In medieval England, duty is everything, personal honor is more valued than life itself, and homosexuality is not tolerated by the church or society.
Sir Christian Brandon was raised in a household where he was hated for his unusual beauty and for his parentage. Being smaller than his six brutish half-brothers, he learned to survive by using his wits and his gift for strategy, earning him the nickname the Crow.
Sir William Corbett, a large and fierce warrior known as the Lion, has pushed his unnatural desires down all his life. He’s determined to live up to his own ideal of a gallant knight. When he takes up a quest to rescue his sister from her abusive lord of a husband, he’s forced to enlist the help of Sir Christian. It’s a partnership that will test every strand of his moral fiber, and, eventually, his understanding of the meaning of duty, honor, and love.
Christian and William are both sons of nobility and live in a time (Medieval) when the church and society fear homosexuality (while ignoring it if Royalty are involved.) There is absolutely no way these two can be a couple – except that Eli Easton manages to find a beautiful solution to their problem.
The romance is slow to build but hot and tender. Eli is a master at making us fall in love with her characters and given the time period and constraints it was a daunting task but she did it!
I even loved Christian’s wife – yes wife!- and thought that aspect of their lives was really depicted marvelously.
In the end we see our lover with a HEA and …. Well… I’m not so sure why the end needed to go beyond the HEA – I suppose ripping my heart out was a requirement! – but it was beautiful even if I’d wished I’d never read it.
I love this author, she is absolutely gifted in her ability to draw you into a story and immerse you in the POV of her characters. She is never too wordy and chooses her words with the utmost care.
I am NOT a historical romance fan, and I put off reading this for a long time. When it came out on audio and I listened to a sample I just had to have it!
I was not disappointed. The narration coupled with the expert writing are superb. Truly an immersive experience.
The narrator does all kinds of wonderful voices – appropriate to the time and place of the story – and makes you feel like you are watching a movie or something similar. He’s a new narrator to me and I hope to see more from him in the future.
I have to subtract a little bit – one smidge down from perfect – only because I’m not sure I needed the Epilogue with all it’s … completeness. It was very, very touching, but I enjoyed thinking of the lovers in their happy glory and didn’t really need anything else to make me appreciate their love – though it was magnificent.
Blurb: How can an assassin be Prince Belden’s safest choice? When Prince Belden of Nilan’dane picked his husband at the traditional gathering of men, known as The Choosing, he thought he had made a safe decision.
Sent by a mage who plotted the downfall of the royal family of Nilan’dane, Barli was supposed to get close to Bel’s family and then kill them all. However, when Barli looks into the eyes of the vulnerable Prince Belden for the first time, something changes, and he knows he will never be able to do anything that would hurt this man. But how is he ever to confess the truth of why he was at The Choosing when Bel now carries his child?
Barli has to teach Bel that, though he is a prince, submitting to Barli is what he really needs, and what Barli needs, is to believe in Bel’s love.
Review: This is the second book in the Hari series and in it, VCJ tells us Bel’s story. We got a glimpse of the two in the first book but now the story is being told from Barli and Bel’s perspective.
An assassin by trade, Barli is hired to kill the Princes. He infiltrates the Choosing ceremony and ends up falling for and being chosen by one of the Princes. They’re married, have a child and travel to a neighboring kingdom to sign a peace treaty. The characters and events in this book tend to drag just a tiny bit in this book but it was so short that it didn’t at all deflect from my overall enjoyment of the story.
Barli’s character kind of surprised me. Here you have this man who dresses and acts a bit feminine but you realize he does it for survival. Underneath all of those fine frilly women’s clothes is a cold and calculating assassin.
I’m enjoying the series so far and this is surprising since this is so not my category; this medieval fantasy type category. But as I’ve stated in my review of the first in the series, I was pleasantly surprised. The only time flaw is the misunderstanding between Barli and Bel dragged out a little too long but other than that, this story will hold your attention. I really like how everything wasn’t given away in the stories; you’re left wondering what’s going to happen next. As always, her characters are fully formed, the plot is really quite good and her writing style is neat and organized.
