Banderos, The Last War: Book 6 by @SylvieGrayson #Fantasy #SciFi #NewRelease

Loyal Hawker, while working as a travelling seller, has joined an elite team of undercover agents run by the Khandarken military. On a trip south, he’s approached by Angel Banderos, only daughter among the many sons of Gerwal Banderos. Gerwal is a well-known strongman who seized much of the unclaimed territory north of Adar Silva at the end of the Last War. With Emperor Carlton invading in an attempt to reclaim his Empire, danger hovers over the Banderos land, and the brothers show they’re not as united as they first appear.

During the ensuing chaos, when the the Banderos compound is beseiged. Loyal must work in the midst of deceit and betrayal to protect what is left of Angel’s heritage. Can he survive long enough to find out who’s targeting Angel and save her from her treacherous brothers?

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Banderos, The Last War: Book Six

In the unclaimed territory south of the Jirani plains, Loyal Hawker steered his dusty transport to the side of the track. It was early spring, and the sun was pale in the morning sky. They’d been travelling for several days, following his sales route through this  thinly populated area on the journey toward Sommerset, capital of Adar Silva. He scanned the irregular line of houses and shacks that made up the so-called village of Hafford. This was where he and Adoni were to meet up with Damian Stuke.

He glanced over at his assistant. Loyal hadn’t known Adoni long, but the young fellow was quick and clever, and in the past had proved surprisingly skillful in a firefight. He was from the northern regions of Legitamia, above Khandarken along the Catastrophic Ocean. His sallow skin and slanted eyes were an unusual sight here in the south.

“We stop in Hafford for the night,” Loyal said. “The bar has a couple of rooms in the back that are usually available for rent.”

They both turned to stare at the shabby building—walls made of stacked poles, roof of some kind of thatch and a muddy path leading to the half-door that stood open to the elements.

“And,” Loyal added, “Stuke shouldn’t have any trouble finding us.”

“Sounds good.” Adoni shrugged his hawker’s jacket over his shoulders. “Are the supplies safe?” He pointed to the sales goods stacked on the roof of the transport and in the small trailer behind.

Loyal shrugged. “As can be. There’s not much traffic around here.” As a travelling seller, he had managed to cover a lot of territory through the new countries that had sprung up out of the remains of the Old Empire. He was used to dealing with the constant exposure and risk of theft.

But he had recently expanded his route. Since his alliance with Major Dante Regiment and the Khandarken military, his main objective as he travelled had shifted from sales to the gathering of information. To his surprise, he’d become an undercover agent, working with his uncle Governor Frank Maude of the Southern Territory of Khandarken. There were persistent rumours about this area—talk of dispossessed gathering and organizing, of unrest and possible uprising. This was one of the reasons Damian Stuke was scheduled to meet them here.

Adoni opened the door and stepped out as Loyal shut down the transport engine and closed the holograph map on the frontboard. Ahead of them the village meandered in a slightly irregular pattern—shops, restaurants and houses intermingled with service barns and sheds on either side of the makeshift street.

Approaching the tavern, Loyal walked up a couple of stone steps and through the half-door. He glanced around. A long plank against the back wall served as a counter. The floor was made of bare boards, slightly dusty, and the one plexi window looking out on the strand was smudged and blurred. The barkeep looked up from behind the counter and gave him a nod of recognition.

Loyal had been here before. His singular appearance, pale blonde hair in tight curls on his head and down the long sideburns, along with a tall, broad-shouldered lean frame made him readily recognizable. There were tables loosely scattered around the space, two of which were already occupied.

Loyal moved up to the heavy plank to tap a coin on the surface. “Two ales, my good man.”

The attendant nodded, then his gaze sharpened as he caught sight of Adoni coming through the door. He glanced nervously about the interior at the occupied tables and focussed on a thin stooped fellow in the corner who seemed to be totally fascinated by the bottom of his probably empty tankard.

