Trial by Fire (MM)
[Siren Allure ManLove: Erotic Alternative Fantasy Romance, M/M, demons, HEA]
Ian Sheldon has come to Whitehaven Hall to undergo the trial that will initiate him into the brutal world of mage adepts, where slaughter is the reward for weakness and power alike. Ian knows the reality of the ranks he seeks to enter—his father was murdered by another mage.
Aodh Graeme is a surly but sensuously handsome demon with fiery hair and copper eyes—and a violent need for blood. Aodh is Ian’s servant and guide for the trials, magically bound to Ian for the duration of his test. This bond flows their magic between them, heightening the fierce attraction Ian already feels for the laconic demon. But, the alternate reality hosting the trials shows Ian his intimidating guide may not be trustworthy.
As Ian progresses towards the lurid horizon that houses his ultimate goal, he must decide if he will surrender to Aodh’s sensual pull—and possibly become the next victim of the mages.
A Siren Erotic Romance
4 HEARTS: Ian has to undergo a trial to prove himself worthy of being a mage adept. His assigned guide is a red cap demon called Aodh and they have a perilous journey before them. However, Ian has another motive for going through with the trial and he might have found an unexpected ally in Aodh. But, first they must come out of the trial alive and Ian fights his attraction to Aodh when he is shown that Aodh just might turn on him. An interesting premise of how strict the magical world is with only the strongest being allowed to become mage adepts/sorcerers, well as long as they aren’t too strong. This is a well written story that gives us some background on the magic users and how they are treated by those who have stronger magic. Ian has to complete the trial well enough to become a sorcerer, but not so enough that he could be seen as a threat. Either way the threat of death lingers over him. Aodh has no choice but to help Ian during the trial, but Ian surprises him and gives him a glimmer of hope. Now, they just have to get past Taylent (sorcerer in charge of the trial). I will be honest and say that we don’t see that much of a romance; it is more of a passionate coming together and trust built during the trial and putting their lives in each other’s hands. It happens over a very short amount of time, but it does feel longer with everything that they deal with during the trial. The descriptions that we get from the pocket of space that the trial is held in are very impressive and kinda icky. I was impressed with the twist that emerged during the trial and I really liked Ian’s attitude regarding the current set up of the sorcerer’s ranks. We don’t get to know that much about Aodh, which I thought was a shame, but he seems to suit Ian well when he realizes that Ian isn’t like the others that have come before him. The sex between them is very hot, but it isn’t sweet and gentle, it is very passionate and intense. The epilogue was cool and I really hope that we will get a sequel. So, I recommend this to those who love magic, shaking up a system, revenge, vengeance, a hot demon and a hot mage and a happy ending (when they aren’t battling other sorcerer’s). -- Pixie, MM Good Book Reviews
Fragments of stone, glass and other, smaller debris pounded the windows in a ceaseless torrent. The interior gloom turned pitch from the onslaught. The floor was thick with a coating of rank muck. Ian turned slowly, letting his eyes adjust. With each step his foot sank deep into foulness then loudly squelched free. Dust and many other far-less-pleasant scents filled the air. From the far side of the room came the familiar skittering sound.
“We are not alone,” Aodh said.
“I know,” Ian replied, straining to see what moved in the shadows with them.
His power reserves were dangerously low, too low to attempt to even risk forging a light the size of a firefly’s tail. He dug in his bag with one hand, fishing for the flashlight he knew wasn’t there. He had matches, three of them. The scratching approached from the left. He thumbed the clasp on the small vial holding the fragile sticks. The noise grew louder, creeping up the nearest wall towards the ceiling. Aodh shifted uneasily at his back, surely tracking the mysterious creature as best he could. Despite his inner screaming panic at being ambushed in the dark, Ian released the container. It was too early to waste such a valuable tool. He was tired, now, but later, he, and his magic, would likely be wholly exhausted. And he might yet need one last push before he left this building. As if to confirm his suspicions, a puff of warm, damp air sprayed his scalp.
“Up,” Aodh said. Even as the red cap spoke he took a few steps away, removing himself from the impending fight—not that Ian had much of one left in him.