I am really looking forward to read Glare’s story.
BLURB: Thinking his duty and heart lead in different directions, what will Prince Korin of Nilan’dane decide to do? A letter arrives from Korin’s father, summoning him home for the Choosing after a year’s freedom in the desert, and Korin must face the fact that he is deeply in love with his best friend, the captain of his guard, Ansen. Ansen has known for years that he loves Korin but never spoke of his feelings because he knew the duty Korin must perform, marrying and producing an heir for the kingdom. He never dared hope Korin would not only return those feelings, but actually be able to choose him. Their brief happiness is ripped apart through the machinations of the twisted brother of one of Korin’s other suitors, and they must fight to hold on to the hope that they will see each other, and the baby Korin was carrying, again.
REVIEW: I will admit that I was not a fan of the medieval type fantasy world and didn’t give this book a second glance when it was first published. It was suggested by a friend that I give it a try. I decided that I would take the time to read this because this particular author has written other books that I’ve enjoyed. That combined with an Mpreg in the storyline really helped pique my interest. I am so glad that I made the decision to read it because I truly enjoyed this book.
Prince Korin is summoned by his father , the King return home to Nilan’dane after spending the year in the desert. It was time for him and his brothers to choose makes that they can live with so that they can produce heirs. It was in the desert that Korin and his guard and childhood best friend Ansen realize their feelings for each other went beyond friendship but They felt they couldn’t be together because of the prince’s obligation to the kingdom. Korin realizes at the last minute that he and Ansen could in fact be together and Korin chooses his best friend and the man he loves, Ansen to be his consort.
Korin becomes pregnant and just when he and Ansen are about to become a family and live their lives, the prince is kidnapped and held captive by the brother of a rejected suitor. I must say that this story was a delightful surprise. As usual this author puts her clean writing style on display for us. She is able to, and quite successfully I might add, to write multiple characters with multiple points of views and do it as such a way as to not confuse the reader. She transitions perfectly from one character to the next. This is made easier by alerting the reader at the beginning of each chapter exactly which character we are reading about. The author brilliantly created a cast of characters that held my attention from the first word on the first page to the last. I would definitely recommend this book and I am excited to see how these wonderful characters play out.
In eighteenth-century Egypt, falcon shifter Con’s parents died attempting to keep powerful, ancient scrolls out of the hands of a monster. Now it falls to Con to keep the scrolls hidden and lead the hunter away so their sacrifice isn’t for nothing. But he isn’t quite fast enough, and he finds himself helpless in an unfamiliar English countryside village. That is, until a beautiful man with a limp carries Con to his manor to tend to his wounds.
As an alpha wolf, Quincy’s compassion is not valued by his pack, which leads him to nurse the falcon in secret. A bond quickly forms between Quincy and the mysterious raptor, so he’s concerned at Con’s reaction to the arrival of another visitor, the Countess Blackburn.
(From previous site)
Quincy is a werewolf who is the guardian for his pack. He cannot shift and hunt with the pack because he was born with a bum leg, but he stands sentry and watches for danger. He has a soft spot for injured wild life (despite the pack’s view that this is a weakness) and finds and rehabs an injured falcon one day.
The falcon is really Con, a shifter himself, who guards scrolls that hold the secret for destroying all shifters. Con is on the run, injured by hunters who work for an evil witch. The witch wishes to rid the earth of shifters. Con realizes that Quincy is more than just a helpful wolf shifter, he might be his Mate.
Instead of flying away when his wing heals, Con shifts to human and tells Quincy of the danger headed his way. The witch who hunts Con is going to try to infiltrate Quincy’s pack and destroy it from the inside.
Though Quincy’s pack is reluctant to trust a stranger, they prepare for a confrontation. When the witch shows up she shows her true colors, Con is appreciated and war is waged. By this time, Quincy and Con realize they are Mates, despite all the odds against a mixed mating, and don’t want to be apart.
