The Bargain, by Jess Mahler, is a fantasy thriller set in a world where fae, powered by pain-fed magic, rule over the humans they once conquered.
For Mattin, it was a straightforward sacrifice to save his sister. For Countess Jahlene, another political gambit to protect her family. For both of them, it became something they never expected.
The Bargain was previously released as Glamourhai, this is an updated and enhanced edition.
In keeping with Cuil Press’ commitment to releasing inclusive and #ownvoices fiction, The Bargain does not have your typical fantasy cast and Mattin is not the typical fantasy hero. Jess Mahler is a polyamorous, kinky, non-binary, bisexual with PTSD who openly admits to not understanding romance. Her personal struggle to understand relationships and family while embracing who she is shows in Mattin’s struggle to come to terms with the very different approach to love and family he finds with Jahlene. Jess won’t say whether or not Jahlene has PTSD but does say:
“I started this story wanting to explore what it means to be family, and I did. But without realizing it, I also explored how trauma shapes us and how we heal from it. Jahlene’s trauma is the most obvious, but most of the characters in The Bargain are struggling with trauma in some way. How healthy their responses are… you’ll need to decide for yourself.”