Blog Tour + Giveaway: Of Our Own Device by M.K. South

Welcome author M.K. South and IndiGo Marketing as they visit today on the Of Our Own Device blog tour! Don't miss the exclusive, book trailer and giveaway! The author is giving away 5 copies of Of Our Own Device!

See our 4.5 <3 review HERE

Title: Of Our Own Device
Author: M.K. South
Publisher: BookBaby
Release Date: March 2017
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 874 pages
Genre: Thriller/Suspense, Historical spy thriller

Add to Goodreads


What do you do when you realize that the American Dream you've been working for so hard is not enough if it will be yours and yours alone? And that what you're told to do will destroy the only true friend you've ever had?

Summer of 1985. Jack Smith is a rookie CIA case officer posted at the American Embassy in Moscow. Despite his gregarious nature, Jack is a lonely man: not only is he a reluctant spy, he is also gay. When he meets Eton Volkonsky, a talented nuclear physics student, Jack's bosses instruct him to develop the Russian as a future agent. Their friendship deepens, and Jack is torn between his suspicion that Eton and friends are with the KGB and his attraction to the man. But he continues telling himself and his bosses that he is just doing his job, developing his agent. Only when he leaves Russia does Jack admit that he has been fooling himself all the while. He takes on assignments in various countries, with a hope that eventually they will get him back to Moscow.

As introspection and growing doubts about what he does for living torment Jack, the world is buffeted by a whirlwind of dramatic events – diplomatic and spy wars, the rise of AIDS, the Chernobyl catastrophe, the war in Afghanistan and the disintegration of the communist bloc.

They meet again and Jack is given a second chance. Will he make the right decision this time round?

 Author Visit

Hello! It’s me, MK South, again. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to stop by and share yet another excerpt from my novel Of Our Own Device. This one takes place in Afghanistan, on one of Jack Smith’s assignments, when the US was still teaming up the Afghan mujahidin against the Soviets (sounds familiar? History repeats itself, uh?) But the excerpt isn’t about that. It’s about a practice in that part of the world that not too many people heard about, and which survives to these days – bacha bazi. You can Google it after reading the excerpt. I hadn’t known about it till I was researching the place and period for my book, and I just had to include it in my story.

