Rating: 5 stars out of 5 ★★★★★
A sickly man seeks recovery in a seaside cottage.
A temple slave tends a man due to be sacrificed.
A soldier releases a genie.
In seven fantasy short stories and novellas, men find passion with other men in the most unexpected places, and even the gravest circumstances may open the door to hope and love.
This anthology includes two brand-new short stories. In “The Sacrifice,” Rylo is a temple slave tasked with comforting a man who is scheduled to be killed in the morning. In “Chasing Away Cold,” Daku builds an ice sculpture of the god Jarli in order to ensure the end of winter. The collection also includes three novellas and two additional short stories, gathered for the first time in a single volume. “Treasure” introduces Jules, a young man who travels to the quirky seaside town of Urchin Cove to regain his health—and finds an unexpected treasure washed up on the beach. Xolani, a soldier in “Three Wishes,” picks up a small glass bottle and unleashes a surprise. Another soldier, Volos in “Guarded,” will risk everything to save Prince Berhanu. In the sequel, “Mato’s Tale,” an unassuming innkeeper gets a chance for adventure. And in “The Downs,” Enitan is unjustly banished and comes to discover that the demons he must face aren’t the ones he expected.
Join Kim Fielding on journeys through imagined worlds where magic is commonplace and romance lies just around the next bend. All royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontiers.
The Sacrifice – 5 stars
New for this anthology, and oh boy, does it ever kick this anthology off right! This is a lovely dark little gem of just the sort that originally brought this author to my attention. Rylo is a temple slave sold by his own parents. He’s chosen to give comfort to a soldier who’s scheduled to be sacrificed the following morning. The story grabbed me from the first paragraph and reeled me in. I loved it for several reasons. First off, I’m a sucker for long-haired, broken, or scarred guys and it delivered gave me that! Not only that, but in such a short number of pages, the author made me care deeply for both of these guys. I adored the dynamic between these two, the switch up between them given their sizes and role in the story. A most excellent short story that despite a very satisfying ending, still left me wanting more of these two. I will cross my fingers.
Treasure – 4.5 stars
This was previously released and written for the DRitC event in 2013. It’d been on my TBR list for a while, but I’d not gotten to it until now. I’m glad I finally did. Sickly, book-loving Julian comes to the small town of Urchin Cover for a holiday, sent by his family who hopes the sea air will improve his health. He finds that, but also so much more when a storm washes handsome Kit Archer up on his private beach. This one is like a romantic swashbuckling fairy tale adventure! There’s dragons, pirates, imps, sprites, and magic. There’s hurt/comfort, sweet that will make your teeth ache, hot sexy bits, suspense and action. It has al that and more. It didn’t drag me in quite as fast as the previous story, and there is a much slower build between the two MC, which some may actually prefer. Overall, a heartwarming story that left me feeling good.
Three Wishes – 5 stars
After soldier Xolani accidently kicks an old bottle on patrol, picks it up and rubs it to remove the dirt, a genie emerges with three wishes to grant. But wishes granted do come with a price. I won’t reveal much more about this story, as you really should experience it for yourself. It’s quite short, but it’s perfect, too. Touching and sweet and full of hope… an exquisite little story.
Guarded – 5 stars
This was previously released and written for the DRitC event in 2014. I’d already read it when it came out, but re-read to refresh my memory since it’s been over a year. Originally rated it as 4.5 stars but I enjoyed it even more the second time around so I’m bumping that up. This is another dark one, and those are my favorite kind it seems. Prince Berhanu shuns guard Volos because of his Kozari blood, but its Volos who comes for him when he captured by the enemy. This story has some brutal parts, and those who have rape triggers should beware. A story with so many of the elements I love: long-hair, hurt/comfort, UST, hot sex, sweet bits, a harsh past, and much more. The prince’s ordeal was hard to read but this story show love’s healing power.
Mato’s Tale – 3.5 stars
This is the sequel to Guarded in which we get to see more of Mato, the lonely but brave innkeeper that assisted Vollos and Berhanu. This was released as a freebie some time ago but I hadn’t yet got around to reading it. While I didn’t really connect very much to the couple in this, I was glad to see Mato and his mother both find their someone special and for Mato get his adventure. Also pleased to find out that Volos and Berhanu were to wed. All around a bunch of lovely HEAs.
The Downs – 4 stars
A dark fairy tale 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.
Entian, a criminal who has been wrongly judged wakes to find himself in the tender care of a scarred giant named Rig. Both of the main characters were intriguing, and 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. This one isn’t only a romance, but a fable-like tale of betrayal, second chances, and vengeance. Little truths sneak out from its pages.
Chasing Away Cold – 5 stars
New in this anthology. Daku creates an ice sculpture of the god Jarli which his tribe will sacrifice in order to ensure the end of winter. Oh my, what a perfect little parable. Had the tears falling down my cheeks as I read. Am I an emotional sap? Maybe, when reading Kim Fielding. Sigh. What’s the magic more powerful than Gods… love, courage… and what this says to me, hope. This is a perfect little gem of a story, and just the right ending for this anthology.
If I figure out the exact stars for this anthology based on the numbers, it comes to something around 4.57. But I’m giving it a big, firm five stars, because very rarely have I ever enjoyed an anthology so completely. Each story is a gem for different reasons, but together they are an impeccable whole.
COVER: I really admire drawn covers done specifically for a story, and this cover captures the feeling of the first story, The Sacrifice, perfectly. Love the dark in the background to the portrayal of Rylo with his attire and tattoo, and long hair, which always, always grabs my attention. But also that outstretched hand that invites the sacrifice in for his last night of pleasure but at the same time invites us readers in to join them. Worked for me!
Sales Links: Amazon | Buy It Here
Kindle Edition, 404 pages
Expected publication: November 27th 2015
edition languageEnglish404 pages
Published November 27th 2015 by Kim Fielding