Tikron Amorith is a warlock who needs to find a true love match before his 350th birthday—one month away—or his immortality will be forfeit, thanks to a curse. All his long years will be served at once, and Tikron will likely disintegrate into a pile of dust. There are a couple of ways around this fate, like to convince his mother to marry Mysdus, leader of the Feara Luirg and the warlock who originally cursed him, or find a powerful counter-curse. Working on the problem with his bestie and fellow warlock, Ryxium, Tikron’s unwilling to give up. They step out for needed sustenance to burn the midnight oil, and Tikron’s struck dumb encountering a rather plain looking human.
Richard Beaumont is a young mathematics professor, who may also be on the spectrum. He’s a gay man, but he’s never had to worry about sharing that status; he’s hardly ever had a boyfriend. Richard would like a stable partnership, like that of his parents, but the likelihood of finding a gay, attractive, intelligent man seems astonishingly low—according to Richard’s calculations. So, he brushes Tikron off. Again and again. That boorish brute could never satisfy his intellectual needs, especially when he starts talking about love at first sight and magic.
Tikron doesn’t have a lot of time to convince Richard that they are fated to be together, and discussion seems unlikely to persuade him. So, Tikron and Ryxium begin to plan elaborate meet-cute scenarios that Richard cannot explain away logically, or statistically. He honestly thinks he’s ill—maybe dying—but Tikron’s quick to assure him that magic is real, and Richard is finally able to consider trusting him. (Now that his doctor gave him a clean bill of health!) They actually hit it off, both physically and intellectually. Richard’s whole world view is twisting on its axis, and when it seems to be his darkest moment is unfolding, Tikron is there, offering him hope—of the magical kind.
I liked the way this story moved. Tikron’s used to having his pick of partners and Richard’s a die-hard skeptic. Tikron’s wooing is generally all wrong—even bringing Richard flowers to which he is allergic—but Richard can see his efforts and respects that Tikron’s genuinely interested in him. Their forays into the physical are sweet and tentative. And, Tikron’s okay with it. He knows he needs to win Richard’s heart, not just his body. It seems the more Richard is shown that magic exists, the more he’s willing to jump into this new understanding of his world. He feels special, to know these secrets, and cherished by Tikron’s affection. It’s just as magical, watching Richard come to terms with a loving partnership—one he believes is even more powerful than that of his parents. His ideas of logic and statistics aren’t tossed aside, but they do give way to a more well-rounded perspective. Tikron’s growth comes from recognizing that he might be too late to find love, but never giving up hope that Richard might care for him. During their month-long courtship, there are moments of sweet intimacy and Tikron resigning himself to the end of his days. Not that Richard will allow it—once he learns the scope of Tikron’s curse.
This is an odd couple romance, with magic, mischief, and sweetness. There’s a bit of sexytimes, but expect a slow burn. I love the interactions with Tikron and Ryxium, with his mother, and mostly with Richard. Richard’s own personal interactions via phone calls with his mother are melancholy, and give us deep insight into his drab upbringing. Ryxium and Tikron are a bit of pranksters, so there’s lots of levity to break up the dire stakes. It was so fun having Richard watch “Bewitched” and wonder if Tikron could wiggle his nose! The end is in fact a solid beginning to what could be a very long happily ever after for Tikron and Richard.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.