The House of Silence Volume 1: Exodus
by J.A. Jaken
Novel (90,000 words)
Genre(s): Gothic, Suspense, BDSM, M/M
2nd Edition - includes moderate edits and restructuring
The House of Silence is an elite male bordello catering to the obscenely rich. No matter how extreme or mundane the fantasy, the House is rumored to serve. Master Charon employs a group of versatile, beautiful young men, some lewd, some innocent, many with tragic pasts and hidden secrets of their own, who depend on him for safety. Protecting his boys is more important to Charon than always pleasing his powerful clients; the men who work for him return this loyalty. Each young man - Vincent, Danny, Reiji, Tam and more - brings his own history and his own fears to the House of Silence.
This unpredictable mix erupts when danger threatens. A powerful nobleman strikes out at Charon and his staff, seeking to destroy them all if he's not given what he wants: one of the boys to keep for his own.
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Here is what readers are saying about The House of Silence:
"The author takes you on a fantastically written journey to an alternate reality of old-worldly grandeur, in which an opulent brothel with secret passageways is home to beautiful young men and their charismatic, but mysterious master, Charon Marque. [...] You, too, will get sucked into the seductive world inside the House and the lives of its occupants."
-The Blog of Sid Love
"I recommend this to anyone that likes Lords, rich business men, Cabals, dark fantasy, M/M erotica, sensual steamy sex, BDSM (not the soft and flowery kind), D/s, mystery, and intrigue- it’s all here, and more."
-MM Good Book Reviews
"Wow, this is so well-written that I am amazed by it and will be reading the other books in this series. The setting, the tone, the mood... everything just pulled me in."
"What a heart gripping emotional roller coaster well written and plot driven book. Each character in this book grabs at you and never let go. I have finished books 1 and 2 a couple days now and gosh what an impression it left. Each character was written with their own specific persona that added to the development of the plot. I cried, laughed, and struggled along with these characters which makes the impact even greater."
"I guarantee you will fall in love with Reiji, Danny, Tam, Vincent, Brand, Lord Ander, and the heart of this family Charon. Must Must Must BUY!"
"Quite a good erotic romance/suspense story, well written and edited, great character development."
"A strong showing for a first book in a new series. Very talented author. Highly recommended!"
"This book has great sex scenes, a good plot, and keeps you interested all the way through."
"Wow! Can we say that The House of Silence books were the surprise of the year for me?"
"I think what makes this book and the series of books work is that Jaken takes the time to develop interesting, 3-D characters. The characters are complicated and like real people they have strengths and weaknesses."
"I loved Charon and his boys. Each was well developed, wonderfully flawed, and ultimately likeable. Add an uptight cop, a mysterious patron, and a lonely lord, sprinkle in a few despicable bad guys, and you've got a sexy, intriguing story."
- Reader Reviews (Amazon and Goodreads)
"The mail, my lord." Eli appeared at his side and set a pile of letters on the small end table beside him. "Soup is warming in the kitchen in case you change your mind about dinner."
Ander nodded his thanks and took a sip of his drink as Eli left him alone again. Not for the first time, he wondered what the point of it all was. All of those years sacrificed to learning how to manage the Delacroix lands and affairs, and for what? What did he have to show for it? Just this dusty old house with its echoing, empty halls, and the frozen lands outside. He was alone here now, except for the dogs and his servants. While their loyalty to him was unbreakable, he found their company wearing. They were a reminder of all that his life had become, this silk-lined cage, and all that he'd lost.
He thought about Antoine, his younger brother, who was out and about in the world somewhere, free of these obligations. Antoine had always been a playboy at heart, without the seriousness or dedication required to run their family's affairs. Ander had scorned him for that ever since they were children, thinking him weak, but now he wondered if Antoine hadn't had the right of it all along. What use were lands and prestige if he had no one to share them with? What was the point of any of it?
One of the letters in the pile of correspondence Eli had left for him caught his eye. Turning his head, he pushed the letters on top of it aside to see a dark burgundy envelope with a seal in the shape of a closed eye, the words on it written in gilded gold ink. It was addressed to him -- Lord Ander Delacroix -- with no return address.
He stared at the envelope for a moment, taking another slow sip of his drink. Then he gave in to the pull of curiosity and reached for it, breaking the seal with one finger to pull out the letter inside. It was a single sheet of crisp white parchment on which a simple message had been penned in elegantly scripted calligraphy:
Your presence is requested for an evening of entertainment at the House of Silence.
His initial impulse was to throw the letter into the fire in disgust. He knew what the House of Silence was; a high-class bordello on the Khatar border in which men catered to the fantasies of other men. It was a favored topic of discussion among people of Ander's social class -- for its forbidden nature, for the veil of secrecy that surrounded it, and for the fact that it seemed beyond the reach of the government. The House had earned its name with a reputation that whatever encounters went on inside its walls were never spoken of in the outside world; men of all rankings and social strata were said to be clients there, with no one on the outside being the wiser.
He took another sip of his drink, frowning into the fire.
Why in hell's name would anyone send him an invitation to such a place? He was not the type of man who frequented brothels of any kind; he never had been, not even before his marriage. He'd always been too serious for that, too focused on the demands of his station and upholding the honor of the Delacroix name. His brother, on the other hand.... But no, that was his name on the envelope and no mistake, etched in glistening gold ink.
It wasn't as if he'd never thought about the bordello, especially in his younger years. Any man with blood in his veins who said differently would be a liar. The allure of secrecy, of fantasy, of pandering to one's darkest dreams. The House of Silence was a neutral zone where men could go to indulge in their fantasies and be someone else for a day -- or to be more truly themselves than they could ever be in the normal day-to-day world they inhabited. But he'd never seriously considered....
The image of Sara rose in his mind's eye, and for a moment his hand shook so that he could barely hold onto the letter. But she was nearly eighteen months dead now. It would never have been her wish that he lock himself away inside this house and wait to die; she would want to see him happy, or at the very least at peace. He thought about this silent house with its empty halls, the memories that hung like tattered ghosts throughout every inch of its lands. He wondered how long he would spend wandering these halls before he became a ghost himself... just another memory in the Delacroix family line.
Maybe it wouldn't hurt to be something less than responsible, just this once. To lay aside the burdens of his station and indulge in something for himself.