This second book in the ‘Year of Eyes’ trilogy is about Ladon, a vampire lord who is a healer, and Kai, a lycan who has suffered disdain from some in his pack due to his grandfather’s crime. It was interesting to return to the lycan village from a previous book in the series. Life really does move at a different pace there, and seeing Ladon adjust to figure out why he has felt so pulled toward the place was fun. But not everything is as easy as it looks, and the difficulties Kai faces because of his lack of self-confidence was outright painful at times. But his angst as opposed to Ladon's certainty and stubborn insistence did make for a somewhat suspenseful story. Ladon no longer has an “assistant”, now that Shigure turned out to be mated to Kyros, Ladon's older brother. But Ladon is a passionate healer who studies medicine, alchemy, and folklore so he is not short of projects. One of them includes visiting the lycans, who seem to have quite a different approach to life on Valladora than humans, vampires, and other paranormal beings who live there. As soon as Ladon arrives, he notices a young man who keeps staring at him, and grows curious about who he is and why he seems so drawn to him. Kai has more than one issue, but they all stem from the secret connection he has with Ladon's past. It is also the reason why almost everyone has shunned him all his life, and why, in turn, he is withdrawn and afraid of contact with others. Kai is curious about Ladon, and when the vampire lord comes to visit yet again, Kai can’t stop himself from staring. One thing leads to anther and they happily share a bed, but when Ladon informs him that they are mated, Kai panics and runs. He thinks he isn’t good enough for Ladon, and it takes more than one adventure and some heroics for Kai to get the point that mates are mates and that’s the end of any discussion – as far as Ladon is concerned. If you like the Valladoran adventures in this series, if you enjoy reading about a patient vampire teaching a somewhat wild wolf that there is more to life than old family feuds, and if you're looking for an angsty read with lots of hot loving, then you will probably like this novella.
The Year of Eyes, 2
Ladon lost his protégé, but he has a mission to take his mind off the loneliness. When he arrives at the lycan settlement, however, he meets a handsome young man who reminds him with every glance exactly how lonely he’s been for many years. The problem is, the man he’s so entranced by seems to hate him.
Kai has been curious about Lord Ladon all this life. He and the vampire are linked in a way he is reluctant to divulge, but soon Ladon demands an explanation for Kai’s scowls and long glances. When they discover they’re mates, Kai is certain it’s a mistake. His mind says they could never work, but can his body and heart convince him to submit and let the fates give him the happiness that has always been out of his reach?
Be Warned: m/m sex, spanking, rimming, bondage
Kai stared at the door of the hut where Ladon slept. The light of the three moons made everything glow on this clear night, and the air held only a slight chill. His body ached from his hard run, just as it ached from the unfulfilled need festering inside of him. What would Ladon do if Kai went to him? Would he laugh? Would he be angry? Kai had to find out. He took a deep breath and walked over to the door. As he raised his hand to knock softly, the door flew open.
Ladon yanked him inside and closed the door, bolting it and then slamming Kai against it. Their lips were inches apart as Ladon said, “I didn’t have to ask anyone about you. I know why you did what you did.”
“Why?” Kai asked, his breath mingling with Ladon’s.
“You’re afraid.” Ladon licked at the corner of his mouth and then kissed him. This time, Ladon went slow, the sensual pace tortuous to Kai.
Kai tried to take more, but Ladon pulled his head back each time, keeping Kai in place by pushing his arm across his chest. Ladon smiled and looked into Kai’s eyes as he unlaced Kai’s pants. Kai trembled when Ladon exposed his cock and stroked it. Ladon looked down at what he held in his hand and then back up into Kai’s eyes.
“Have you ever had a lover?” Ladon asked.
“I … not really.”
Ladon stroked him gently and kissed his neck. “Tell me.”
“I’m not attracted to women. But there was one boy a long time ago. We would kiss and touch each other. He wanted to take me, but I was nervous. He found someone else. And there was another, a man just passing through. We spent a few evenings together. He did everything. I’m not a virgin, but I wouldn’t say I’ve ever had a lover.” He looked at Ladon, wondering if he would understand. “I’m waiting to use that label for someone who actually cares for me.”
Ladon licked and sucked on Kai’s neck. “Do you wish to stop?” He nibbled on Kai’s earlobe, which made Kai gasp. “You’ll have to tell me soon, if you do.”
“No. Please don’t stop.” Kai couldn’t believe the sound of his own voice, the way he was begging for Ladon’s touch. It troubled him briefly, and Ladon must have seen it in his eyes.
“Just relax. You’re here because you want me as much as I want you. You can’t go on denying yourself the touch of another. I can see what it’s doing to you.” Ladon pumped his cock faster. “You’re beautiful, and you stir something inside me. I don’t give a damn who your ancestor was or what others think of you. I fucking dare anyone to speak against you in my presence.”
Ladon’s reaction both confused and exhilarated him. “You’re the one who’s beautiful, my lord.”
Ladon chuckled and smiled. “Glad you think so.” His lips went to Kai’s ear again, licking and then nibbling. “Will you make love with me?”
“Y-y-yes.” Kai arched against the man working his cock. Ladon’s hand felt so much better than his own. The vampire must be very experienced. “I may not … I don’t know if…”
“What, little wolf?” Ladon drew back to look in his eyes. “What worries you?”
“I might not be any good, but I’ll obey your instructions. Try to please you.” Kai couldn’t hold the vampire’s gaze, feeling gauche and silly.
Ladon stood perfectly still, his hand falling away from Kai’s cock. He released Kai and stepped back. Kai almost panicked. Was Ladon going to stop and send him away? But then Ladon cupped his face in both his hands. “What happened to the arrogant man who ran from me?” the vampire asked with a sexy smile.
Kai bit his lower lip. “I think he’s too scared to come out.”
“Then I’ll draw him out.” Ladon dropped to his knees and immediately began licking and sucking Kai’s cock.
Ladon is a vampire who has lost his protégé and takes off to get his mind off his loneliness. Ladon is a man who has learned from his past and seems to be a very understanding man. Kai is a wolf shifter whose parents killed Ladon’s parents. Kai is under the impression (and from how the others in his village treat him it’s not unexpected) that Ladon hates him. Kai is a caring young man who just wants to be accepted. He expects to be treated badly. The connection between Ladon and Kia is intense. Ladon keeps calm and lets Kia return to him no matter how much Kia runs. The sex scenes were smoldering. I loved seeing Ladon support Kia unconditionally. This book is very well written. The overall plot was very believable. The main and secondary characters were interesting and mesmerizing. At 75 pages long, this story had a well-defined beginning, middle and end.The ending of the story was a bit predictable but given the overall length of the story, it was expected. Overall, this was a great book. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.