[Siren Classic ManLove: Erotic Alternative Historical Romance, M/M, HEA]
Sensuous Gristle, badass former Roman soldier, has finally found love in the person of young Wynn, a pony trainer nearly half his age. Each man has a secret. For Wynn, it is the chilling sexual assault that he has suffered by two evil druids. For Gristle, it is the dread that any love he admits to will be wrested away by cold Fortuna, goddess of fate.
While the two men are trying to solve their inner turmoil, Gristle finds that his old friends in Wales are being threatened by invasion from ruthless Saxons. Even after they manage to handle the Saxon threat, new trouble waits on the sacred Hill of Tara, where the chief druids to the high king wait to strike again at the heart of Wynn.
Into this maelstrom of danger walks Dub, a striking warrior-scholar whom Gristle recognizes as a potent rival for the attentions of his handsome lover.
A Siren Erotic Romance
5 STARS: "Book One: Warrior, Ride Hard is dominated by Caylith’s and Patrick’s vision for a new world order, translating that into reality by petitioning the High King of Tara for lands on which to establish a settlement. During their time at Tara, Gristle reunites with Tristus, his first true love. Before Wynn can resolve having witnessed this reunion he is whisked off by enemies and subjected to abuse that will have lasting impacts. Book Two: Warrior, Stand Tall is solidly about the developing emotional attachment, then commitment, between two men who are damaged at very subtle levels. Their sexual encounters waver between tender and desperately demanding, with Wynn desiring increasing dominance over his lover and instructor, Gristle. It makes for a fascinating dynamic because both are ‘men’ through and through, not feminized in their feelings and their perspectives on the nature of love. In both books, there are perils galore, action, adventure, and throughout a solid sense of historical accuracy, the stage set with exquisite detail that never overpowers the narrative or the characters. If you like historical romance, M/M and action-adventure, you need look no further. For both, FIVE STARS and a tip of a short sword to Erin O’Quinn for making post-Roman Britannia and Eire the next hot new historical period." -- Sand in My Shoes Reviews
"Beautifully detailed, with lots of intriguing new adventures that capture the way of men in turbulent times, at its root, this is a story about the patience of genuine love. Of loving one’s partner enough to allow them to reveal their hurts (real or imagined) in their own time. Of letting them know through gentle hints that they are supported and that someone is ready to listen when they are ready to open up. Supporting characters from the previous book return, as well as a host of charismatic new characters, and justice is meted out multiple times. Among the many adventurous exploits, the boys finally get some idyllic alone time, which put me in the mind of “Brokeback Mountain”. Wonderfully poignant and scorching hot, I daresay the little timeout was quite, um, honeymoon-like. As with the first book, the adventures and sex scenes are extremely well-paced and original, and the lovely romance between the two men is punctuated with amusing anecdotes, light banter, and steamy love-play. I enjoyed every minute of this enchanting sequel and both books of the Iron Warrior series will hold a special place on my Kindle, to be read again and again. Thank you, Erin O’Quinn, I’m very happy to have discovered your books; to borrow a few words from your characters, “I love ye!” " -- Alex, Rainbow Book Reviews
The High Druids Loch and Lucet were almost indistinguishable from each other, like faces reflected back from a muddy pool. They were both sallow of face, with black stubble where their beards tried to spring from their chins. Each man had dark, shifting eyes and dark brows, with long, lank black hair. They were almost scrawny, all legs and elbows. Their robes were black, unlike the white garments of their lesser druid brethren.
“Ugliest bastards I have ever met.”
Wynn looked up at Gristle, who sat cross-legged next to him, listening intently. Then he lowered his head again, trying to relive the recent past that he was now recoiling from.
When Loch-or-Lucet seized his arm, Wynn had felt almost violated. And yet, in the spirit of a stranger in another person’s dwelling, he had not shown his repugnance. He soon came to rue his massive innocence. He should have drawn back, seized the pommel of his saddle, mounted, and ridden away. Instead, like a child, he had stood frozen to the spot while the brothers told him the matter would be cleared up soon, that he merely needed to follow them. And so he had. All the while, Gristle had been waiting for him on the hurling field.
He found himself awakening almost a week later, huddled in an ancient burial mound on the Hill of Tara. He had been drugged to the extent that only outside help could have rescued him. That help had come in the form of Duane, the young son of the king’s high scholar Dub.
Duane had accidentally seen ten druids overwhelm him and put him in the small burial site then roll a boulder across the entrance. He had waited until he could be certain of the routine of his keepers—the hours when the white-robes came to feed him, the times when they came to clear away his food containers and his body wastes.
When Duane came to him, he soon learned to bury his food and forego the water in the wineskin next to him. Then he had lain hungry and parched for another day while the narcotics slowly left his body, pretending to his keepers that he was in a deep torpor. He and Duane had devised a flimsy scheme to expose the druids. They planned that Wynn would somehow escape as soon as the Druids brought him to their hiding place. He could have left the burial mound. But he wanted to find out where they lived, who else they may have captured. And so he waited in the dark, using his survival skills as Gristle had taught him.
The druids actually did drag him to an unknown place and put him in a stark-white room.
“…only a large raised slab, covered with linens. Ropes attached from the floor. And shelves filled with vials.” He spoke to Gristle through clenched teeth, feeling even now the lurch of his stomach as he thought about The Room. He told his trainer about the vile man…the Vial Man…who tried to force some kind of potion down his throat. He soon learned that the potion was designed to make him agreeable to the druids’ lustful urges.
