Count Ellydhar Finn-Jánn, informally known as Elly, is the aristocratic lord of a province that is currently filled with unrest. Inspector Käyru Skaer is the son of a blacksmith, a low born Inspector, and he’s been Elly’s lover for the past two years. Käyru knows he will never be seen as good enough for Elly and all of their time together is moments stolen and moments he treasures as he never knows if this time will be their last time. The men fit in the most remarkable of ways and Käyru naturally exudes the dominance that Elly craves.
The climate in the region, however, is volatile as recently settled Nymph refugees aren’t always welcomed by the locals. When a bloody triple murder leads Käyru back to the refugee camp, Käyru unexpectedly needs Elly’s assistance and what he gets in return is nothing short of life-altering for them both. Society tells them they can’t be together due to their differences in social standing, but the men may realize that life is too short to live apart.
This book is the second story set within The Order Universe. The first story, The Mutt, introduced us to the elves, while the MCs here are human and the setting is outside of the Elven Country. I thoroughly enjoyed the elves so much that I wondered if the human side of this universe would be as enchanting, but once again Bacon has created a fascinating world.
When the story opens, Elly and Käyru have been lovers for two years. Since they are already somewhat of an established couple, there are a few things you just have to accept, yet the author does a fabulous job of immersing us into their story and offering the needed glimpses of their early days that were easily threaded through the book. Their relationship is sexually charged to the max. While Elly has the higher social standing, he likes to be dominated and the play on these two sides of his personality, while subtle, was well done. Käyru is enthralled by Elly and dominance comes naturally to him and their intimate scenes are filled with hands on throats as Elly is being pressed to the mattress, to the wall, and yielding to and obeying Käyru in the height of passion. The language is also visual and passionate as Käyru recounts early on what each moment is like that he gets to spend with Elly.
I cherished our stolen moments, shiny glimpses of happiness. Like a fool, I threaded them onto the cord of my memory in the desperate hope of creating a fully beaded string one day.
The other side of this story is the political unrest permeating the Empire and Käyru’s search for a killer. The politics could mirror the current political climate and at other times it could spin it in a different direction. No one area overshadows the other, but we are given a good sense of where the MCs stand on the issue. The book also incorporates paranormal creatures and skirts the edges of both darkness and violence while adding in edgy dialogue that’s written the way I like to read.
There are many stories waiting to be told in this universe between the humans, the elves, and even the paranormal elements and the back of the book suggests another short story as well as a full length novel in the works. Bacon writes stories that are easy to fall into and I’m ready to go to all the places within this world. The Poison Within offers a lot of story in a shorter space while it opens as a love story and closes as a love story.
He stole my heart the second he offered me a smile.