Quincy’s Alpha cannot admit Con into the pack and Quincy must choose between Con and the Pack. Quincy, of course, chooses Con and the two travel across the ocean to search for other lost or packless shifters. Together, with the help of another lone shifter, they start the shifter-town Haven, which is featured in the previous books of this series.
This is an absolutely lovely origins story for this shifter series by MD Grimm. I have not read the earlier books, but now I’m going to. The author’s style is fluid and fanciful. She stays true to the historical aspect and theme of this story and yet doesn’t bog the storyline down with needless details just to prove she knows her history.
The love between Con and Quincy is so sweet it’s almost painful. They are both so lonely (for differing reasons) and never thought they’d find love, so they treasure their relationship that much more. The tension between the Pack and the witch, the witch and Con, Con and the Pack, etcetera, is done very well. It is both exciting and realistic and acts to sort of make a statement about forgiveness and acceptance and diversity.
I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the earlier parts of the series
I highly recommend this book and give it a 5 of 5 hearts.
Called before the new king, Laird Artúr was shocked to see his old lover walking through the door. His anger ignites when the king commands them to mate and fortify his borders to the north. He is heartbroken when he discovers that his new mate has no recollection of their time together. Can he forgive Dainéal and let go of the past to build a future or will his resentment end what they could have before it begins?
Laird Dainéal balks at being commanded to mate, especially to a man he knows has to be insane. Despite how much Artúr insists that they have met before, Dainéal has no memory of the man. And he would have remembered a man that was so sexy he made Dainéal’s teeth ache.
Commanded by their king to establish a stronghold to the north, Artúr and Dainéal have to fight not only their past but those that want to keep them from their future. When betrayal comes from within, the bond between them may be the only thing that saves them.
Book Two: Eastern Embrace
By the King’s Command… Daimyo Akihiro Shimada didn’t have the hatred for humans that many of his kind did. It was a known fact that humans were weak. Every dragon knew that. When the king commands him to take a human as a mate, Akihiro is instantly smitten with Isei but fully aware that he must treat his mate with gentle care, even if his gut instincts say otherwise. Isei Hironaka is a second son. He has no chance of ever being anything more than he is until he is forced to impersonate his brother at the King’s coronation ceremony. When the new king orders him to mate with a dragon, Isei is positive his ruse will be discovered. Mating to strengthen the bond between clan and clutch is one thing. Staying mated is an all together different story, especially when those around Akihiro and Isei believe dragons and humans have no business falling in love and they will do everything within their power to keep them apart.
Book Three: Southern Heat
By the King’s Command…
Diego de la Vega is quite pleased with the king’s command to mate the dragon leader, Xavier Rodriquez. The man’s strength and bravery in battle were legendary, as were the scars that marred his massive body. But there is a vast distance between admiration and love, and despite Diego’s efforts, he’s not sure the two of them can find a middle ground.
Xavier Rodriquez is a man used to the rigors of battle and being alone to lick his wounds. Experience has taught him that the scars littering his body would disgust even the most indiscriminant of lovers. When Diego says he sees them as symbols of valor, Xavier is skeptical, growing even more so when Diego’s gorgeous ex- lover appears, claiming to want Diego back.
Trust is not an easy thing and neither is accepting a mate with all their faults. Stubbornness and the need to protect their hearts might be more dangerous to their mating than the mysterious foe bent on stealing their territory, and maybe even their lives.
Book Four: Wicked West
By the King’s Command…
Prince Grigory Krayev is thrilled when the king mates him to a handsome dragon prince. His excitement quickly turns to uncertainty when he learns there are two of them. How could he ever hope to please two dragons that didn’t need him when they had each other?
Prince Konstantin Victorovich is angered when the king orders him to mate a human. He already has a lover. He doesn’t need another one. When he discovers just who the king wants to mate him to, Konstantin realizes he might have to rethink his objection.