The barkeep quickly poured the ales and set them on the bar, taking the coin from Loyal’s hand. “There you go, gentlemen. No roughhousing in my bar,” he warned.

Loyal raised his eyebrows. Was this a signal of some sort? What roughhousing was the man talking about? He grabbed both tankards and made for a seat against the far wall.

Adoni dropped into his chair with a long sigh. “Looks good, boss,” he said and raised the tankard. “To your health.”

Loyal nodded and returned the greeting. “To your health,” he said and took a long draught. There was a sudden roar from behind. Alarmed, he set his drink down and swivelled on the bench to find the solitary drinker no longer staring into his tankard, but on his feet, glaring openly at their table.

“What is this, a joke?” the man blustered “By the graves, there ain’t no yellow faces allowed in here!”

The barkeep stopped what he was doing and swiftly jogged the length of the bar. “Down, boy,” he gritted. “No roughhousing allowed!”

The fellow was not deterred. “Where’d you come from, you dog,” he called. “Must be a Legi from up by the Catastrophic Ocean from the looks of you. How’d they let you get this far south all in one piece?”

Loyal felt the gorge rise in his throat. Often there had been comments about Adoni’s appearance as they travelled his seller’s route. His assistant was clearly not from around here, but never had there been such an outright attack. He glanced at Adoni who started to rise from his chair as he stared with hatred at the loudmouth behind them.

“Hold it, man,” Loyal muttered. “We don’t want to start anything if we can avoid it. This is where we’re meant to hook up with Damian. We need to stay calm.”

Just then the fellow shook his floppy hair out of his eyes and charged.

From the corner of his eye, Loyal saw the two other men in the bar slowly get to their feet from the bench at their table across the room, their attention pinned to the anticipated action. He didn’t know if they intended to join the fight or simply watch, but he dared not wait to find out.

He jumped to his feet. As the first man approached at a run, he stepped into position, the fighting arts training with his cousin Abe Farmer a decided advantage in this type of situation. But he was too late. As he swiftly threw a kick and nailed their attacker in the chest with the heel of his boot, Adoni was knocked sideways in his chair and ended up on the floor, panting for breath and face florid. The attacker went down like a rock and lay still.

The barkeep stood frozen for a moment, then waving his other customers away he knelt to see if the guy was still breathing. Apparently he was, because he gave a nod, grabbed the body by the heels and dragged it across the grimy floor into the back room. He reappeared shortly. “It looks like he’ll live,” he said curtly, “But I told you, no roughhousing.”

“I didn’t start a thing.” Loyal grinned, heaving a breath as the adrenaline roared through his body. “Just took care of the problem for you.”

The barkeep gave a resigned shake of his head and stepped back behind the bar as Loyal turned to find Adoni struggling to his feet. Offering his hand, he yanked him up. “There you go. Luckily the ale didn’t spill.”

Adoni gave a grunt and brushed dust off his jacket. “I wanted to give him a good whacking.”

“Yeah.” Loyal settled onto the bench and took a fortifying swallow of ale. “I know, but you’re not ready. Won’t be long though. I saw your last training session with Abe’s men. You’ve gained a lot of ground.”

His assistant gave him a crooked grin.

Just then the barkeep thumped his fist heavily on the plank in front of him as he stared at the doorway to the bar. “By the dogs of hell, what now?” he demanded hoarsely, his face a dull red.

Loyal glanced up, expecting Damian Stuke had arrived. Instead, three figures came through the door.

They stood in silhouette, the filtering sunlight falling obliquely across their forms. The first was a woman, slender, no more than twenty, with pale skin. Her dark blonde, slightly curly hair lay on her shoulders like a soft shawl. One side was pinned back with a jewelled comb, and an amethyst earring of rare abalone swung on a gold link from her delicate earlobe. Her robe was old-fashioned, of a style Loyal had often seen around Adar Silva showing the lingering influence of the Old Empire. The stand-up collar was clipped closed at the throat, and embroidery and glitters decorated the sleeves and down the front panels—a very formal and expensive garment.

