Synopsis from Ellora’s Cave.
A hard-bitten mercenary who’s had a gutful of mud and blood and death, Fortitude McLaren joins the Ten Nations Fair as a roustabout. Tough, cold and competent, he’s shocked and angered by his hunger for Griff, a circus acrobat. Brought up in the bigoted society of the Straight Church, Fort regards manlove with casual contempt. Not for him. Never for him.
Athletic, cocky and single-minded about what he wants, Griff sets about getting it. Fort fights with everything in him, but Griff affects him like no one else. It’s not just his strong, supple body. Fort is irresistibly drawn by the friendship the other man offers so freely.
Fort may have found a friend, but the cruel memories of his childhood are the greatest enemy of all. When a job for Jan the Aetherii puts Griff in danger, Fort discovers what’s really at risk — everything he is and everything he’s ever believed in. To save Griff’s life and preserve his own sanity, Fort must not only fight the battle in his soul, he must win it.
Griff has been omnivorous, shall we say, when it comes to sex. When he sees Fort watching him and the others practicing their routines under the big top he is intrigued. Not a day goes by without another rumour about the large, silent man. Griff has a motto for every occasion, and in this case it’s … If you don’t reach, you don’t get… and as his interest is aroused, he decides what he wants is Fort.
Fortitude, or Fort, is a mercenary and has spent many long years fighting. It is not initially clear why he has left soldiering but he is tired and also seems very alone. He has a commanding presence and leadership seems to come to him naturally. Even though he has just recently become a part of the Ten Nations Fair, the other men trust him implicitly. He has had a strictly religious and unpleasant upbringing where homosexuality is not tolerated. Indeed it is punishable by death. Despite this Fort is unprejudiced with others, and has a live and let live code. For himself though, his attraction to another man, a much younger man, causes him huge internal conflict. As a character I fell for him rather heavily. He is just so incredibly self-contained, I wanted to muss him up a little.
Griff is a smart ass, cocky and quick witted. He approaches Fort initially but is rebuffed and this is like a red rag to a bull. I loved the way he just put himself in front of Fort at every opportunity. He knows Fort wants him, if the size of his hardon was anything to go by! And even though it is taunting, teasing and perhaps a little unkind, it is just sex on a stick. You just feel Griff’s dogged determination to get what he wants just might mean his own ultimate surrender. Ummmm surrender…
While Fort spends all his time pushing Griff away he still looks out for the younger man and protects him, while seemingly unaware of his own actions. Griff is quite capable of sticking up for himself and somehow this makes it all the sweeter.
The sex is hot, toe curlingly good. The first time is such a surrender for Fort, it is almost as though he cannot help but touch Griff. Freaking hawt smexin goodness. I liked the feeling of strength and size about Fort. While Griff is tall and muscular there is a definite contrast in size and I enjoyed this much. Oh, and wrestling and getting tied up?? Tasty! Merow.
The world building in this futuristic fantasy was tight and not bogged down in lengthy description. Because this is my 1st book in the series there might have been more set up stuff in other novels. It is very natural, without being obvious, and also well executed. Sometimes I feel authors think you don’t have your big girl pants on and that they’re obliged to explain everything to death. Not the case in this. I never found myself getting bored, lost or having a WTF moment and this is always a bonus! The only thing I could have wished for… sunscreen. snort.
I have my fingers, toes and eyes crossed that Denise writes more m/m books because this one rocked my socks. This might be my new measure of a good book, sock rockingly good! I might even go and read her 2nd book in the series, here, which is a menage, with a girl in it!! Eeep!
You can get the goodness here.
AND if you join her yahoo group you get an epilogue! Check it all out at her blog here.