Prince Mikhail Dubolazov has loved Konstantin for years, serving the man faithfully as his manservant just to be at his side. When the king orders Konstantin to mate, Mikhail sees his life slipping away. Even when his status is elevated to that of a prince, Mikhail worries he will never have what it takes to keep them.
When forces beyond their control threaten all they hold dear, they will need more than trust to keep them together. They will need the belief that only by standing with each other do they have a chance of beating a foe that works in the shadows.
Book Five: Mate Challenge
By the King’s Command…
When the high council orders a mate challenge in his name, King Críostóir is furious. There is only one dragon he wants as his mate. But in order to have the man he’s loved for years, he’ll need to enter his own mate challenge as one of the contestants.
Trust doesn’t come easy for Kurgan. Only one man has ever held his loyalty. When a mate challenge is ordered, Kurgan is enraged until he arrives and discovers one of the contestants is the man he has had an on-again, off-again affair with, and then he is enraged. If he beats his lover then he becomes the king’s consort. If he loses, he loses the man he loves.
When an attack comes and the mate challenge canceled, the truth King Críostóir has kept from Kurgan for over twenty years is revealed. Despite the betrayal burning in Kurgan’s eyes, King Críostóir must depend on the dragon to help him save his kingdom and hope Kurgan will listen to him if they survive
This is one of those “guilty pleasure” book series.
First, know that in each book the king pairs a human with a dragon (or two) and there is initially disgust by one or both at the pairing with another species. Second, the general theme of hate, insta-love, problem/separation, reunion is the same in all 5 books. Third, there are some pretty fun “differences” between human anatomy and dragon anatomy. Fourth, everyone ends up pregnant at some point.
That being said – this is a GREAT series. I LOVED it. The writing pair of Stormy Glenn and Olivia Black is an excellent one. Stormy (I think) tempers some of Olivia’s darker tendencies and Olivia seems to add some grounding to Stormy’s more fantastical nature. Both are great at hot male on male romance and so, so creative!
In book one the world is set up – sort of Medieval with a twist – where the King is magical and is protecting his boundaries by pairing up humans and dragon-shifters so that all the beings in the area will be on the same “side”. When the King mates the couple they have 24 hours to bond then they must go to their home to present a united front to their “subjects”. In this case the couple has previously met but there was a big misunderstanding and now they must see if they can find that love again.
In book two the human is not the actual leader of his people, but a stand in for his brother. He ends up being mated to the dragon and therefore the new leader by default – even though he is quite small and timid. It’s this timidity that makes his new dragon keep him sequestered away (at the advice of the evil midwife) which ultimately leads him to believe he is not good for anything and thus gets him almost killed. (This is my favorite of the series!)
Book three has a scarred battle hero mated with a gorgeous man whom the dragon has been admiring from afar for years. The dragon believes himself to be too ugly for love and the human has to show the dragon that love is more than skin-deep.
Book four is the first (and only?) menage in the series. A pair of lovers (dragons) must bond with a human. In order for the royal dragon to have his lover of many years become his mate, he must become royalty. The King makes the dragon commoner a prince, then binds the pair of dragons with a human prince. Of course the human feels like an outsider and the struggle here is for all three to accept their new roles and to truly believe that all three are necessary for the relationship to work. (This was the weakest of the series IMHO.)
Book five (hopefully not the last) is the King himself becoming mated to save the throne from being taken over. The King disguises himself as a competitor for his own hand in marriage and pairs himself with the lover he’s had over the years but never in public. When the competition gets called off after an attack, the King reveals himself to his lover and now must face whether or not his lover can accept his true status.
If you are a fan of shifter/insta-love/medieval type fantasy with dragons, sword fights, male pregnancy and lots and lots of sentimentality – this is the series for you. It’s very well written, well edited and though it does follow a similar trajectory in each book, there is enough of a difference to make each book well worth the read.
I highly recommend the series and give it 4.5 of 5 hearts