Ian did not cast his gaze to the ceiling, but turned his attention to the floor. A slimy appendage dipped from above. Tensile fingers like suction cups seized his shoulder. The tiny mouth-like apertures worked away at the wool, burrowing into the fabric and the thin layers beneath it. Ian tried to bat it away with his knife, but more limbs descended to halt his effort. His exposed skin stung for a brief moment as the suckers invaded his flesh, and then the new wound went numb. The blood in his arm retreated from the touch. His fingers swelled and ached. The knife clattered to the floor. He struggled to retreat, but the other appendages had him ensnared in their sticky grip. Some of the attached mouths impatiently pushed aside his collar, cuffs, and shirt hem to easier find exposed skin. Others tunneled through his fabric, gnawing away at material until discovering heartier feasts of living matter. Ian’s blood retreated from the suckers, pooling into his digits, turning them into fat, nearly bursting sausages. The rest of his body began to stiffen. He could not force his limbs to obey, not even as a large tangle of knots descended from the ceiling. Mouths dotted the glutinous mass in seemingly random fashion. The mouths snapped and gnashed at his fattened fingers.
Ian cried out, but the noise came from between his lips as a guttural groan. He felt Aodh shift behind him, felt the red cap’s magic struggling against its confines to retreat from Ian’s dying body and return to its virile source. To Ian’s surprise, Aodh shoved back, pushing his power—and possibly a smidgen more—back into Ian’s core. The gnarls were looping around, mouths snapping to ward each other away from the impending feast. Ian forced his attention to his big toe. It had swollen so large inside his shoe it grazed the seams. He gave it an experimental wiggle and was glad the creature had stolen his ability to vocalize, for his agonized scream would have shaken the building far more than the explosion had. The mouth sucking away at the nape of his neck burrowed deeper. Ian felt a sharp stab of pain as it dug down, searching for his spinal column. He couldn’t wait another moment.
Ian gathered his remaining strength and gave one final magical heave. He pushed his tattered powers, and Aodh’s—unintentional?—donation into his foot. It moved. With determination he slowly inched it back. Blinding pain shot up his leg with each halting movement. He fought against the pain and the paralysis, creeping his foot behind his other leg, letting the magic overspill his screaming toe. A glowing white line appeared where his shoe traced, dividing the filth-slick tiles. The mystical words in his head were hazy, so he abandoned them, instead allowing an image to fill his mind. It was rough, novice magic, but it was sufficient. An unseen hand swatted the tentacle beast back into the rafters. The room erupted in a burst of light. The force blew out the toe of his shoe—and Ian suspected something worse as a wet sensation crept from the void. The blast sheared the attached tentacles from the creature’s body. Bursts of bilious blood spattered Ian’s cheeks. The beast beat a squealing, scrabbling, retreat into the far reaches of the room. The abandoned tentacles fell from Ian’s body, twitching. The creature let loose an enraged scream. Ian refused to let his concentration fall. He could hear the thing in the shadows, skittering, regrouping, deciding its next assault. His body was still leaden, but without the numbing matter the beast had injected into him, his wounds and swollen digits had started throbbing with terrible pain. He looked down at the glowing white line in the floor and projected his will into it. The recovered beast charged, flopping and slapping its way towards its intended target. Its many mouths had merged and grown into one gaping, fanged maw. A spray of stinging fluid hit his face.
Open, he thought.
The writhing limbs reached.
The mouth gaped wide.
The brilliance parted, and the floor beneath Ian vanished. He fell.
Aodh covered his body in one swift motion, the force of his impact driving Ian’s torso back onto the ground. He lay sprawled beneath Aodh, too stunned to muster even the slightest defense. And then Aodh leaned in closer, pressing hard against him. Ian felt the rigidity of his dick through the layers of fabric between them, and then he understood. Like a silly teenager with a crush he grinned up at the red cap. All foolish, awkward, and full of teeth, he smiled. Aodh’s expression was all seriousness, the cruel set of his mouth conveying intimidation and a warrior’s grim victory over an enemy. But his eyes, those impossible new-penny eyes, sparked with joy—and desire.
Aodh pressed his mouth to Ian’s, covering it with a hungry desire. How long had it been for him? Had he ever had any lovers of his own choosing? Any at all? As Aodh moved his mouth to his neck to take tantalizing, nibbling bites, and slid his hand down Ian’s stomach and under the elastic of his underwear, Ian had to concede that either the red cap had, or he was an intuitive learner. Ian turned his head to return the caresses, sliding his lips along the muscles in Aodh’s neck. He gathered the red hair in his hands, gripping the coarse strands between his fingers, clutching at them like a child afraid of losing a favorite toy. He kissed and licked up to his ear, gently sucking the lobe before drifting back down, leaving tiny wet trails along Aodh’s skin that seemed to smolder away.