Not a Threat to Our Security
The guest room hujra was a typical rectangular chamber, unfurnished, carpeted wall to wall with thick but well-worn rugs. Oil lamps on the floor and on the walls cast a dim light on the gathering of two dozen bearded men sitting on the floor. In the center, a white cloth was laid out, covered with large plates overflowing with grilled meat kebabs, naan bread, palau rice, dry fruits and nuts—an abundance of food Jack hadnt seen on this side of the border. Hash pipes and tea were served by four boys, aged eleven to sixteen, all dressed in traditional shalwar kameez, but in bright colors atypical for Afghans—crimson, pink, pale blue and mauve.
The host, Jalil Haq, invited Jack and the Pakistanis to sit next to him. As they settled down on the cushions, a boy approached Jack with a copper bowl and an elaborate ceramic pot. His crimson kameez heightened the fairness of his skin, and his eyes under thick, jet-black lashes were light, vivid green. The boy dropped his gaze when he saw Jack eyeing him and turned to the guest sitting next to him, offering him to wash his hands.
As the dinner progressed, and the guests got looser from hash, Jack noticed that the men were paying more attention to the boys—looked at them sideways, whispering and giggling. He smothered a surge of distaste, wishing for the dinner to end soon. An hour had passed before the village elders praised god, thanked the host and prepared to leave. Jack stood up, said his thanks, turning down the invitation to stay, and followed the elders out.
In the mud brick guesthouse across the yard where he was to spend the night, Jack pulled out his lightweight sleeping bag, rolled it out along the wall and lay down on top of it. It was one of the nights when he felt restless, struggling to keep his mind from venturing back to the time and place he tried not to think of too often. Especially not on trips like this where there was no alcohol to ease him to sleep.
Faint sounds of music reached him: someone was singing, accompanied by a dutar, a local two-string lute. When the song ended, and the singer started a new tune, Jack got up, put on his jacket and stepped out into the courtyard.
The autumn night was clear and crisp, the moon just off its fullest. Jack lit a cigarette, breathed in a lungful of cigarette smoke, fresh mountain air laced with smells of cattle, manure and dry earth, and leaned against the mud wall. There was not a sound around, except for the singing, clearer now, coming from the hujra in the main house. Its small window into the courtyard was open a crack, a string of light slipping through the drawn curtains.
Jack strained to listen.
His bodys so soft, his lips so tender Oh boy, you set your lover on fire, a young voice sang.
Did he get it right? No, it couldnt be. Women were the lowliest class of citizens here, no more than domestic slaves. These people didnt even have brothels.
He crossed the courtyard in a dozen quiet steps and peeked in through the thin gap between the curtains.
The guests who had stayed back were still sitting around the perimeter of the room, but the white centerpiece had been cleared. A slender figure wearing a short jacket trimmed in gold tassels over a bright orange dress was swirling in the middle of the room. A darker orange silk scarf covered the face and neck, little bells around the cuffs and ankles jingling to the rhythm of the song. A woman?! How in the hell could it be?
Right then, the dancer made one final swirl to the music, dropped gracefully to her knees, facing the window, and brushed the scarf off her face with a flirtatious sweep of a hand.
Jack gulped.
It was the boy with piercing green eyes, Omar. Wearing a dress, eye shadow and lipstick, he looked like a girl. A man sitting right under the window rose, took a couple of steps toward the boy, and squatted down next to him. Jalil. The mujahedin commander pulled the white cloth off his shoulder and patted the sweat off the boys face. Then he stroked his face and murmured something to him. Omar smiled weakly and dropped his gaze bashfully. The men around the room made guttural approving sounds, one even clapped.
Jack stepped back, took the last, gut-deep drag on his half-burnt cigarette and returned to his room. It was downright creepy, but he could see why. As dictated by their religion, men couldnt have women joining them at their gatherings, so they had boys dressed up like girls instead.
Dancing girls…
No, he didnt care to know more. He had his orders: whatever happened amongst locals, if it wasnt a threat to the United States security, it was none of their business. Jack turned the kerosene lamp low, climbed into the sleeping bag, closed his eyes, and willed himself to sleep.
He was awakened by voices arguing somewhere nearby. In the courtyard, he figured, shrugging off shreds of uneasy sleep. The argument was about… who was taking someone home tonight. The going rate appeared to be two goats, a brand-new Egyptian AK folding rifle and one hundred American dollars; the arbiter was the host. And then someone dropped the name of the barter: Omar.
Jack shivered in disgust, sickened to the core. Were these people for fucking real?! Wasnt this a place where the Holy Koran ruled? This couldnt be! But then the little show in the house hadnt looked like it had all been dreamt up by Jalil Haq: the boys who served them at the dinner had looked like theyd been doing it all their lives, and Omar, hed definitely been trained to dance.
This is sick!
And why the fuck had they never been briefed about this, neither at the Farm, nor in Islamabad? Surely they must know about this revolting shit going on here. Joe Coburn definitely should. And what had he told Jack instead?
Not to interfere in any dispute between the locals because it was none of their business.
Yeah, right… Fuck you, Joe! Fuck you all, you sonsuvbitches!!
