“The shot will only go smoothly when it takes the archer himself by surprise.” ― Eugen Herrigel
Author: A.J. Marcus
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 210 Pages
Rating: 4 Stars
Blurb: Former Olympic archer Robin Lockwood quit competing and now runs an archery booth at the Ren Faire. He enjoys his unencumbered life with few attachments but lots of casual friends. Traveling across the country from fair to fair adds spice to his life.
John Aquitaine found acting in college and started a comedy show with his good friend, Pete. They are the “Perfect Princes,” and it helps John escape real life. The gypsy lifestyle lets him keep people at arm’s length until an arrow nearly hits him and he meets the handsome Robin Lockwood.
The flame between them sparks quickly, but the relationship is slowed when John’s dark past catches up with him. John’s Uncle Fred, the source of his horrible memories, appears at one of the Perfect Princes’ performances, and it upsets John so much he needs Robin to rescue him. Their love is tested again as Uncle Fred plans to finish what he started when John was a child.
Review: I have to admit that when I saw the blurb for this book on the DSP list, I was very excited. What I didn’t know was that it was the third book of a series. Thanks to the wonderful Lisa, I got all three books and read them pretty quickly. If you know me through Facebook then you know that I am a bit of a geek. I love science fiction, whether it’s Dr. Who, Torchwood, or Star Wars. I have to admit I also LOVE to go to Ren Faires. There is a wonderful faire that comes here to Florida, and I drive about an hour or so every year to go check it out. I love to watch the jousting, the music and dancing, and the live chess games. There is just something fun about the entire atmosphere. So when I saw this series, I was struck with a feeling of nirvana.
The story starts out with us meeting Robin Lockwood, former Olympic archer, who is now running the archery booth on the Ren Faire circuit. Robin is not interested in more than a quick trick with one, or maybe two, willing bodies, and running his archery booth. When he opens up at the Colorado faire, a young boy with a wild shot brings John Aquitaine to his attention, and he begins to see the possibility of more than a quick roll in the hay.
John Aquitaine is in the comedy show “Perfect Princes” with his friend Pete and Pete’s wife. The three of them travel the faire circuit and make a pretty good living at it. John, however, has some pretty deep scars from his childhood. He has had some relationships in the past, but has never been able to truly trust anyone enough to really let go.
Robin and John are immediately attracted to one another, but with John’s past, they have to take things very slowly. John has nightmares and can’t abide certain types of touching, but Robin is nothing if not patient, and he is very willing to go at John’s pace.
The two men have to face hatred at the faire in Colorado, and it turns out that the perpetrator is a distant member of John’s own family. Some spray painted hate words and a fire put Robin’s livelihood at risk, but he and John don’t let it divide them.
When they travel to their next faire in Texas, John comes face to face with his past, and Robin does everything he can to protect him. Even with the best intentions, we can’t always protect the ones we love, and Robin learns this the hard way.
With the support of their friends and a long missing member of John’s family, they end up working through most of their issues. The two men build a loving relationship and a bond of trust over time. These are the things that keep them together through tragedy and make their bond even stronger.
I believe you can read this book as a standalone, but I would recommend the entire series. The stories take place over the faire circuit, but we get to revisit the previous characters from book to book. A.J. Marcus has delved into the world of the Ren Faires and brought them to life.