The story I’ve been waiting for…
First of all, that cover is gorgeous. Absolutely swoonworthy. And I’ve been so looking forward to this story, because romances between orcs and human men in Finley Fenn’s Orc Sworn/Orc Forged universe are something I definitely need. And the stakes are high in this, as two enemy warriors fall for each other during the brutal war between orcs and humans.
Aulis Gerrard: Once idealistic, he’s now battle-hardened, tired, and disillusioned. Questioning the sense of it all, of going on, fighting on. He’s principled and so, so good, and he longs for someone to support, to protect, to care for — he needs love, but in this endless war, opportunities are sparse and fraught with risk. (Of course, then he goes and falls for the riskiest option out there, an enemy orc…)
Olarr: A warrior orc of Clan Bautul, who’s been a worthy opponent in battle, a fair fighter. As both warriors get closer, he slowly reveals heartbreaking vulnerabilities, and his willingness to face deep-seated trauma to uphold his end of a bargain. It’s this, his honorable fairness, his tenderness, his care for Aulis, that make his inevitable betrayal — after all, he is an orc, and they always have an agenda, especially in this harrowing war — feel so much more heartbreaking.
The Fall into Love
The Fall: It’s slow and all at once, soft, tender, and brutal. What starts under the guise of sparring matches turns into a baring of wounds not inflicted through steel. A baring of broken hearts and past trauma, and a slow, careful healing. A beautiful, heartbreaking, soft slide into love.
The Betrayal: It’s inevitable, and obvious it has to be coming, after all, these are two warriors on opposing sides of the war, as long as it rages on, there’s no fathomable happy ending for them to be seen. The stakes are high, and they keep rising as both of them use their cunning to further their goals — and yet, when it comes, it’s so unexpected. The angst is delicious. Yum.
CWs: some darker themes, including depression, PTSD, and suicidal ideation. Allusion to CSA in the past.
Ach, there are so many!!!
“What, orc?” Gerrard demanded, and he didn’t want to hear it, did he? “Faster than you? Better with my stick?” The orc visibly startled, his eyes now darting between Gerrard’s face and his groin, and Gerrard fought down the bizarre blend of chagrin, disbelief, and amusement swarming in his chest.
- enemies to lovers
- loving in secret
- spy romance
- sweaty sparring with “sticks”
- swords crossing literally