The Nymph Prince, book two in Jacyln Osborn’s Tales of Fate series, picks up almost immediately at the end of the first novel, Found at Sea. This time we find out who and what grabbed Alek from the water after he was wounded. The answer is Lorcan, Triton’s own son, and he is that rare creature, a nymph. As these two men get closer to each other, they realize there is an irrevocable bond between them—they are fated mates. But Alek has a darkness growing inside him that he fights to control. Lorcan will do anything to help his mage, but as both their dreams speak of deadly and horrible acts that Alek seems to feature in, they both realize that fate may not have a happy ever after in store for either of them.
This is Alek’s story and what a tale it is. Having to deal with the fact that he is tainted goods and that inside him grows the recipe for a darkness so great that no mage before him had ever wielded such power, Alek holds himself back from declaring his love for Lorcan—despite the truth. In reality, poor Alek is afraid. Nothing and no one he has loved has ever done well in his care and he has lost more than any man should ever have to bear. He worries that the moment he reveals the depth of his love for Lorcan, the nymph will be taken from him and that is something Alek could not survive. But, as time goes on, we are privy to the fact that Alek’s lack of honesty is taking its toll on Lorcan and causing him pain every time the two of them are intimate.
For Lorcan, love and its physical consummation is akin to breathing. The merfolk are a sensuous people, often taking multiple partners unless they find their mate—then the bond is so deep and great that to be apart causes deep emotional pain and they crave no other by their side or in their bed. Lorcan is tied to Alek and he knows that despite what Alek may fear about the evil he thinks he’s capable of, Lorcan will stand by his mage until death parts them. But he can’t combat Alek’s lack of trust and that is something Alex must come to grips with if the two are to become fully mated.
This story was rich in imagery and long in romance—a slow burn that was both emotional and sexy. I felt for poor Alek as he struggled to beat back both his fears about losing the man he loved and his ever growing sense of unease about the recurring dreams where he is hailed as the King of the Dark. These two men love each other intensely, but struggle with how exactly to believe that love will be enough to see them through the upcoming nightmare of battle with the dark forces rising in the land. The end of this novel is no doubt going to be a shock for some and perhaps even hard to accept, but if you keep in mind that the author repeatedly tells us through Lorcan’s own musings that the merfolk are a sensual people, then I think it will make sense to most. There are quite a few delicious plot twists during the climatic final scenes and they are sure to make you want to rail and cry against the fates that seem hellbent on tearing Lorcan and Alek apart. But never fear, Osborn is a consummate storyteller and she guards her men even while she lets them feel the full brunt of the evil that is vowing to destroy their lives.
The Nymph Prince is a solid second installment in the Tales of Fate series and one that is sure to make fans of the first novel thrilled with the fate of our intrepid mage.