“Breakfast was the best time to plan a revolution.”
Leo Kinkaid has a plan. All he needs to do is kill a king, find a way for two opposing courts — the seelie and the unseelie — to come together, and to somehow bring in the humans as a balance. In doing so, he can avenge the death of his father, wrongly accused of treason; avenge his mother, now lying in coma from the beating she took trying to defend her husband and children; and finally, find some way to quiet the burning rage that has taken home in his own heart.
His plans are labyrinthine, cautious, and beautiful in their cunning. His world balances on a knife’s edge and yet, somehow that isn’t enough, because Leo still wants Renn, the satyr whose burning touch and willing body Leo can’t get out of his mind. Through careful planning, Leo has a chance to bring his two worlds together as he finally has a lead on the Redcap family he needs to investigate, a lead that — like a leash — will bring Renn to his side. Fifteen years ago Renn’s sister went missing, and lately more members of the fae courts, both seelie and unseelie, have also gone missing. It can’t be a coincidence.
With Renn at his side, Leo’s sister, his friend Claude, and a human hunter looking to make peace instead of war, Leo feels like he might actually win, this time. It’s all or nothing, for treason, for revolution, and for love.
This is book four in the Discord’s Desire series, which revolves around a rock band of various fae creatures — Renn, for example, is a satyr — involved with a variety of mischief and mayhem. The band has worked with Leo before, something that led to them being a party to a bit of anarchy and political upheaval that is alluded to, but other than shaping their past with Leo, doesn’t seem to affect the story itself. I had no issue reading this book as a standalone.
Renn is a satyr, a creature of lust and earthy passion who enjoys working up a crowd, and then taking one or two or more back to bed. But with Leo, it’s different. Somehow, the yaksha got under his skin and it wasn’t just the mind-blowing sex. Leo dominates Renn, knows how to push every button both in bed and out. With Leo, Renn can be as snarky or clever as he wants to be and be met, word for word, insult for insult, and kiss for kiss. Leo’s addictive, and Renn’s all too willing to take what he can get, knowing it’s only for now, for as long as Leo needs his help.
Leo is methodical, cautious, and always, always in control. In order to protect his sister, care for his mother, and enact his plan of revenge, he’s existed in a world of paranoia. The wrong look, the wrong smile — or lack of a smile — could ruin everything he’s worked so hard for, waste every life his plans have taken. Every relationship, except his sister, is just as calculated. Not too friendly, not too close, not too vulnerable … until Renn.
When Leo is at his lowest, Renn is the one there with a gentle embrace and a quiet understanding. Renn who doesn’t need him to be perfect, who enjoys the moments where Leo’s mask is, however briefly, set aside. And it’s in those moments that the two work at their best. Yes, there’s passion and good, vital sex, but the moments where they’re talking, laughing, being with one another without having to put on a show are the moments that bring them the closest. Neither man can promise eternity, but they can promise to be there for one another for as long as they can.
The writing is, at times, a bit stiff and stilted, and too many conversations seem to exist simply for exposition, but every now and again you get moments like this:
“Careful,” Leo warned. “Talking all treasonous like that makes it sound like you’re flirting with rebellion.”
Renn rolled his eyes. “Well I would be fucking with rebellion, but we’re too busy tiptoeing away in the night.”
The rapport between the characters feels natural and honest. I was actually amused in parts, and while I didn’t get as much of a feel for the rest of the band (who, I have no doubt, make more of an appearance in earlier books in the series where they take the spotlight), I did enjoy Renn and Leo. A lot of the planning and plotting takes place off-screen, so to speak, which … while it leaves me as surprised or confused as other characters, only slightly works for me in this book. Leo is a planner who has been working on his plots for years, but it does feel a little convenient to have so many things explained away by events off page. Even so, this was a fun book and, even though the pacing had its uneven moments, I still enjoyed it.