Rating: 3.25 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

 

It shouldn’t have happened; and if it did (which it did), it was something that should never be mentioned again. Best, in fact, if it were forgotten entirely. But for Adam, that drunken night in the back of his car when Liam Morgan gave him the best night of his life and made him come harder than he ever had in the handful of back alley fumbles is one he doesn’t want to forget. For Liam, it was a little less magical. There was passion, there were sparks, there was a really good blowjob … and then he was pushed out of the car like a mistake. It’s not something he’s ever going to forget.

Tonight, though, is different. Tonight, the two young men are both putting forward a presentation before the magical community to win the Green Horizon Initiative, a project in which one of the magical families will hide in plain sight magical workings for a greener, more eco-friendly future — a challenging task with mundane humans not aware that magic exists. It comes with money, notoriety, and if done well, no little prestige, something Liam’s family could use.

Liam’s family are newly magical and are still unknown quantities in the magical circles of London, where ancient, tilted, and powerful magic houses keep a firm leash on who can and cannot use magic. If Liam could just get his foot in the door, it could change everything for them, but he’s up against Adam Harrington, powerful fire mage and scion of an ancient and magical family with all the money in the world to charm the judges to vote in their favor.

Luck is with Liam (or is it?) when the prize is announced. Liam’s ideas, especially the waste recycling, were a hit, and now the Green Horizon Initiative will be headed by both Liam and Adam, working together for a brighter future for all mankind. This is either going to work … or it really, really won’t.

Adam is the most powerful magic user in his house and, as such, all the hopes for his family’s future rest on his shoulders, especially as his brother and cousin are mere sparks, with very little magic. Adam is used to having to subtly perform magic for them, displays of power that can be attributed to them so no other house knows just how weak his family truly is without him. He’s proud, arrogant, and a nervous wreck. Everything is his responsibility and everything is his fault, and it isn’t helped with his father trying to marry him off.

Adam has nothing against Cassandra — the two of them are best friends — but they both like boys, which makes the idea of marrying her … not ideal. Liam, though, has Adam’s heart racing, even if he can’t always tell if it’s in anger or lust. The two of them snipe back and forth in a way that might almost be banter, if it weren’t so loaded with innuendo and heated with lust. Adam, however, can’t do anything about it, can’t let his father find out.

Liam is the eldest son of a moderately well off family — richer now with the reveal of Liam’s magic and their contracts for the magical gizmos they create. Liam works well with technology and has a secret of his own. Instead of only being able to use one magical element, or even two, he can use all four. He can also see magic, and see what magics other people have, as well as how powerful they are, a revelation his grandmother has sworn him to secrecy about. Liam has always been open about his sexuality, always been clear with his desires, but when it comes to Adam, he can’t stop looking and can’t stop wanting. He is, however, willing to be discreet for Adam’s sake, no matter how much he doesn’t want to be.

There’s a nice rivals to friends to lovers relationship in this book, ruined by a clumsy third-act breakup where the couple, for some random and unclear reason, part for half a chapter, and then get back together. It’s a moment so poorly done, so poorly structured that I took an entire point off of my review for it. I went back to re-read the chapters before the event to see what was going on, but I was left still confused and irked by the whole thing. Personally, I don’t think this book needed the breakup, as it added nothing to the characters, the relationship, or even the story.

Adam’s relationship with his father brings another moment that I think was poorly done and that colored my review of this book. Adam’s contentious relationship with his father is established, if slightly clumsily, with the father being stereotypically disappointed and indifferent to the only child of his with any actual magical potential. That’s fine. What isn’t fine, though, is

Spoiler title
the single sentence dismissal that says, in essence, “okay, you can go away now,” and that’s the end of it. Adam’s father kicks him out and Adam goes
and there is neither explanation nor resolution. Like the breakup, it feels as though it’s there to eat up pages rather than to be an actual story element to be dealt with and have repercussions.

The relationship between Adam and Liam is competent and well established, but I personally didn’t feel much chemistry between them. Adam and Liam don’t really have reactions to anything beyond just moving on to the next event with an occasional thought, but nothing seems to have any lingering effects. For example, the reveal at the end and the fates of Adam’s brother and cousin feel unearned, and Adam’s reaction feels like it is to shrug and do what the story tells him to do.

It’s a mixed reaction from me, to be honest. The writing is fine, the magic system is put together well enough to hold my interest, and the ideas of how to incorporate magic and technology are the best part of this book. However, so many character building moments fall flat and so much of the relationship feels more like friends with benefits than two characters falling in love. Overall, this felt like an uneven book, for me.