Emperor Aqatain had his headquarters just south of here before the Last War sent him into retreat through the northern hills. Empire clothing was distinctive and many still clung to the old styles

But even more startling, the woman wore trousers beneath the robe. He’d seen women in trousers before, loose three-quarter length garments worn as they toiled in the fields of some farm, but never pants tailored to fit a female shape and paired with a dress robe. Certainly never in public. Loyal stared, then belatedly glanced toward the barkeep whose face had turned a strange shade of puce.

The two young men who accompanied her stopped near the door as if to stand guard. There was a rising murmur of voices as the men at the far table took in the strange sight.

The barkeep blanched. “What are you doing? You can’t come in here,” he stuttered, waving his hand at her as if to shoo a chicken back through the doorway.

Ignoring him, she raised her head and pasted an imperious, if nervous, smile on her face as she glanced around the room. “I’m looking for Loyal the Hawker,” she said.

Adoni gawked openly as Loyal rose slowly from his chair, confusion churning in his chest. Was this a trick? He’d never seen the girl before, was sure he would remember that arresting face. He had certainly never seen a woman in clothes like these. In addition, he had no contacts in the village. This place was only a waypoint, a dwelling to stay the night on his travels through the back country. How would she know his name?

He stalked forward. “I’m Loyal Hawker,” he said, his throat tight. “What can I do for you?”

The colour high in her cheeks, she reached into the pocket of her robe and pulled out a folded onionskin. “My father sends his regards,” she said in a low, modulated voice. “And he asks that you meet with him. I am come to take you there.”

Author Bio –

Sylvie Grayson has lived most of her life in British Columbia, Canada in spots ranging from Vancouver Island on the Pacific coast to the wilds of the North Peace River country and the Kootenays in the beautiful interior. She spent a one year sojourn in Tokyo, Japan.

She has been an English language instructor, a nightclub manager, an auto shop bookkeeper and a lawyer. Now she works part time as the owner of a small company, and writes when she finds the time.

She is a wife and mother and lives on the Pacific coast with her husband on a small patch of land near the ocean that they call home. She prefers her stories to be full of tension and attraction and writes romantic suspense and fantasy. Her novels include Suspended Animation, Legal Obstruction, and The Lies He Told Me —about a woman whose husband has disappeared leaving no clues to his whereabouts.

You can reach Sylvie at                                                             or go to her website at                  to follow her news.

Note to Reader –

I would really like your help. Book reviews are the lifeblood of what I do and your review of my book would mean a lot to me. If you would take a moment or two and leave your review where you bought the book, that would be wonderful. I honestly thank you.

Last but not least, if you find an error in this book, please email me. This will help me fix things that my editors and I might have overlooked and make for a better read for others. In return, by way of showing my gratitude, I will send you a free copy of the next book with my sincere thanks.

Sylvie Grayson


What starts as a series of carnal lessons turns into more as two rivals vie for the woman of their dreams.



Jaspir has been in love with Lady Merlyn since they were children, but she has always been out of his reach. Trained as a Pleasure Hound and now surviving by selling his body to rich women, his heart has always remained loyal to his true love.


Liam was promised to Merlyn in their youth, but he’s always known that he’s not the man in her heart. With their betrothal approaching, Liam seeks out Jaspir for help. Eager to ensure the happiness of the woman they both love, Jaspir agrees to train Liam in the pleasure arts.


What starts as rivals in an uneasy truce, soon turns carnal when Merlyn learns of their secret lessons. In a society where men are second class citizens, Merlyn is torn between the attentions of two men who would do anything to rule her heart.


Lesson One


Jaspir regarded his longtime foe. Set in Liam’s pale face was green eyes with thick lashes, a strong jaw and a mouth with a thin upper lip, but full lower lip. Jaspir had hated this pale face for many years. He blocked out Liam’s face and focused on the man’s lips. As he did with his more unattractive clients, Jaspir pictured Merlyn in his head, narrowing his world to what these lips would do for her.


