Author: Angel Martinez and Bellora Quinn
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Pages/Word Count: 294 Pages
At a Glance: Fantastic second book in the series with returning favorites and new characters.
Reviewed By: Jennifer
Blurb: A murderer haunts the city, turning the unwary to stone. Between hunting this evil and corralling new arrivals, Flax struggles to guard both his life and his heart.
Quinn and Valerian have come through the trials of facing an undead lich queen and the perils of falling in love. Now they work to restore AURA to its previous strength and efficiency while navigating their new life with each other. Fortunately, they’re not in this alone.
Kai Hiltas has taken over as the head of the research department at AURA and has become everyone’s favourite workaholic, everyone except his lover Tenzin, who has had enough of his late nights and broken promises. As Kai tries to salvage his relationship, he finds a teacher for Quinn, who also happens to be one of Valerian’s new officers, Flax Wolfheart, a sexy elf with trouble written all over him.
Flax has motives beyond simply teaching Quinn to control his magic. He’s trying to recover from his own losses and failures, but he has a plan. The two newest elvish crossovers, Ash and Sage, are sizzling hot and might even like him. With them as backup as he tracks a deadly stone mage and figures out how to teach Quinn, Flax sees his chance to impress Val and snag a place by his captain’s side. On the hunt for both danger and redemption, Flax’s pursuit leads him ultimately down trails he never expected.
Review: If you haven’t read Quinn’s Gambit, the first book in the AURA series, you need to. The events from the first book are referred to, and the characters present, for the most part, are established in the first book. There are a few new additions which are great, but the book focuses just as much on Quinn, Val, and Kai as it does on Flax and the new crossovers.
Set after the incident with the Lich queen, Quinn and Val are settling into their new lives with each other and at AURA. Val is the new captain and Quinn works for them. Kai wants him trained, though, and he sets him up with Flax, a talented elf fairly fresh from the academy. Quinn and Flax don’t like each other at first for many reasons, and their relationship starts off rocky. Flax wants the captain, and he doesn’t think Quinn is worthy enough of him. He needs a relationship, and it becomes clear that what happens to Val in the first book is starting to happen to him. But will he find someone to bond with before it’s too late? And what about Kai and Tenzin? Kai stays at work late and breaks promises, and it pushes Tenzin to his limit.
My heart broke for half the book. The authors are really good at portraying characters that make me feel for their situation. I felt as if I was there with Flax as he realized the fading was starting, and when Kai watched Tenzin walk out the door.
As far as new characters go, Flax, Sage, and Ash are great. Their bond with each other grows throughout the book, and they plot to get both Val AND Quinn in their beds to form a senrist with them, because of Val’s heritage. I won’t lie, I really, REALLY wanted it to happen the more the book went on. I was with Quinn thinking about it, and while at first I was put off by it like he was, the more he thought, the more I did, and then the more I wanted it. It just seemed like a really good idea, and I wanted Flax to be happy. I love Quinn and Val alone, but Flax needed someone to love him. Thankfully, he does find that.
I look forward to the next book in this series. I have no idea what will happen, but I know I’ll love it just as much as the first two books.