto would be ready to move on by now, he had no burning desire to light a new flame.
Occasionally, he still feared the embers of his heart were truly extinguished, to be forever cold, when he saw warriors around him finding love—a particular worry he’d faced when Werner and Sverre had wed. Not prone to dramatics, however, Otto assured himself the embers were simply burning slowly, waiting for the right kindling to be stoked to new passion. Or so he hoped.
More About Under the Midnight Sun
The eldest son of Thunderhill’s warrior-kings, Otto Johanson lives for battle but has forsaken love since the death of his partner three years ago. Still when the Midsummer festivities bring nomadic reindeer herders back to town, Otto can’t help but notice the handsome, if sullen, Lukas. Tension rises between them during the annual tournament, but when a terrible attack devastates Thunderhill, Otto and Lukas must put aside their burgeoning rivalry to embark on a dangerous quest that may be the town’s only hope of survival.
Content Warnings for the book (in white, highlight to read):
A few scenes of explicit sex. Several scenes involving violence, including a couple of gory moments, a minor character being maimed in battle, and some secondary character deaths. Animal death (primarily reindeer) and violence towards animal-like monsters, but (specific spoiler) the dogs do not die!
A Bit About Lore
Lore Graham is a speculative fiction writer who lives in Massachusetts. When ze isn’t writing poetry or romance, ze’s usually cooking, cross-stitching, or spending time with zir cat. Ze loves unique settings and rich worlds, and indulges that love through reading, writing, and gaming. Lore has a particular weakness for androids, nonbinary characters, and magic. Lore is agender and uses ze/zir/zir or they/them/their pronouns.
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