Shepherd, Slave, and Vow is a fun, quick erotica story about a spoiled royal son that finally meets his match in a slave shepherd. The novella is entertaining and well written with a deft hand that keeps the main narrator from being too insufferable or obnoxious but gives instead a light hearted tone about a bratty, attention seeking man who finally finds someone to give him the “tending” he’s always wanted.
The premise is set up easily with Ferro in slave chains at an auction. His latest act of rebellion has his father sending Ferro to be sold as a slave yet again. Even though Ferro has been through this a dozen times, he doesn’t seem to care about the potential of being sold. Instead of broodily waiting to be collected, Ferro is instead sold along with another slave Lisias. Lisias refuses to answer any of Ferro’s taunts but instead knows how to quickly and effectively tie Ferro and gag him. Caught between hatred for his treatment and curiosity about Lisias, Ferro soon realizes all his antics and smart comments won’t get him anywhere with the handsome tender. Instead, obedience seems to be the trick.
Ferro is the narrator and it’s his sole perspective that the reader gets to see. I would have liked to get inside of Lisias’ head and understand him and his motives. Ferro is a dynamic, attention catching character and well suited as the narrator. His antics could come across as childish or obnoxious without the added benefit of his perspective. Instead Ferro is a kind hearted but very energetic young man. He craves the kind of dominance Lisias offers and is very likely to thrive under it. I’m not so sure Ferro will ever be the kind of animal tender that Lisias tries to say Ferro is at heart, but eh, if the sex is good and plentiful enough I’m sure it’ll all work out.
Gala has written a good story with a lot of hot sex and an interesting background. The ancient fantasy setting combined with Greek mythology gives the story a good basis for the two men to have a lot of D/s orientated sex. It keeps the novella from being straight erotica and adds a deeper complexity to the setting. It simply works well and makes the story that much more enjoyable. Since the short story is at heart erotica, it’s not necessarily one that you’ll remember or spend a lot of time on. However it is one worth the few dollars and minutes of your time as it stands out in a sea of erotica in the genre.