Jaspir grazed his fingers along the lips before him. They were thinner than his own. His lessons would have to account for that. “Lesson number one,” he said. “The bedroom is the only place where a man can truly rule a woman.”


Jaspir clasped the chin that belonged to the lips, eliciting another gasp.


“You need to take charge,” he said. “Be in control.”


Jaspir’s fingers curled about the neck and the lips parted as he did so.


“Merlyn thinks too much. Her head rules her entire body. If you have control of her head…”


His fingers went into the red hairs at the nape of the neck that belonged to the lips. With a firm tug, the head went back exposing the neck. “…you have control of her.”


Jaspir let his focus extend from the lips to the exposed neck. His tongue struck out and he licked. He felt the body trembling in his grasp.


“Lesson number two, never do what’s expected.” Jaspir bit lightly at the chin. “Merlyn will anticipate your every move. She can’t help it. She remembers the sequence of things. If you are repetitive, you will lose her. Do you understand?”


Jaspir watched as the lips tried to form words, but the trembling thwarted them. In the end, Jaspir was given a nod of acquiescence.




Jaspir focused on the lips once more. He nipped at them. He nipped at the bottom lip, which was plumper than the top. He nipped at the corner, flicking his tongue out. He continued this random pattern as the lips tried to anticipate his next move, each time failing to predict it.


“Lesson three, make her chase you. Once you—”


The lips cut him off. The lips Jaspir had thought so small covered his own and tried to devour him. For unpracticed lips they were warm and wanton. Perhaps Liam could please Merlyn after all. But first, he had to pay attention.


Jaspir used the hand still at the nape of Liam’s neck to yank him away. Liam groaned at the loss, his chest panting, his eyes hooded.


“Are you listening, Liam?”


Liam blinked once, twice. By the third blink, he’d recovered himself and yanked away from Jaspir’s hold, embarrassment clear on his face. “All right,” Liam said. “You’ve made your point.”


“I don’t think I have.”


Liam clenched his jaw.


“Show me what you’ve learned.”


Liam’s eyes whipped to Jaspir’s. Jaspir placed his hands in his lap and waited.


Slowly Liam raised his hands. They grazed Jaspir’s chin. The soft, un-callused fingers reminding Jaspir of a woman’s gentle touch. Before Jaspir could process the softness, Liam’s fingers tangled in his hair and wrenched Jaspir’s head back.


Jaspir barely held back his moan of pleasure. He liked it rough from time to time, but that would not do for Lady Merlyn. “Not that firm. She’s more delicate than I am. Just enough to let her know that you’re in control.”


Liam loosened his grip a fraction. He looked to Jaspir for approval. Jaspir recognized the spark of need in the other male’s eyes. How this man lived ten years under Merlyn’s roof and never stole a single kiss was a true mystery to Jaspir.


“Good,” Jaspir nodded.


The spark in Liam’s eyes ignited into the smallest of flames before he dipped his head and put his mouth to Jaspir’s throat. Liam’s movements were unpracticed and hesitant, but the heat of his mouth sent a message to Jaspir’s dick. Jaspir focused on his breaths instead of the heat climbing across his hips.


There was no way he’d be turned on by this soft-hand, unpracticed, First, virgin.


Liam nibbled at Jaspir’s lip now, his hunger making up for his lack of skill. Jaspir knew desire. He understood wanting something that he thought was off limits to him. Jaspir softened and turned his head into the kiss.


For a moment, Jaspir allowed Liam to claim him. Allowed him to taste that thing that he could never possess. To pretend for just a moment that it could be this way; that they could be together always. That they could live on a land away from society and everything tearing them apart. To live in a small cottage surrounded by impossible flowers of red, purple and green.