He had resorted to his deep breathing, feigning deep torpor, forcing the potion to have no effect on him. As soon as the Vial Man left, Wynn had made himself vomit the fluid and pretend to be in a drugged stupor. He was dragged into a room with six other men, all but one drugged so heavily that they could not respond to his urgent questions. He could not boldly escape while these others were being held with him. He would have to return right away and somehow free them, too.
After a short time, with the help of one man, he was able to escape through a very high window.
“I ran back to where I thought they would not think to follow—to the place they had imprisoned me, to the Hill of Tara. There in a circle of sacred trees I made a weapon. I wrenched a limb from one of the trees. It was all sharp and splintered on one end. I went back to the house where the captives were being kept.”
He looked up again at his trainer, who nodded slightly at the image of the ragged-edged weapon. Wynn had not gotten to the hardest part, so he told Gristle the next part without reservation. “I knew it would take them about an hour to discover my escape. As soon as I heard shouting and saw lights, I stood outside the gate with me weapon raised, ready to strike them down as they ran from the gate. But they ran out, and simply kept running. Six of them. That left four still inside.”
He told Gristle how he had forced the remaining four terrified would-be-captors to take the place of their unfortunate prisoners, while the prisoners themselves ran to safety. Later, the man who had helped Wynn stood with him before the high king and his ollamh—his high judge—and the ten druids were exposed. He could not prove the complicity of Loch and Lucet, the king’s own high druids. But the others were condemned to be stripped of their priesthood.
“Two days later…” Here Wynn paused, wondering how to tell the worst of his story. He had been in the livestock byre, saddling his pony Corwin, ready to return to Armagh, back to Gristle and his other companions.
“I had somehow left me warrior senses somewhere on the sacred hill. I did not hear the two men who stood behind me. I did not see the one who struck me on the back of the head.”
Wynn tried to keep the bitterness from his voice. But as he spoke, he realized that he blamed himself as much as the men who had brutalized him.
At last both men sat with full bellies in front of their fire. The sun had set half an hour ago, but they could still see the movement of kites darting and soaring and dipping. They watched the way their long, forked tail feathers twisted as they flew and changed direction close to the ground in their hunt for food.
“These birds need to visit Bear Mountain,” Wynn observed. “Fill up on supper scraps, eh?”
Gristle, close to him, looked into his tawny eyes and nodded, almost smiling. “Some creatures would rather kill their own supper. Keeps them sharp-eyed and fit.”
“Ye made a passable kill tonight,” Wynn told him.
Gristle glanced at the remains of a three-pound pine marten that he had felled with his slingshot. Wynn had scraped off the skin, and the pelt lay stretched a few feet away, brown with a soft, yellow bib and bushy tail.
“Are you saying that I am sharp-eyed and fit?” He left his cross-legged position and stretched out on the tarred blanket that protected them from the hard ground. His face was close to Wynn’s knees, and the young man reached out and lightly stroked his hair.
“Ie. I am fortunate to have ye.”
Gristle felt like probing a little tonight, to see how far he himself was willing to go.
“So you think you ‘have’ me?”
Wynn’s fingers did not hesitate in their slow movement.
“I have ye as a pony has a rider. Or as a sword has a sheath.”
Gristle felt a little nerve in his throat begin to beat and throb. “Yet who is the rider, and who the pony?”
“Griss, it matters not. We are one and the same.”
Gristle saw Wynn’s face drop close to his own, smelled the still-pungent aroma of juniper berries.
“Like a Centaur?”
“I think I know of centaurs. A man who is also a horse. That comes close to me idea of our companionship.”
“Then show me.”
Wynn shifted position in one lithe movement. Gristle felt strong hands seize his ass, pinning him facedown to the tarred cloth.
“I will show ye how I fuck assholes.”
If Gristle doubted that his lover was being humorous-serious, he left his illusions behind when he felt Wynn pull off his thong and lower his britches. He felt the boy lean over him, and then he felt the honey of his thick spit flooding into his ass crack. He spread his own butt as far as he could, while Wynn held him strongly to the ground.
Wynn’s lips were in his ear. “How deep, O trainer?”
Gristle’s cock banged and pulsed. “Up to your balls, boy.”
He heard Wynn’s soft laughter, and then he heard nothing but his own harsh breath as a broad cock-dagger split his ass and pushed fire almost to his gut. Until he had met Wynn, the Roman had never felt another man’s prick in his asshole. Actually, he had never even entertained the notion. He had always been the top dog, the rutting buck. But somehow Wynn’s reversal of the rules fired him deeply, sending quivers and hot spasms to places he never knew existed.
Now he bucked and twisted as Wynn held tight to his ass and rammed and pushed and slammed. He felt Wynn’s long, smooth balls slap against his own balls, and suddenly he felt Wynn’s cock thrust deeper than ever before, to a place he had never reached.
“Goddamn!” he shouted, actually feeling himself coming, more and more, as though for the first time.
“Now, now. I love ye!” Wynn drove himself with all his weight and passion, until both of them lay breathless.
Gristle could not open his eyes. He was still suspended in a dream of coming. He felt Wynn’s soft lips in his ear.
“Griss. Did me fucking make ye come?”
He opened his eyes. “Damn. Yes. How did that happen?”
He saw Wynn’s own eyes flicker in the light of the campfire. “Love,” he said.
“Your mind made a connection between me prick and your body. I know not how it happens. But it happens.”
Gristle decided to overlook the implication of a love connection. This was not the time, he thought, to explore such a deep subject. Better to let it build, like his own climax. It would be released sometime in the future, he was sure. Tonight he simply wanted to hold Wynn until the dawn.
He opened his arms and welcomed Wynn. The pony trainer threw one leg over him and put his groin tight to his own. “Never stop,” the boy said.
“Stop what, Wynn?”
He tightened his hold. “Not ever.”