Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance
Aindreas is an elf, as well as a bisexual switch. For centuries, he’s bounced from lover to lover, and depending on his mood has been with both women and men, as well as playing both a Dom and a sub. He’s not exactly looking for more, but he made a promise to his friend Faolan that if the paranormal dating service Divine Interventions worked for Faolan, then he would sign up as well.
Takeshi is a kitsune—Japanese fox shifter. Kidnapped at the age of 11 from the mortal realm and forced to live in slavery in Otherworld at his uncle Yoshi’s discretion, Takeshi is now free. He’s spent the last two years liberating other half shifters that have been held imprisoned by his uncle. Now that the task is complete, and at the urging of his sister Nora, he settles in the mortal realm. Also at his sister’s urging, he agrees to try Divine Interventions to find someone to spend his life with. Though he’s not sure of his sexuality or his inclinations, he’s willing to give it a try.
Takeshi meets his match at a restaurant and is surprised to see Aindreas, whom he met once previously at his sister’s wedding. The shock of his match being a man wears off quickly, but he is still wary. Aindreas makes him skittish, always has. Though he’s willing to give dating the man a try, once he finds out what sexual kink Aindreas is into, he has second thoughts. Aindreas is patient, and he wants things to work with Takeshi, but he knows that if the man isn’t on board with his sexual preferences, it won’t work between them. Aindreas may be a switch, but the lifestyle is something he needs.
Together the two men begin to explore the possibilities between them. Though there are bumps in the road, and Takeshi nearly runs at one point, it’s clear they have a strong connection. Takeshi learns about the BDSM lifestyle and what he needs to do in order to satisfy Aindreas. But he also discovers a part of himself that needs to submit. When he realizes that Aindreas is actually his mate, Takeshi lets that last barrier down and accepts his wants and needs.
This is the fourth book in the Matched by Magic series. I haven’t read the previous three, two of which are m/f romances, but I can tell you that Elf Struck works just fine as a standalone. I didn’t have any problem following along, and everything was explained well. Though characters from previous books make an appearance, I never felt like I was missing anything. And I’m really glad because I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
We are first introduced to Aindreas, and it was great way to begin the story. He’s cheeky and a bit flighty, but underneath he has a seriousness that is important in the kind of sexual lifestyle he lives. He’s also got a gentle heart and is very much a caretaker. When he gets the opportunity to move to Reno and help to run a new club, it’s easy to see that he’s the perfect choice. He identifies with both Doms and subs, as well as both men and women, and he’s very good at putting people at ease. This really comes in handy when he meets his skittish match.
Takeshi has lived most of his life as a captive, and for the last two years has had the sole focus of freeing other captives. Now that his mission is over, he is at loose ends. I loved the way his character was developed as the story progressed. Our first glimpse of him is as he’s liberating the very last of the captives, and we get to see the core of him immediately. But he’s essentially new to the mortal realm, at least he hasn’t lived there in more than two decades, and he has some acclimating to do. Especially where sex is concerned. He’s a virgin, and completely unsure about what he wants. His discovery of Aindreas and his lifestyle is a revelation, but one he is willing to explore. Though parts of his past make certain aspect of pain play off limits, Takeshi is mostly willing to experiment. What I also loved here was that it wasn’t exactly an easy journey for him. He took steps back as well as forward, and in the end came to really know what he needed and wanted.
One of the things I truly appreciated was the way the author handled the lifestyle. Safe, sane, and consensual was often repeated, and that was important for Takeshi to learn and remember. The characters had numerous discussions about what was involved in all aspect of play, and hard limits were discussed. When Takeshi was learning how to be a Dom, he had an experienced Domme at his back to assist or step in if he needed it. This whole thing was handled incredibly well, and I really liked that the author took the time with it.
The connection between Takeshi and Aindreas sparked off the page. It was easy to see their compatibility, and I wanted to see them work past their hurdles and get to their HEA. The sexual attraction was always simmering just under the surface. If I had one quibble, it would be that I would have liked to see a bit more of the relationship development that didn’t revolve around discussions about the BDSM lifestyle. It didn’t exactly cause a detriment to the story, the men truly found out important things about each other with these discussions, but I would have liked to see a bit more outside of that.
Suffice it to say, if a wonderfully built paranormal world and BDSM are your thing, you’ll definitely want to put this one on your list.