The kiss turned brutal as both men fought to stake their claim. Until finally, Jaspir gave a tug of Liam’s hair, pulling them apart. Both men stared at the other, panting, eyes clear, realization dawning that neither held the object of their desire.


“That’ll be all for today’s lessons.”


It took a moment, but finally Liam rose. “When do I—” He stopped and cleared his throat.


“When do I come back for our second appointment?”


Jaspir turned to him, his face a mask of unconcern. “Pick any day you’d like. I’ve cleared my entire schedule just for you.”

Author of erotica, paranormal, and fairytale romance novels, Ines Johnson writes books for strong women who suck at love.

Ines Johnson


Author Bio

Ines writes books for strong women who suck at love. If you rocked out to the twisted triangle of Jem, Jericha, and Rio as a girl; if you were slayed by vampires with souls alongside Buffy; if you need your scandalous fix from Olivia Pope each week, then you’ll love her books!

Aside from being a writer, professional reader, and teacher, Ines is a very bad Buddhist. She sits in sangha each week, and while others are meditating and getting their zen on, she’s contemplating how to use the teachings to strengthen her plots and character motivations.

Ines lives outside Washington, DC with her two little sidekicks who are growing up way too fast.


Inspiration Short

Over the summer, I had a flash of inspiration while on my knees cleaning the oven. I dreamed a world where men were the domestics and lived only to please women. For some curious reason, the idea stuck with me and three weeks later I’d written a full novel set in that fantasy world.

Inspiration Long

Last year, I was given an ARC of Kele Moon’s paranormal, menage romance, “The Queen’s Consorts.” I’d never read a polyamorous story before, where not only did the men fall for the heroine, but they fell for eachother as well. I craved more of this world, but couldn’t find anything to satisfy my needs. So I wrote my own.

“The Pleasure Hound series” is set in a dystopian future where women rule, men are second class citizens, and love is polyamourous. The book follows the lives of a group of monks who have trained in the orgasmic arts, but have since left their temple in the pursuit of their true passions.

Tell us about your book? How did it get started?

The elements of a great romance is when the hero and heroine fit each others need.

There’s a preponderance of books where pain is pleasure. And that’s okay with me -when I believe that there’s actually pleasure being had. I’ve read too many books where women are getting spanked just to get spanked. Its not clear how the act satisfies a need in them, nor is it clear that the man understands and is acting to fulfill that need. That understanding is the sexy part to me: a woman who knows (perhaps subconsciously) what she needs and a man who knows exactly how to give it to her.

The Pleasure Hound series, came into being out of this frustration. I wanted to read about a heroine who was eager to explore pleasure. I wanted to encounter a hero who was skilled in, and solely interested in, that woman’s pleasure. My monks have studied women’s bodies like textbooks. After thorough perusal of the women in their charge, they emerge ready to ace the examination.

What got you started in writing?

I come from a family of storytellers. My mother would talk your ears off for hours and my father is a songwriter. I began my storytelling career in television, where I still dabble from time to time. A few years ago I’d written a script that I thought would make an excellent book, only I didn’t know how to write a book. So I took a couple of classes and started querying. I never received a single rejection letter. Instead, I got no responses at all in the beginning! But I never gave up and I never stopped writing. Wait, isn’t the the definition of insanity?

How do you get your ideas for writing?

I’m a very bad Buddhist. I sit each week in sangha, which is similar to sitting in a church pew on Sunday. In a sangha the teacher, think preacher, will  lecture on spiritual teachings and guide the group in mediation. During meditation when I’m supposed to be getting my zen on, my mind always wanders back to the teaching and turns it into a story.

What do you like to read?

Perfect heroines are boring and unrealistic to me; they must be flawed in some way. I prefer stories where the heroine’s a strong, bright, and successful in their careers but are clueless and inept in their love lives.

What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?

If you’re serious, you’re only allowed one day off a week. And on your day off you should be plotting in your head.

How long did you write before you were published?

