Title: Jack of Thorns
Series: Inheritance #1
Author(s): Amelia Faulkner
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: LoveLight Press
Pages/Word Count: 442 pages
Florist. Psychic. Addict.
Laurence Riley coasts by on good looks and natural charm, but underneath lies a dark chasm that neither heroin nor lovers can fill. Sobriety is a pipe dream which his stalker ex-boyfriend is pushing him away from. Luckily, Laurence has powers most can only dream of. If only he could control them.
Aristocrat. Psychic. Survivor.
Quentin d’Arcy is the product of centuries of wealth, privilege, and breeding, and is on the run from all three. A chance encounter with an arresting young florist with a winning smile could make him stop. Laurence is kind, warm, and oddly intriguing but Quentin’s wild telekinesis and his fear of sex make dating a dangerous game.
When opposites attract, they collide.
Desperate to fix his rotting life, Laurence prays for aid and accidentally summons a fertility god who prefers to be called Jack. Jack is willing to help out for a price, and it’s one Laurence just can’t pay: he must keep Jack fed with regular offerings of sex, and the florist has fallen for the one man in San Diego who doesn’t want any.
If they’re to survive Jack’s wrath, Laurence and Quentin must master their blossoming feelings and gifts, but even then the cost of Laurence’s mistake could well overwhelm them both. How exactly are mere mortals supposed to defeat a god?
Jack of Thorns is the first book in the Inheritance series and contains mature themes and events which may be distressing to some readers. It has a low heat rating and an HFN ending.
I have to admit, when I saw the paranormal romance heading on the cover of this book, I thought, “Oh no, not another gay werewolf love story!”. This was nothing like that. For one, there are no werewolves, or vampires. This story is set in a world that basically mirrors our own, except there are some differences. There are magical beings, but they aren’t “out” to the general population, and they are rare occurrences, and not prolific by any standards.
Laurence and Quentin happen to be two of these magical beings, but they are unaware of their powers for the most part, and don’t fully confront their abilities until they serendipitously run into each other, and a dangerous stranger takes an interest in them.
The characterizations were a win for me. Laurence is an addict, and there’s no glossing over his addiction. He’s not recovered. He’s not safe. He’s very much constantly on the edge of losing his grip on reality, which makes for a very interesting plot device and helps to characterize him. Toward the end I got the feeling as if Laurence’s addiction was somehow a product of his magical powers, but that idea wasn’t fully formed by the end of the novel (this is a series, so there may be more on that).
Quentin was an absolute favorite. He was fussy and proper to the point of cruel indifference, and he had delightful speech and mannerisms (the author is British, I think, so that helped). I could see him very clearly in my mind’s eye. This wasn’t explicitly stated, but I got the distinct impression that Quentin was on the asexuality spectrum somewhere. And partly because of that, the “heat level” was very low for this book. More of the sexual thoughts happen in Laurence’s head than Quentin’s, who seems perplexed and sometimes deeply disturbed by the sexuality that goes on around him. I really enjoyed his character and all his eccentricities.
As the blurb says, this has a happy ending, but I think it’s clear we can expect more from this series, and that pleases me.
B. A. Brock is a reviewer for The Novel Approach and Queer Sci Fi. He enjoys reading, writing, running, family and food, and fills his life with bent bunk. He especially loves to discuss LGBTQ+ literature. His website is http://www.babrockbooks.com. You can find him on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/BABrockBooks.