Aodh dipped lower and pulled at the hem of Ian’s tee. Ian bolted up to assist, but a wave of dizziness almost sent him crashing back to the ground. Aodh’s hand was there, steadying him, cradling the nape of his neck with his warm hand.
“Easy,” he whispered. With his other hand Aodh pulled Ian’s shirt from his torso. Then, he gently laid him back onto the ground. He leaned over Ian, concern in his eyes. “Okay?”
“Better than.” Ian smiled.
“You’re still weak.” Aodh struggled to keep his expression stern.
“You’ll be careful.”
Aodh covered his mouth again. Ian lifted his chin to meet him, letting Aodh feed on his mouth and tongue. A brief image of the window-Aodh slicing his throat flooded his mind, but Ian drove it away, determined. Taylent’s sick labyrinth of pain and confusion would not ruin this. As if to prove a point, he drove his hands downward, unbuckling Aodh’s belt and snapping open his fly with savage efficiency. Aodh lifted his hips and let him drive the fabric as far down as his boots would allow, then returned to blanketing him. Aodh’s cock burned like fire against his own erection. Ian’s hips gave a few involuntary thrusts. He felt Aodh’s smile flicker across his mouth, and then the red cap plunged his hand into Ian’s underwear. He seized his cock with simmering fingers, stroking it against his palm in a soft, slow rhythm. Ian moaned against Aodh’s mouth and reached down to his exposed cock. Aodh again lifted his hips to accommodate his urgency. It simmered against his damp hand, hot and ready. Ian wanted to take the fiery thing into his mouth, to explore the thick shaft and tease the enlarged head. His weakened body, however—along with Aodh’s insistent pressure against him—would not allow it. He licked his palm and returned it to Aodh’s cock, stroking and squeezing until Aodh gave the barest moan. That sound, as brief as it was, nearly drove Ian wild. He pulled Aodh against him and feverishly kissed him. Their tongues entwined in an urgent, desperate dance, tasting and exploring each other. Aodh’s mouth grew slick and hot, the intensity building with each pass of his tongue. The sensation was warm, alluring, and almost bordering on pain. Ian couldn’t get enough. He almost let out a protesting cry when Aodh suddenly pulled back. A moment later, Aodh had one of his nipples in his mouth, gently biting, licking, and sucking. Ian moaned and clutched at Aodh’s chest. His fingers found Aodh’s own nipples and squeezed each between a thumb and forefinger. Aodh pulled against the pressure of his hands, stretching his nipples out, moaning with the pleasurable pain. Ian, forgetting his condition, bolted up to put one in his mouth.
“No, no,” Aodh chided him like a child and pushed him back down. He then moved his ministrations, trailing his lips and tongue along the fine, downy line at Ian’s midsection. Ian kept Aodh’s cock in his hand as long as he could, but the red cap soon pulled his hips gently away from his grasp. He took the head of Ian’s dick into his mouth, and fire erupted there. Ian cried out. Aodh started to pull away, but Ian pressed his head back down. Aodh slid more of his shaft into his mouth, sending a blaze of pleasure along his skin and into his core. As Aodh sucked and worked his tongue along Ian’s shaft the searing heat built. Ian writhed beneath Aodh’s mouth, not letting him release his cock. The pain was terrible. The pleasure was even greater. Never had he felt such completeness of sensation. Aodh’s mouth traveled from his cock to his abdomen to his chest, filling him with pulsing heat and bliss.
Aodh’s mouth moved from his cock to his balls, first taking one, then both inside, rolling them gently around, suckling and pulling at them. His fingers rubbed the taut skin just behind then moved to tease the opening with his fingers. Ian stiffened. Aodh immediately drew back, tense.
“I’ve never...” Ian began, blushing furiously.
“You are a virgin?” Aodh asked, his voice mercifully free of incredulity.
“Not exactly. I’ve had sex. I’ve done... I’ve had...” he stammered, feeling foolish. “I’ve always been the one to...”
“I see,” Aodh said. “Then this will be a pleasant change for both of us.”
Ian lifted his head to look down at Aodh, who knelt like a god between his knees. The heat of their passion had ignited the blood in the red cap. It smoldered orange beneath his skin. He smiled, awestruck. Aodh dipped his head, uncomfortable at his unabashed admiration.
“You’re beautiful,” Ian said.
He caught a flash of gleaming copper eyes, and then Aodh dove back down, taking Ian’s dick in his mouth and sucking vigorously.