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Muffled Drum
     

Muffled Drum

4.3 4
by Erastes
 

Bohemia, 1866

They met in a port-side tavern, their lust-filled moments stolen from days of marching and madness. After eighteen months, Captain Rudolph von Ratzlaff and First Lieutenant Mathias Hofmann have decided to run away from everything they hold dear. Resigning their commissions is social suicide, but there's no other choice. Someone will

Overview

Bohemia, 1866

They met in a port-side tavern, their lust-filled moments stolen from days of marching and madness. After eighteen months, Captain Rudolph von Ratzlaff and First Lieutenant Mathias Hofmann have decided to run away from everything they hold dear. Resigning their commissions is social suicide, but there's no other choice. Someone will eventually see Rudolph's partiality toward Mathias.

Now their plans have gone horribly awry... When Mathias goes to Rudolph's tent after their last battle, his lover looks at him without a hint of recognition. Mathias can hardly believe the man he knew is gone. He wants to fill in so many of Rudolph's missing memories, but the doctor says a shock could result in permanent damage. The pain of seeing Rudolph on a daily basis, when Rudolph doesn't remember their love, is excruciating. Now Mathias must decide whether he wants to fight for the man he loves or forget him completely...

43,000 words

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781426891861
Publisher:
Carina Press
Publication date:
07/04/2011
Sold by:
HARLEQUIN
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
581,597
File size:
915 KB

Read an Excerpt


Bohemia, 1866

"And no more of that disgusting pomade." Rudolph's mouth grazed Mathias's ear. The curls artfully arranged beside it tickled his nose. He spoke quietly so only Mathias could hear, well aware that his batman and an entire army were on the other side of their canvas walls. "I promise I shall dispose of every jar you purchase. And no more early mornings—ever—I swear it. We shall pay someone to stand guard outside our door and not rise until we have to."

Warmth generated between them everywhere they touched, skin and cloth. A moment stolen from days of marching and madness, a center of heat between them, in sharp contrast to the chill morning wind, which whuffed the canvas of the tent.

Mathias stirred, his arms locking more firmly behind Rudolph's back. "Tomorrow. Even now I can't quite believe it..."

"Believe it, and no more talk of it. Fate won't be tempted." Rudolph silenced any further discussion by kissing Mathias, deeply and thoroughly, rubbing his yet unshaven cheek against Mathias's smooth, morning-ready skin. A man in full uniform was not an easy armful.

The scent of sweat and horse rose up in the heat they generated. Concentrating on the unique taste and feel of Mathias's mouth, Rudolph swore to remember this moment throughout the day to come. When I'm cold from the death around me, or blazing with the thunder of the charge, I will remember this—this moment. It is this that men fight for—Mathias is my reason to fight, my haven. My home.

Outside the tent, the sound of hooves and the jingle of harness could be heard. They froze, listening, as the horse's feet stopped, and conversation, unable to be fully heard over the noise of the wind, ensued beyond the canvas.

"Sir?" Goertz's voice sounded low and urgent from his guard post.

"I must go, anyway." Mathias pulled away, straightened his dolman and picked up his shako. "But—"

Voices engaged in conversation outside the tent. Rudolph blocked them out, savoring these last moments. Moments which very well might be their last together.

"No." Rudolph kissed him again, swiftly and quietly. "No buts. Just fight. Then we resign. Then meet here. Then leave. No matter what." He watched Mathias pull the control over his features and take a deep breath. Fierce with pride at the deeply brave man his young friend had become, he smiled, catching Mathias's eye. "Say 'Yes, Rudolph.'"

Mathias looked down once then up, executing a knife-sharp salute with a click of his polished heels. "Yes, Rudolph!" Then he swung around and pushed his way through the tent flap.

It took Rudolph a moment or two to recover himself, then, suppressing his fond smile, he strode out into the misty dawn. "What is it, Goertz?"

As he surveyed the waking soldiers, sounds gathered strength. Sergeants shouted as sergeants were born to do, the ever-present jingle of harness sounded crisp and musical, and wheels of the carts and cannons gave an ominous backdrop to it all.

Goertz, his batman, jumped up from his chair, Rudolph's sabretache, gleaming fresh and shiny with polish, in his hand.

Meet the Author

Erastes is the pen name of a female author of gay historical fiction. Having circumnavigated the globe in the '80s with nothing more than a handful of dollars and a backpack, she's lived and worked both sides of the equator, but other than Venice she's found nowhere she loves to live as well as the Norfolk Broads, where she lives now—firmly under the paw of three demanding cats. Author of eight novels and more than twenty short stories, Erastes is a Lambda award finalist and a keen lover of history. She began writing full-time after leaving the legal profession, finding it stranger than any fiction.

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Muffled Drum 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
MaraJ73 More than 1 year ago
This isn't the first time I've read a story about lost love due to amnesia or the rediscovering of that love but it is the first time I've read this author and it was a perfect discovery of a great story.  I loved the inner turmoil Mathias shows while he's trying to decide if the rediscovery is worth the pain he feels when he's with Rudolph.  Add in the fact that it's a historical and I was a happy camper when I couldn't put this down.  I will definitely be checking out other works by Erastes.
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