Though I primarily write paranormal romance that is on the explicit side, this book is more of a sweet fantasy fiction. It is not explicit nor particularly gory. It could easily be picked up by a teenager or young adult and be enjoyed as much as it could be by someone older. This was a big change for me, but one that I enjoyed and tried for a reason.
There is a message in this novel, one of hope, personal growth, and positive versus negative relationships. Considering that the novel features a Bi-Gendered Protagonist, I felt there could be people of all ages that might want to read and enjoy what it's about.
I state Bi-Gendered rather than Pan-Gendered or Gender Fluid, only because of the book itself. The book is fantasy, set in a completely different world, and it is part of the culture and spiritual beliefs that some individuals are born governed by the 'Gemini Spirit.' This is a God/Goddess twin combination of male and female which manifests in the person by giving them a gender identity that is both male and female.
It is supposed to be widely known and engrained into the very fabric of these peoples' existence that a person's gender identity and sexual orientation is determined before birth by deities. This leaves it completely out of each person's hands and one would think leans itself towards a more accepting and unified society as a whole.
But...just because a people 'know' this is how it is, does not necessarily mean it is accepted.
The Gemini Prince is the story of Avery, a man who grew up feeling like a Gemini Spirit, but was never allowed to express his gender identity. Feelings of dysphoria, depression and isolation fester and grow to a daily anhedonia. Eventually, he leaves his family, his duties, and everything he's ever known in order to establish his gender the way he wants.
I am both very proud and quite worried over this work. I really wanted to write something good in order to broach this subject. I hope people of all ages and walks of life can enjoy it. This is a romance and there is a happy ending. Perhaps if there are people struggling with gender identity issues they might find it a fun feel-good sort of story.
Be looking for cover arts, character concept sketches, and give-aways to be popping up in the near future.
“Is it all that you expected?” I jump, sloshing the water as I sit up and look over my shoulder. Furling my brows I snort disapprovingly at Hector who is peeking around the small partition that I put up.
With a roll of my eyes I reach for some scented soap and begin brushing it across my body. “If I did not know better, I would think that you were doing your best to sneak peeks of my nude body. Of course, you are no such perverse fiend, are you Prince Hector?” I narrow my eyes at him playfully.
He gasps, placing a hand at his chest and feigning shock. “Perish the thought Prince Avery. I was merely making sure that you had not fallen in and drowned while my back was turned.”
At first I laugh, reveling in the beautiful smile upon his face, but then it hits me; he used my real name. Dropping the soap with a splash, I shy back in the water. My jaw drops and my eyes grow wide. I suppose I must look as if I have had a terrible fright because he steps closer to me with a hand outstretched. “What did you just call me?” I see the recognition on his face at his mistake and he winces, turning his face away.
“Ah, forgive me. Vincent…Vincent, you said your name was. It is just that you remind me so much of someone I met when I was a child that…” I cut him off, shifting in the tub and causing more sloshing.
“How long have you known?” There is a clipped and almost angry tone to my voice. I do not mean to sound angry at him, but I feel somehow betrayed.
I watch his Adam’s apple bob up and down in a hard swallow. Slowly he lowers to one knee and bows his head. “Forgive me, Your Highness, I have known who you truly were since I spotted you in the forest. It seemed as if you wanted your identity kept secret, and I was more than willing to uphold the illusion for you. Please, I meant no offense. I became too casual and got careless. It was thoughtless of me. I accept whatever punishment for any and all of my actions since we have met.”
Tears flood my eyes and I cup my hands over my ears, curling up in the tub. “Stop it! Stop saying things like that!” I hiccup, feeling the tears threatening to break through the barrier of my eyelids and spill out onto my face. “So then you were only treating me like a real person to pacify me. Everything you have done for me was only because of my station. This entire trip has been a lie.” My breath quickens, and I am gasping, feeling as if walls are tumbling down around me and all the air is being sucked out of my body. I feel like I am dying.
“No, no, that is not it at all. I found the most wonderful opportunity to be with a sweet and gentile prince. I was able to treat him like a person and he treat me like one in return. You made me feel…more than just a disappointment. You made me feel special and I wanted you to feel special too. But not because of what family you were born into, but for who you are.” I feel his hand upon my shoulder, giving a gentle squeeze. “Avery please…”
I sniffle and slowly lift my head. Looking up into those blue eyes is so difficult for me. I feel them reach into my rib cage, tear it open and expose my heart. One hand remains on my shoulder and the other ghosts tenderly across my cheek. All around us little bubbles of water start to float upwards out of the tub. I blink in surprise and glance around. “What is…happening?”
Hector wets his lips and looks to the bubbles as well. “We are close to the Well Spring. Your emotions are causing the water to rise, just like when you slapped me. The closer we are the more your magic will awaken, most likely. Please, I believe in this trip and I believe in you. I am not like your family. I want you to be who you are. I truly wish to help you and I want nothing in return. When I was a boy my father took my brothers and I to your court. It was some ball or something, I hardly remember. What I do remember is you. I was the sixth child and did not garner an introduction to the High Prince. You were introduced to my eldest brother instead, but I remember your beautiful hair and how you held yourself. You were just a child, but you smiled to people and talked with them and I just…”
I reach up, brushing my thumb against his bottom lip. “You just what?”