On his way home from the market, beautiful and shy Alen is accosted by local ruffians who try to take advantage of his innocence. When Alen attempts to defend his virtue, the situation takes a turn for the worse and he accidentally slays one of the men. Now he faces the mockery that is the town's justice. The penalty for murder: a slow, painful death upon the altar of the mighty god of fire. Alen's sentence is gleefully announced by the village priest, a loathsome man who promises deliverance if only the lovely boy will submit to depraved pleasures.
But Alen has a secret, one to which he desperately clings even though it may cost him his life. For many years, Alen has watched the flames dance in his mother's hearth, the mystery that dwells in the bright glow alleviating his loneliness and offering endless fascination. When the time comes to face his destiny upon the pyre, Alen hopes that the fire's magical embrace might hold the key to his salvation. But will the flames herald his destruction even as all of his prayers are answered?
A Bittersweet Dreams title: It's an unfortunate truth: love doesn't always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.