silk and sand coverRating: 4.5 stars
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Length: Novel

 

Seth is a Curator for the Arcanum College where he works hunting down archane artifacts. When an archanist murders another scholar and steals an important book, Seth is asked to find the man and bring him in for questioning. It is proving difficult, however, as Julian seems to have fled the major cities. Seth has tracked him to a remote trading village, but loses the trail as the man escapes into the desolate desert.

Even as a skilled tracker and fighter, Seth is not prepared for the harsh environment of the desert, and he reluctantly accepts that he needs a guide. Unfortunately, the best candidate is the sexy (but annoying) man Seth has seen around town. Raider is clearly a thief and a liar, and something about his easy grin and his obvious enjoyment of life just rubs Seth the wrong way. The fact that Raider’s body is somehow implanted with archane quicksilver also raises a lot of questions. But Seth is nothing if not dedicated to his job, and if he needs to travel with Raider in order to accomplish his goals, he will do it.

The men spend long days traversing the dangerous desert. Seth does his best to keep his distance, but it is not long before Raider’s easy charm begins to draw him in. The attraction between the men is intense and Seth eventually gives in to his desire for Raider. The two men are so different, yet they end up being a perfect match for one another. As their time on the road draws to a close, both Seth and Raider begin to hope for something more, but neither man is sure of the other’s feelings. But there is more going on with this quest than either man knows, and each has secrets they have not yet shared. Seth and Raider have fallen hard for one another; now they must figure out if there is a chance to move forward together, or if the situation will tear them apart.

Silk & Sand is the first book in Katherine Diane’s new Seth & Raider series. I don’t read much fantasy, but something about the blurb just drew me in and I am happy to say that I loved this story. The world building here is engaging, set in a world that feels sort of Middle Eastern, with the descriptions of the dress, food, and locale. Diane brings the world to life, particularly during the harsh trip through the desert. There is a solid sense of place, and while we don’t get a lot of detail into the world of the Arcanum College, the people the men meet and the locations they visit during their journey are well built.

I am a fan of road trip stories and that really is the focus of much of the book, as Seth and Raider travel together. They spend most of the trip just the two of them, which gives them a chance to really get to know one another better. The story starts out with an enemies to lovers vibe, as Raider irritates Seth to no end. There is sort of grumpy/sunshine dynamic between them, as Seth is all about duty and discipline, while Raider is much more easy going and full of life. But Diane also does a nice job really developing this dynamic between them and we see there is a lot more to Raider than his seemingly breezy attitude. Seth also comes to realize how much he misses in life by not being open to happiness and enjoyment, and so there is a nice balance here to their dynamic. Things start out tense between them, but soften as they act on their attraction and eventually fall for one another. I enjoyed the dynamic between Seth and Raider and I think the author does a nice job really developing their bond and exploring each of their characters.

The story takes a turn as the men arrive at their destination and neither is quite sure how to tell each other that they want more. As they arrive in town and begin to dig further into where their fugitive may have gone, the story has some exciting and intense twists that expose secrets and lies on many fronts. This one ends with somewhat of a cliffhanger. It is not totally open-ended, but at the same time, there is much more to come both for the overarching story and for the relationship between Seth and Raider.

Overall, I found this one super engaging and I am really intrigued with all we discover here. I am very excited to see what is coming up next for the men and can’t wait for the next book.

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