Nine of Swords, Reversed is a romance novelette by Xan West.
Cover by Laya Rose.
Dev has been with xyr service submissive Noam for seven years and xe loves them very much. Dev and Noam have built a good life together in Noam’s family home in Oakland, where they both can practice their magecraft, celebrate the high holidays in comfort, support each other as their disabilities flare, and where Noam can spend Shabbos with their beloved family ghost.
But Dev’s got a problem: xe has had so much arthritis pain recently that xe has not been able to shield properly. As an empath, no shielding means Dev cannot safely touch Noam. That has put a strain on their relationship, and it feels like Noam is pulling away from xym. To top it off, Dev has just had an upsetting dream-vision about xyrself and Noam that caused one of the biggest meltdowns xe has had in a while. It’s only with a timely tarot reading and the help of another genderfluid mage that Dev is able to unpack the situation. Can xe figure out how to address the issues in xyr relationship with Noam before everything falls apart?
This romance novelette includes Jewish queer genderfluid mage MCs, the couple on the rocks trope, and fat, autistic, disabled, chronic pain, PTSD and depression representation.
The story notes for this book can be found here.
Related Blog Posts:
- Cover reveal and excerpt at LGBTQReads!
- Post at Small Queer, Big Opinions: Where Food Meets Romance
- Post on Kink Praxis about the D/s relationship in the book, and writing non-sexual kink
- Interview on Queering Up Your Bookshelf
- Interview about the tarot elements of the story on Noel Heimpel’s Patreon
- Another excerpt on Queer Books Unbound!
Praise for Nine of Swords, Reversed
“I adored the vulnerability and nuance to Dev and Noam’s D/s relationship and how they both support each other” —Alex Harrow
“an #ownvoices story written from a place of deep caring, addressing the kind of nuances in relationships between disabled people that an able-bodied author would never be able to fathom. A lot of autistic romance fans will enjoy it very much.” –Ada Hoffman, Autistic Book Party
“I loved this piece from Xan West. They are a genius of their craft and somehow always manage to scoop up my heart and squeeze in the best of ways.” —Small Queer, Big Opinions
“‘Nine of Swords, Reversed’ is fantastic, and I’ve never read another narrative like it…The story is entirely clear, yet I felt in constant motion from reading it; it was phenomenal—maybe phenomenological.”–Wotgermaine
“This novella is such a genuine and honest look at a very tender relationship, and I am glad this is my first book of the year.” —Mehek Naresh
“All the characters are well-drawn and empathetic, and I enjoyed spending time in this story and seeing how it resolves. It’s a warm and uplifting tale, satisfying and sweet.” —A. Merc Rustad
“There is a feeling when you read good representation of yourself. ‘Other people feel this, too.’ Or sometimes, ‘Who looked inside my head and wrote down what I was thinking?’ This is what I felt when reading Xan West’s Nine of Swords, Reversed.” —Liminal Nest
“very sweet comfortfic about two genderfluid individuals in a D/s relationship navigating their relationship. Amazing portrayal of disability and coping and self soothing. Something I didn’t know I needed until I read it.” —Psygeek
“I loved the glimpse in an established relationship with patterns and learned knowledge of each other. I greatly appreciate reading about the interactions of disability and kink and how there were some complications xe’d already solved and some that xe worked out over the story. As someone working on those issues myself, I found both xyr solutions and the ways xe used to find them valuable to hear.” —Lauren
“The balm I didn’t know I needed for my genderfluid, dominant yet traumatized, chronically in pain self. Even just thinking about the existence of this work is a reassurance and a comfort.” —Ana
- Depicts an autistic meltdown.
- Depicts MCs dealing with chronic pain. Describes the internal experience of chronic pain and brain fog.
- Several references to an emotionally abusive ex, including some details of ableist abuse, gender policing and transmisogyny targeting a non-binary character.
- Both MCs are trauma survivors, and trauma is referenced as part of what an MC is dealing with.
- MC is grappling with internalized ableism and toxic masculinity and the ways they are intertwined with trauma. This is central to the story.
- MC’s younger brother died many years ago, his ghost is referenced multiple times in the story. References to malevolent ghosts.
- References to and a description of a disturbing dream-vision of partner’s death.
- Use of the terms “queer” and “faggot” as reclaimed slurs.
- Depicts consensual kink including D/s and in particular, service-based submission.
- References pain play, but does not depict it.