Caspari Roccaro is many things -- human sorcerer, husband, father, and patron to his mistresses. He's also more fond than he should be of his hired lover, the golden-skinned, pampered pet Victore with his kindness and dubious origins, and oh, yes. His tail.
Victore knows himself for what he is: a whore. That he plies his trade in the best demon brothel in all of Rome changes nothing. Yet it is how he met Caspari and as such, he is content. A faction within the Holy Church has set covetous eyes on Caspari, seeking to use Caspari's talents for their own ends. When Ashalam, winged and bound to do the bidding of his earthly masters, finds himself questioning that plan, all bets are off.
Can a human sorcerer, a demon, and an angel of sorts find their way through the pitfalls offered by the Renaissance? Will their determination prove to be enough?
Excerpt He'd been watching the human for what felt like ages and, frankly, Ashalam was getting bored.
That wasn't to say that the man hadn't done some interesting things in that time, but nothing that warranted the close watch Ashalam had been ordered to keep.
Yes, the human was a Sorcerer.
Yes, the male had a variety of mistresses, but that wasn't so uncommon for the times.
Now, had the human been living a few centuries earlier -- or in a city other than Rome -- the fact that there were three different women sating his needs, as well as a wife? Well, that would have had the fellow burning even if his occupation had somehow slipped past the ever-suspicious eyes of the Church.
The male wasn't young, by any means, either. He was, in fact, nearly twenty-five, which was damnably close to middle-aged, what with as quickly as humans grew and became frail and vanished from the mortal realm… and yet he not only had the many mistresses but seemed able to keep each and every one of them satisfied.
And he looks far younger than most men his age, Ashalam added silently, his invisible eyes raking slowly down and then up the long, lean form. He has no gray in his hair, no paunch. His skin is still tight and toned. If I didn't know for certain that he still owns his soul, I might understand why I've been put on this particular human. To watch. Simply to watch.
How much longer could it really go on?
How much longer before the Church finally admitted that Ashalam was being wasted on his current assignment?
Maker help him, but it couldn't be soon enough. Not when watching the male pleasuring his females always had Ashalam feeling so… he didn't know what.
Tight. Bothered. Angry. Warm.
So… something, but always at one remove, emotions being forbidden to his kind. Yet he'd come to recognize them over the course of his extended assignment.
Maybe it was simply that he hadn't been Home in more than a hundred human years.
He hoped so, in any case, because otherwise? Well, otherwise, he would have to assume that the so-called Renaissance was having more of an affect on him than he would like.
Or he is, some rebellious part of his psyche argued. He's smart enough to openly practice magics and still avoid being shunned by the Church, that part continued. And he's beautiful enough to have his choice of mistresses, but he's chosen his own for more than merely looks.
And that was true enough, Ashalam had to admit, because while the male's wife and first mistress were both more beautiful than any women aside from each other, the last two sparrows the human had taken under his wing were… well, homely in one case, and nothing more than plain in the case of the other.
It was only through his years of watching that Ashalam knew the homely woman had a brilliant mind, while the merely plain one held within her the heart of a giant.
How Caspari Roccaro had known these things was a mystery.
In the end, Ashalam didn't believe that it mattered much, if at all.
Perhaps Caspari had gone looking for those who would accept him with relief. Perhaps the male had merely been worried over his purse.
It took many more florins to keep a beautiful woman than a plain one, after all, and the male had gone through some times that had been difficult.
Not hard times, but not easy, either.
Whatever the case might be, Ashalam didn't much care.