Read a sample from A DOWRY OF BLOOD by S.T. Gibson

My lord. My liege. Beloved. King. My darling. My defender.

I had so many names for you in those days, my cup of devotion overflowing with titles worthy of your station. I used your name, too, the one your mother had given you, but only in our most intimate moments, when I comforted you during your rare displays of weakness or made a vow to you as a woman, as a wife.

But I am not your wife anymore, my lord, and I don’t think you ever truly saw me as a whole woman. I was always a student. A project. An accessory in the legal and decorative sense.

You did not let me keep my name, so I will strip you of yours. In this world, you are what I say you are, and I say you are a ghost, a long night’s fever dream that I have finally woken up from. I say you are the smoke-wisp memory of a flame, thawing ice suffering under an early spring sun, a chalk ledger of debts being wiped clean.

I say you do not have a name.