I went to school for producing and screenwriting, and worked in the broadcasting industry for over a decade, before trying my hand at novel writing. I wrote my first novel in 2009. It was based off a script that I wrote but couldn’t find the financing for. I was so proud of my work, but readers and critique partners noted that it was evident that I was a screenwriter and didn’t understand the mechanics of novelization. Screenwriting consists of action and dialogue. That’s it. In scripts, there is no internal monologuing and setting is minimal. I had some learning to do. Five years, and a ton of classes later, I’m finally making my debut with a novel lush in setting and internal angst.

Are you a plotter or pantser?

I love plotting. Its my favorite part of writing. I love to go into Scrivener and use the Outline tool to plan the journey of my characters. I can recite just about any plotting structure you can think of. The Hero’s Journey, Save the Cat, Romance Arc, Relationship Arc…I could go on.

Generally, how long does it take you to write a book?

The first time I tried to write a book it took me one year to write the first three chapters because I agonized over each word choice. Now, I believe in fast drafting. Vomit the story onto the page without a care for comma placement. All told, it takes me about six months from the first drafted word to the final polished manuscript.

I take three to four weeks for the first draft, which I call The Dirty. I let The Dirty breath for as long as I am able to be parted with it -usually a week or two. Then I come back and Sweep up the grammar and plot holes, which usually takes another three to four weeks.

Next I send The Swept draft out to my trusted critique partners. When it comes back I Clean it up for another three weeks focusing on my weaknesses which is setting. Finally, I send The Clean manuscript off to the copyeditor for two to three weeks. When it comes back I Polish up all the commas and rethink my overused words. Then I hit publish, and start all over again!

What genres do you write besides romantic erotica?

I write romantic erotica, paranormal romance, and fairy tale retelling romance novels. Notice the romance in each genre. I began writing YA, but realized my love scenes were too hot for teens!

What is the most you have written in one day?

The most I’ve written in one day is 4551 words. How do I know that? Because I keep a log. I record what plot point I was writing, where I wrote, what time I started writing, how long I wrote, and my word count.

I typically Fast Draft with a friend; a competitive friend. I recommend writing along with competitive people. It forces you to get the words out. I also believe in incentives and I give myself stickers when I meet my word count -a trick I learned stalking Laini Taylor’s blog.


What are you currently reading?

I just finished reading a nonfiction book called “Sperm Wars: The Science of Sex” by Robin Baker. The title reveals the subject matter. Its about what goes on inside a fertile woman’s body. Did you know that less than 1% of sperm is designed for fertilization of the egg? There are Terminator sperm that engage in warfare with enemy sperm from the Part-Time Lover. Its fascinating! It was research for my current The Loyal Steed.

How did you come up with your title?

I was up one night watching HBO’s after dark programing. On show called “Cathouse,” one of the ‘working girls’ captivated me. She looked like a kindergarten teacher, not anything like what I’d imagine a hooker to look like. She said that she was a “pleasure hound,” and she could sniff out pleasure wherever it might be. The phrase stuck in my head for years.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

I’m obsessed with Ernessa T. Carter. Her book “32 Candles,” is an 80’s fairytale retelling for women of color.

What are your current projects?

There are so many stories in my head begging to get out. I just finished writing an alien erotic romance. Its called Spirited Away. It was written on a dare -of sorts. I was joking around with my critique partner about the subject matter in erotic fiction on Amazon. KDP has provided a space for creatives to write stories beyond my scope of imagination like dinosaur erotica, troll romance, and tentacle monster sex. Then, I said, “I bet I could tell a tentacular tale with a plot and a point.” My critique partner didn’t take me seriously. So I wrote it. It’ll be out this summer.

Where do you write?

I do my best writing at hightop tables where I can alternately sit or stand while typing on my laptop. A cup is a must. My favorite is soy chai, sweetened with honey.

When do you write?

I write best in the morning from 8am until lunchtime. Nights are reserved for reading.


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