This was a really good book. I enjoyed it. It took me a bit to kind of get what was going on at first but it was so worth it. Rikko was born as Lasse in the middle of a war. His mother was taken and raped and he was conceived. Unfortunately, the people who took her were people who caused her to change into a very nasty person. Much like a vamp. And Rikko was born half and half. Even though his mother had to die, no one would kill him at birth, thinking he had a right to live. But everyone was wary of him. Especially when he came across as being a little different and they figured out he had a bit of his mother in him. A bit of that demon, that darkness. And he knew at age 10, he had to run for his life. Thankfully, because of the war, many were running with him so he wasn’t singled out. He eventually found life on the seas and earned his way up the ranks as a second on a pirate ship. They ended up capturing Gael’s ship as he was headed for a new land to complete his studies as a doctor. Against the wishes of his entire family, he left anyway. So when he was captured, he was terrified. He never expected this. Thankfully, Rikko felt for him as he was about to be sold as a slave and bought him himself. And Gael proved his worth in healing cuts and setting bones and such. Everyone thought the world of him until he made a mistake. By writing a letter to his aunt, the Queen, to get Rikko to try to side with her and help her in what she wanted. But it turned into a small war where many were lost and killed and they were taken as prisoner. Even Gael to a point. But Rikko made a deal and freed them all. Gael escaped what his family was going to do to him, but will Rikko forgive him for what he’s done or will he and the old crew kill him when they find out it was him that was to blame for all that had happened? I don’t know which of these two I felt sorry for the most. Rikko, for being born in a time that wasn’t his fault, and for how he was treated. Or Gael, for having to endure a life as a slave and so much more than he knew. But the sad part is Gael was really adjusting to the life until he screwed up. He hadn’t meant for it to turn out the way it did. He really loved the crew and Rikko even more. But he was just trying to do what he thought was right by his aunt. He was young and quite naive. Rikko, himself had made his own mistakes that he regretted. One, including his reaction when he found out what Gael had done. It’s a hard story. A hard life for pirates and anyone in that time. But it made for one hell of a book and adventure. It’s really good.
Born in the northern wastes of Kaleva in the middle of a devastating war between light and darkness, Rikko’ has found his way south to the warm shores of the Circled Sea, the first elver to ever turn pirate.
Forbidden by the rules of the Andalouan court to pursue such an ungentlemanly career, Gael can only dream of ever becoming a doctor, and his medical studies remain unfinished until his aunt the Queen sends him on a covert mission to the pirate city of Beyas’kahl.
And here, after one night with Rikko’, all his loyalties are put to the test.
Queen Amata has reigned for three decades, and she always used her men cunningly. But even the best player can miscalculate, and her blunder places Gael first in slavery, then in a naval battle, and finally, worst of all, face to face with Rikko’s darkest and deadliest side.
From such darkness, is there any coming back? Is there any hope of love for Gael, or redemption for Rikko’?
Be Warned: m/m sex
“Come, Puna, sweetie,” he said, plucking the lemur off Gael’s shoulder with one hand. He placed her on his chest of drawers, on a pile of freshly laundered clothes, her favorite bedding in the world, after himself. She grumbled a little but soon settled down. “And as for you, my boy, you come here to me,” he whispered, drawing Gael to the edge of his bed, where they both tumbled down together, kissing.
Gael was still frantically pecking at him, with those tight-lipped clueless kisses that drove Rikko’ to distraction. He let himself be kissed like that for some minutes—it was so ridiculously lovable.
Ah, it is a pity to teach him anything, he thought. I wish I could keep him like this forever. He knows nothing, except that he has this need…
But you can’t have your cake and eat it, I suppose.
“Wait, sweet, wait,” he whispered finally, and laid Gael on his back, pinning his body down with his folded leg as he lay beside him, and took his cheek in his palm. He put his mouth to Gael’s mouth, and gently, slowly, savoring every minute instant of it, he ran the tip of his tongue along the seam of those tightly closed lips, lightly at first, then harder, until the lips finally parted, like two halves of a plum, and Gael gasped in surprise and then lust. His body arched in desire when Rikko’s tongue met his, and he groaned with hunger, welcoming the new intimacy of that tongue-to-tongue kiss with an adoring fierceness that had Rikko’ near to tears with emotion. He groaned again, hugging Rikko’ closer, sinking his fingers in his hair, touching his face and neck and ears, pursuing his mouth when Rikko’ pulled back to breathe, licking Rikko’s lips.
