Author: Alexis Duran
Release Date: August 30th 2016
Genre: MM Romance, Fantasy
Born the useless fourth son of the Lord of Glimmerveen, Wryler dreams of getting married and escaping the rustic confines of his father's castle. A wealthy merchant's son seems to hold the key to Wryler's safe if somewhat dreary future. However, the arrival of a mysterious stranger on the eve of Wryler's betrothal sends his plans into disarray and Wryler finds himself traded off in marriage to one of the most notorious rogues in the land.
Is Lord Aeric Rouchet the scoundrel he appears to be, or is he something much worse? Separated from his family and thrust into a strange and dangerous new life at the foreboding Gryffon Hall, Wryler must unravel the secret of his husband's shadowed life and defeat the curse which threatens not only his growing affection for the barbarian in his bed, but the lives of everyone the Lord of Gryffon Hall is sworn to protect.
Wryler squinted up at a velvet sky recently cleared of clouds. It would be a good night for peering through his telescope, if only the stars would stop swarming about so.
"Lovely night after so much rain."
Wryler lowered his chin and stood up straight. The voice came from the shadows toward the stables, followed by the sloshing of boots through puddles. With a few more strides Aeric Rouchet emerged from the gloom, that damnable grin on his face.
"Yes. Quite," Wryler said, "The dining hall got so hot."
"It did, didn't it?" Rouchet kept walking, and Wryler feared the man might plow straight into him. He braced himself for impact, but Rouchet stopped a few inches shy of contact. "The fresh air is bracing, but it hasn't done much to cool the flush in your cheeks."
"It's a curse. The blushing," Wryler said, and damn if his blood didn't flame even hotter.
"I find it quite becoming." Rouchet rested his palm against the wall next to Wryler's head and leaned in. "Is it only the quest for fresh air that keeps you from your comfy bed, Sir Wryler?"
"Yes. What else would it…would I…?"
"Oh, I don't know. I noticed the young Mr. Arsburry giving you the eye all night."
"Him?" Wryler snorted. "There's nothing going on between us, I assure you."
"Glad to hear it. I thought perhaps you were looking for company."
"I weren't. I wasn't." Accursed wine!
"But now?" Rouchet placed a finger under Wryler's chin and lifted it slightly. His looming presence enveloped Wryler in warmth and the smell of leather. Rouchet blocked out the sky, the stars replaced by his gleaming eyes. Wryler shrank back against the wall. He wasn't being held in place, but he might as well have been. He couldn't move and didn't much want to.
Rouchet swooped in for a kiss, his wine-moistened lips covering and consuming Wryler's. He was surprisingly gentle, this barbarian, his tongue easing into Wryler's mouth slowly but firmly.
What's happening? What's going on here, exactly? Men other than Lennox had kissed Wryler. Large, rough men. Stable hands. Traveling knights. Many had attempted to steal more than a kiss, and while pleasant, Wryler wasn't often tempted for more. But now, now he sensed Rouchet hesitating, waiting for a sign from Wryler, for permission to unleash the lust he obviously held back.
This really isn't acceptable behavior. But Rouchet would soon be gone, and they'd never see each other again. What harm could come of a little kiss?
Wryler responded, pushing back with his tongue, his body arching against Rouchet's.
Rouchet growled and plunged in harder, driving Wryler against the wall. A cascade of tiny explosions fired beneath Wryler's skin, and he was instantly and embarrassingly hard. It had never been like this with Lennox. Wryler always required coaxing and coercing. Now he felt as if he could be the one in charge, tearing at Rouchet's clothing and demanding to taste every inch of the lord's enormous body.
Wryler kept his hands by his sides and balled into fists, not trusting himself to touch Rouchet with more than lips.
Rouchet had no such restraint and ran one large hand down Wryler's back all the way to his buttocks, which he squeezed hard. Wryler gasped, and Rouchet seized him with both hands and pulled him in tight, crushing Wryler's poor swollen cock against his unyielding thigh. The pressure felt too good. Wryler wanted to climb Rouchet, to mount this monster of a man and ride him like….like… Words fled him as he cried out for this unexpected delight.
Rouchet broke out of the kiss but kept his mouth close to Wryler's ear.
"My dear Wryler, thank you for your answer, but I fear if I keep at it I won't be able to stop."
"You're drunk, and although appearances may suggest otherwise, I am nothing if not a gentleman."
"I am not!" Wryler insisted, weaving as Rouchet released him.
"Sweetly, deliciously drunk." Rouchet ran a finger along Wryler's jaw, then stepped back and bowed. "A good night to you, Sir Wryler, and may you arrive safely at your rooms. I'd escort you, but I'm afraid I'm more the monster in the shadows this night than the knight by your side." He sighed deeply. "No, I'm afraid I'm more likely to sling you over my shoulder and carry you to my bed than see you safely tucked away in your own."
"I wouldn't mind," Wryler said. "Not much anyway."
"You're too kind." Rouchet bowed again. "Sleep well." He turned and stalked off into the night, vanishing as suddenly as he'd appeared.
*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie in exchange for a fair and honest review. ***
Wryler, as the fourth son of the Lord of Glimmerveen, doesn't have much of a choice when his father decides that instead of marrying him off to the son of a wealthy merchant, he will now marry Lord Aeric Rouchet and be sent off to Gryffon Hall to wed and live with his new husband. His attraction to the mysterious Lord and the gruesome tales that he's heard of what happens in the forest that is near Gryffon Hall, make him wary of his husband's intentions. When Wryler discovers Aeric's secret, his actions set up a chain of events that might put their lives and Gryffon Hall at risk.
I love fairytales and this book is a blend of several that I grew up reading. Aeric was a fantastic character, dashing and strong and mysterious all wrapped in a delicious package. Wryler was a bit less likable, a bit flighty for my taste and I wanted to slap some sense into him more than a couple of times, but he actually showed a lot of growth in the last half of the book, so I ended up liking him more.
While I enjoyed the book, I felt like it would've benefitted from one or two extra chapters in between the last two chapters, as it was it felt as too rushed and incomplete.
Other than that, this was a lovely book, well-written, fast-paced, with very hot scenes and a compelling storyline. Recommendable!
Rating: 4 Stars!!!
Giveaway: Win a ebook copy of To Catch a Threeve by Alexis Duran and a $10 Loose ID gift carda Rafflecopter giveaway
Alexis Duran bio
Alexis Duran was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. At the University of Oregon, her fascination with people and relationships led her to major in Sociology, but her main love has always been creative writing. She's worked in museums, finance, film production and for several performing arts organizations. Her favorite job so far has been inventorying the collection of a haunted Victorian Mansion. She is the author of the Masters and Mages and Edge of Night m/m fantasy series as well as several stand-alone romances. Her fiction has won several awards including the Rupert Hughes Award from the Maui Writers Conference and First Runner Up from Love Romances Cafe. She lives with one dog and four and a half cats. She is always working on the next novel and has several new ideas brewing at all times.
You can connect with Alexis at www.alexisduranblog.com, http://twitter.com/AlexisSDuran. http://www.facebook.com/alexis.duran.18294 and https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8332457.Alexis_Duran