Every summer Dreamspinner Press releases their Daily Dose, a set of 30 stories with a common theme. They are released a day at a time during the month of June for those who buy the set, or individually on June 1st. This year’s Daily Dose is called Mended and centers around a hurt/comfort theme. Over the course of the month, we will be reviewing some of the novellas individually, as well as doing some roundups of several short stories at once.

 

RavenscarRavenscar by Chloe Stowe
Rating: 4.75 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | All Romance
Length: Short Story

After graduating from medical school, Ethan joined the U.S. Army and became a well respected medic. After Ethan’s unit is ambushed, Ayers, a British Intelligence Officer, saved Ethan’s life when he was left for dead on the side of the road. Ethan then saved Ayers when they are faced with a second attack.

After searching for months for any news on the identity of the man that altered his life, Ethan had no choice but to give up the search. A fateful meeting in a Parisian bar connected Ethan with the mysterious stranger and a love story ignited that spanned years.

One day, Ethan’s life is shattered as he receives a phone call that once again changes his life. As he travels to England for a chance at closure, he is met with even more unanswered questions. Looking out over the sea in Robin Hood’s Bay, England, while battling back the last of his latest bout of pneumonia, Ethan is searching for someone. For three days, he waits. His memories take him to what brought him there, his memories take him to Ayers.

The first part of this story is told in a flashback and we get a true sense of Ethan and his fateful meeting with Ayers. They spend two years together in a wild, passionate romance, meeting in locations around the world, when Ayers is between assignments. The story reads like a visual movie in your head. Their relationship was all about sex, until it wasn’t, and they were in a whole lot of trouble in love with each other. Until Ethan receives the devastating phone call.

For a short story, Ravenscar is so well paced, so full of emotion, and well developed characters for the time span we get to spend with them. One small point, being that time is limited, some issues Ethan faces are taken at face value. If there had been more time, some further discovery, rather than blanket acceptance of what Ethan is being told would have enhanced the story a bit. If you are looking to be swept away in a romantic short story about true love, Ravenscar is the one to read.


Move as Water in a BasinTitle: Move as Water in a Basin by Mars Novak
Rating: 4.75 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | All Romance
Length: Novella

Sereb is a talented young apprentice learning the powers of elemental magic at an island ashram. A tragic past prevents him from connecting to the element of water. Concerned for his student, Sereb’s Master sends for a Consolator, a trained counselor who deals with pain and grief. The Consolator just might have the touch to connect Sereb with more than elemental water.

The writing in this story must be discussed first. This is the rare and sometimes elusive treat of words so well written that they are magical, hypnotic, and meditative. It’s not just one line or passage. It’s the cadence and all of the imagery of the prose that flowed so well together.

We first meet Sereb as he is practicing his katas to be able to move on from his apprenticeship. He can successfully call up fire and we quickly learn what his tragic connection to water is. When Sereb’s Master suggests a Consolator to act as a grief counselor, Sereb agrees.

Seventeen-year-old Reeve arrives by boat having had little sleep during his three-day journey. His last assignment was a brutal failure that ended in extreme violence. He is unbalanced for the first time and lacks the confidence he used to have.

Other than the island location, we are not told what country we are in or what time period. There are indicators that people live in small villages or on farms, travel by boat, send mail through hand written letters, and not all homes have indoor plumbing. This lack of preconceived ideas adds to the fantasy appeal.

My only issue is with Sereb being fourteen-years old. Since arriving at the ashram, his life has been sheltered and he has not learned much about his own sexuality. Reeve was much more experienced in terms of not just age, but life experience.

After finishing this story, I looked for more works by the author but was unable to locate anything. A sequel to Move as Water in a Basin, with a forward time shift of a few years, would be an elemental journey that would be effortless to embark upon.


Night SweatsTitle: Nightsweats by M. Lee
Rating: 4 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | All Romance
Length: Short Story

When Jerome has a flashback and panic attack at work, Ryan helps him calm down and offers him a ride home. When they almost get into a car accident on the way, Jerome is set off again. Ryan stays with Jerome for dinner and the promise of dessert.

This is a sweet story, despite the appearance of military related flashbacks. We are able to get a sense of both Jerome and Ryan fairly easily within the short time frame of the story. Jerome and Ryan have been attracted to each other at work, but have never acted on their feelings.

Jerome has two flashbacks within a short amount of time. He recovers from them both fairly quickly, but can be set off again at any time. Ryan is completely unfazed by the flashbacks, even when one has Ryan searching for his weapon. Jerome and Ryan relate well to each other, enjoy an intimate moment, and it could be the start of a relationship.

 

A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.

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