Rikko’ had never met any grown man (Gael was young, sure, but not a child—Rikko’ despised child lovers, and never, ever went close to the little creatures himself) both so inexperienced, so shy, and yet so wholeheartedly passionate. It was enchanting, and utterly enflaming. He laughed softly and pulled back from the kisses. This was just too much. He could not wait any longer. He needed to touch this boy properly all over; he had to have his cock in his mouth, and maybe, if Gael was so inclined, inside that beautiful, taut little butt.
“Too many clothes,” he said, in Gael’s ear. He kicked off his flip-flops, and realized, with a bit of a shock, that he was still wearing his dagger, stuck in his sash, and his sword belt. He had forgotten all about them. He crossed the room to lay both weapons on his chest of drawers and untied his sash, and felt Gael’s hands on his hips.
“C—can I? Sir? Please?” whispered the boy, and Rikko’ smiled as Gael, with almost religious awe, unwound the length of silk from around his waist and hips and let it fall to the floor around his feet.
Rikko’ stepped out of the puddled folds and murmured, “You too.”
He finished undressing in a few seconds. He never wore a lot. It just got in the way.
Gael took off his clothes, and Rikko’ watched him from the bed, waiting. Under those strangely unattractive breeches and shirt, he was every bit as delicious as Rikko’ had always known he would be, not particularly muscular, but sleek and quick, and just a little awkward, like a young animal, full-grown but still uncertain of his body.
Rikko’ pulled him close, pressing that lithe soft form against his own, and their cocks met halfway, both hard and quite ready, so that they had to be pulled up against their bellies for them to embrace. Rikko’ smiled and palmed Gael’s butt, and kissed him, deep and long, and then put a hand between them and took the boy’s member in his fingers just for a bit of a feel, a bit of foreplay.
He tugged at the lovely taut cock once.
Gael gave a sort of astonished yelp, tensed all over, and then moaned wildly against Rikko’s shoulder, oh, oh, ooh, and suddenly Rikko’ found himself awash in hot, splashing, dripping jets of sperm, all down his belly, lap, and leg, a veritable, goddamn, bleeding flood of it.
He let go, dumbfounded, and then burst into laughter.
“Wh—well, I’ll be … what the…” he began, but, really, he could only laugh. I just barely touched him!
“Damn it, doctor, our ship sprung a leak,” he said finally, still laughing. “I’m drowned!”
“Oh gods, oh gods, oh gods,” said Gael, absolutely frantic, “oh gods, sir, I am so sorry!” He jumped out of bed, fumbling around. “I’ll find my handkerchief, sir, I’ll mop it up this minute…”
Rikko’ laughed even harder and stretched out to pull him back in bed.
“Stop that. Leave it. Leave it, damn it! It’s all right. I’m joking. It’s all right! It’s all good! Stuff’s good for the skin, it is known. Leave it.” He couldn’t stop laughing.
Foreign shores, sea battles, a sophisticated one-eyed elf, a naive young doctor with family issues, and a lemur! It was a fun read (mixed with angst at times), in the elegant traditions of pirate fiction. And although it's a M/M story, the scene when Rikko' meets Queen Amata is most noteworthy :)
4.5 stars, rounded up for excellent voice. This is a thoroughly enjoyable high seas tale with one of the most unique MCs I've read in a while (Rikko'). Now, during a formulative phase I saw Orlando Bloom as Legolas, which imprinted upon me an appreciation for blond elves, but Rikko' was a more interesting character. He's a delightful bundle of contradictions. Plus, his internal thoughts are very entertaining, and I do so enjoy when a character's voice draws me in. Despite addressing some heavy topics, the book doesn't want for moments of levity, and I think some of those are the best scenes in the book. It's not easy to write a sex scene that's funny and hot. Speaking of which, I'd like to give extra sex-scene kudos for the fact that Gael's first attempts at blowjobs are realistic in terms of jaw soreness. It's a thing, and too often ignored in fiction.