Rating: 4 stars out of 5
This story was written as a part of the M/M Romance Group’s “Love is an Open Road” event. Group members were asked to write a story prompt inspired by a photo of their choice. Authors of the group selected a photo and prompt that spoke to them and wrote a short story.
Prompt: Dear Author,
He stood, head bowed, body tense, waiting. No matter what happened next, his life would never be the same…
Please give this man his life changing event, whatever that may be, as long as he ends up with his HEA/HFN by the end. Thank you, Aislinn
This story reads rather like a fable or a dark fairy tale. It’s set in a fascinating dystopian world where those convicted of a crime are taken from the city, across the Reach and pitched over a cliff into the Downs where they are told they are being given to the demons for their pleasure.
Nicely done world building. The story begins with a Entian, a criminal who has been wrongly judged then carted across the desert, brutalized and thrown down a cliff, supposedly to the demons. However, he wakes instead to tender care at the hands of the gentle, scarred giant named Rig. Both of the main characters were intriguing. Although he hadn’t deserved what he got, Entian hadn’t been at all an innocent saint in his previous life. And Rig with his sad past and big, sweet bear personality is lovely. Both of their backstories are very developed for a story of this length.
This story had many elements I enjoy: dark, dystopian, hurt/comfort, scarred/broken characters, and a sweet love story. There is action but for the most part it moves at a steady pace that lets us sink gently into the world and the relationship.
This isn’t only a romance, but a fable-like tale of betrayal, second chances, and vengeance. Little truths sneak out from its pages. Like for example how sometimes it’s the unfortunate events that brings us to the exact place where we find what it is we most needed all along. But Entian’s determined desire for revenge even after he’d created a life with Rig was the one sour note in the story for me. I did end up liking how it played out though. So overall a great story with a sweet and fitting end.
The cover is lovely and uses the actual prompt photograph from the m/m romance group which inspired the story!