Poor Galon, a rogue Star Mage, has put himself in a dangerous situation in the hopes of an evening's companionship. Luckily, he's saved from harm by senior Mage Anzel. Anzel could punish young Galon for his indiscretion, but instead he takes Galon under his wing. Galon has been grievously mistreated by pretty much everyone he's ever cared about, so of course it isn't easy for him to trust the older man. Through patience and compassion, though, Anzel begins to crack Galon's tough shell. Like the environmental details, the character's pasts and the effects they have on their present motivations are revealed in subtle ways as the story progresses. It becomes quite easy for Anzel to see why Galon is so guarded, and his desire to protect the young mage is very touching. The sex isn't overly explicit, but it is appropriate to the emotional states of the characters, as well as very sweet and romantic. Fear not, there's no fading to black or closed doors, just that the physical interactions between the men enhance the plot and character development, rather than BEING the plot.
I enjoyed this short story very much. The characters are likable and their motivations well-grounded. The fantasy world, while it relies on some common conventions (the reader knows at once that the story is set in an AU Medieval world) is unique enough to be intriguing. I especially enjoyed the details about the practices and vulnerabilities of the Star Mages themselves. Without giving anything away, I'll say that there's a point where Galon and Anzel work together to achieve a magical outcome, and this scene is my favorite in the story. The relationship between Anzel and Galon moves a little bit quickly, but the connection they form feels genuine. The way they join forces to solve an issue that plagues Galon is particularly endearing, as well as providing an unexpected and fresh end to the story. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys High Fanatsy. The pages of The Master's Lover are a wonderful place to spend an evening.
My wine pairing suggestion: Apothic Red, 2008, or, better yet, 2007 if you can get it. This blend is smooth, beautifully balanced, and on the sweet side (just like the book, LOL). It has strong notes of vanilla, subtle black cherry, and a wee bit of spice.
eBook The Master's Lover (Star Mages #1.5)