He ripped his sleeping bag open in one furious sweep, jumped up, and stormed out into the courtyard in his socks.
Five hundred American dollars! he growled, barely reigning in the contempt he felt.
The men turned to stare at him in stunned silence. The host recovered first, and launched into an elaborate speech: the rules of hospitality dictated that the boy must be given as a gift to the esteemed guest, if Jack wished to have the boy for the night. He pushed Omar towards Jack. But then, the man continued, if the guest insisted, he couldnt possibly refuse the five hundred dollars—a generous gift from the honorable guest of the house.
Jack insisted. It was more than half of the travel money” he had on him, but it didnt matter. What mattered was that the boy was freed from these dirty old men tonight. And hed figure later what to do next.
Jack waved Omar into his quarters, flicked his lighter up, and waited patiently for the boy to take off his plastic sandals before stepping in gingerly. Then he walked in, turned up the storm-light and closed the door.
There were muted sounds of an agitated conversation in the courtyard as Jalil Haq tried to appease his other guests. Then the flimsy wooden gate in the mud wall creaked open, praises to god and to the host were said, and everything went quiet.
Jack pointed to the stack of blankets and pillows piled up high against the wall and told Omar to turn the lamp down when he was ready to sleep. Then he dragged his sleeping bag to the door, placed it right next to it, and climbed in.
Am I not going to sleep with burra sahib tonight? the boy asked timidly, calling Jack big, important man.
Jack groaned inside. No, Omar. You will sleep there and I sleep here.” There was a long pause, then Omar whispered, Am I not pleasing to burra sahib? He sounded upset. Im the best dancer in the province. I look good… do I not?
Jack blew out an exasperated sigh and sat up. Listen, Omar. It is not about you. Yes, you are a great dancer, and I like you. But I dont sleep with boys. Not with underage boys that was for sure! It is not right. You must… go to school, not do this Jack bit his tongue. Easy for him to preach, but the poor kid had no say in what happened to him in this life. Like most everybody in this goddamn country.
I plan to, when Im eighteen and have lots of money But now Im in big trouble. Omar said flatly, and lay down, pulling the blanket up to his chin. Why? What happen?
Everybody wanted me to go home with them, but burra sahib asked for me as a gift. They will be angry now. Nobody will want to have me anymore.Seeing Jacks puzzled expression, the boy explained, They will think I slept with… eh, an infidel. Please forgive me for saying, burra sahib They may even kill me when you have gone.
You are joking!The boy was clearly not joking. No, Im not joking. Im sad.
Shit. What now?
Jack got up, stepped up the place where Omar was lying by the pile of blankets and pillows, wrapped in an old, heavy quilt.
The boy raised his head. Burra sahib is going to get me?
Jack clenched his jaw. No, Omar. I take blankets, my bed and sleep outside by the door. And nobody thinks that you slept with infidel.
But burra sahib cant sleep outside the door like a dog! Omar sprang up, sounding worried now. Agah sahib will kill me when he learns!
Nobody kills you, Omar. Nobody. I promise. You go to sleep, boy. Jack stepped out with two armfuls of bedding and shut the door firmly behind him.
The next day, for one of Jacks two cameras and three hundred dollars, leaving him with just fifty bucks for the way back, Jalil Haq let Omar go with him.
He didnt have a plan but couldnt leave the boy behind after what hed heard and seen. And definitely not after what Omar had confided to him in quiet, emotionless voice of what was awaiting him after Jack was gone.
However, he had to leave the boy at a refugee camp near the Pakistani border. Omar had no papers, and Jack didnt have enough money left to bribe his way through. He promised to come back with papers for Omar and put him up in Islamabad at one of the NGO-run centers for Afghan refugees. The green- eyed boy smiled at him, said he would wait and pray for burra sahib every day, because burra sahib was the best owner he’’ ever had, and he wanted to serve burra sahib even after he turned eighteen and grew a beard. And he would do anything for burra sahib, anything he wanted.
When Jack returned with papers three weeks later, Omar was gone. He was told that the boys uncle had come and taken him home up north. When Jack pressed for the uncles name, he was told that his name was Rahim Ershadi. Jack thanked the head of the camp, apologized for all the trouble, and left, feeling deeply disappointed, furious and helpless at the same time.
Rahim Ershadi was the name of Jalil Haqs second in command

Don't miss the book's trailer below:

Purchase at Amazon

Meet the Author

M.K. South has worked in international finance and development for over 25 years, living in or traveling to many countries including the ones featured in this debut novel. Currently, M.K. works in Ukraine and continues globetrotting, for work and to experience the world.

"I was born a vagabond," says M.K., "in a snow-clad little place thousands miles way from the sun-drenched city on the Black Sea my mother called home. I then lived, studied and worked in other countries, poor, aspiring and rich. I've experienced poverty and war, as well as peace and prosperity, and I've learned that you don't fully appreciate the latter, unless you've known the former. Today, I'm still living in a foreign country, working in several others in the region, and traveling yet to others because... I just can't get wanderlust out of my DNA."

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | eMail

Tour Schedule


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Button 2

No comments:

Post a Comment