Book Title: Twenty-One Arrow Salute (Order Series #Book 2.5)
Author: Kasia Bacon
Cover Artist: Ying Draws
Genre/s: NA Fantasy
Length: 23 000 words/ 100 pages
Release Date: June 11, 2018
Other stories in the series: The Mutt #1, The Highlander #2
An archer’s heart is a hard target to hit…
Verhan Tŭrryés of Black Mountain is a handful.
Freshly enlisted in the Highland Regiment, he does all he can to steer clear of responsibility and commitment. Just not his cup of mead, that. Loose of tongue and even looser of morals, he rarely misses an opportunity to get into trouble—and into the other archers’ knickers, too.
In a unit composed almost entirely of Dark Elves, Hernan Seinnés, with his green eyes and auburn hair, is an outsider. When Verhan, up the creek again, is blackmailed into helping Hernan, he never expects to fall for him. But during the long hours spent training Hernan for the Honour Guard, feelings strike the Highlander right in the heart—and with the force of an arrow.
Unversed in relationships, Verhan finally plucks up enough courage to tell Hernan how he feels, only to drive the Asirhwӱnian away instead. If Verhan can swallow his pride, he might get one last chance to show Hernan what he means to him—and maybe this time he can hit the mark.
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My Two Pennies Worth
I can’t believe I nearly passed up the chance to read these books. I hadn’t heard of the author and was already committed to review more than enough books. But the comparatively short nature of the stories worked in their favour and the blurbs intrigued me, so I signed up.
I’m so pleased I said yes. These books are a joy.
The world building, of an elven army and the different regiments, is excellent and information is slipped unobtrusively into the story. The author provides a Glossary at the back of the books but I felt no need to check it. I never once felt lost in the narrative or clueless as to who or what something was.
The Mutt starts the series. Written from the POV of Ervyn, a dark elf archer, it tells the tale of his attraction to the mysterious Lochan Feyes, a half-elf/half-human (mutt) assassin training for the elite scout unit. Ervyn is determined to break down Lochan’s defensiveness. This is the shortest of the three books and whets your appetite for what is to come. A taster that leaves you craving more. But for such a short story it really packs a wallop of feelings and desire.
The Highlander continues the story of Ervyn and Lochan, but this time told from Lochan’s POV. It gives more of an insight into Lochan’s mind and why he is so distant, but also into the relationship as the pair are together now, albeit in a seemingly casual way. But what it really shows is Ervyn’s devotion to Lochan and how badly Lochan needs Ervyn. Of course, a lack of communication threatens to waylay the path of true love but Lochan pulls it back in the nick of time.
I’m eager to read The Scout, which is due out this autumn, and continues their tale.
And it those two reads weren’t good enough now we get to the new release, Twenty-One Arrow Salute. This features Verhan, Ervyn’s smart-mouthed irreverent cousin. He’s passed basic training and is now assigned to The Queen’s Regiment in the capital. He’s a good archer, or he wouldn’t have made it into the regiment, but he’s mouthy, easily lured into a brawl, and a self-proclaimed equal opportunities man-whore. When he gets caught spying on an officer in a bath-house, his immediate superior blackmails him into helping out another new recruit.
Hernan Seinnes, is a redhead Asirwynian in a regiment made up predominantly of dark-haired dark-elves, and he’s been chosen to be the lead archer in the Queen’s celebrations. It took me a moment to realise that Hernan was the same archer we meet at the end of the Highlander, and that as such Verhan might have an issue with him.
The relationship that develops between the two men as Verhan teaches Hernan how to handle a dark elf’s bow—come on now, minds out of the gutter—is full of banter and sexual tension. Poor Verhan as he realises he wants more than sex from this relationship is a mess in confusion and denial and a joy to read as Hernan worms his innocent way under Verhan’s skin. The chemistry between the two of them is undeniable and so well written.
The thing with Verhan, which we already know from our previous meetings, is that despite his ‘devil may care’ attitude he has a big heart. A heart fully capable of love, and, because he’s not used to relationships of a romantic nature, a heart far too easily broken. And when it breaks, Verhan does too in an impressive and heart-wrenching meltdown. I have to confess this part tugged so hard on my heartstrings that my eyes watered—shut up, of course they weren’t tears.
Author, just so you know, I want more of these two. I want to see Hernan take Verhan to all his favourite places around the city. I want to see the care Verhan will take with Hernan as he leads him carefully through their physical relationship. I want more! (Greedy reader is greedy.)
I can’t recommend this series enough. Even if you aren’t a fantasy fan these stories are an effortless way into the genre and very character driven. If you love seamless worldbuilding, banter, sexual tension, and flawed but likeable characters then these books are definitely for you.
Taking a step too wide, Hernan faltered at the very end, finishing the last form atthe wrong angle. The error turned his stance rigid, his poise evaporating before my eyes.
“Not bad. For an Asirhwӱnian,” I grinned and winked. “Let’s repeat it a few more times without stopping. I want to try something. Close your eyes and picture the forms in your mind. I’ll be behind you, guiding your steps, alright?”
Slowly, I approached him from the rear and placed my hands on his hips.
That first time I touched him, my heart downright assailed my rib cage, beating out a rhythm violent enough to cause me internal damage. To my dismay, I felt more riled up by that innocent contact than the last time I had my trousers around my ankles and a bulky sergeant pressed against the wall. Silently swearing, I tried shutting down those thoughts and refocusing.
And so we moved in a half circle, gliding through the air, in tune with one another.
The sweet spiciness of his scent reminded me of darhê. Hyperawareof the warmth emanating from his body, I lost all sense of time. It might’ve been a few minutes or an hour before we came to a stop.
As if bewitched, both of us remained still. It was Hernan who eventually turned his head to the side. He looked up at me over his shoulder.
The air seemed to shimmer around him, the edges of my vision distorted. I took in his smooth, flushed skin embellished with a few freckles. His slightly parted lips, plump and rosy. His wide, pale eyes, as green as a forest fern. All the colours that defined him filled me with a sense of wonder.
About the Author
A linguist and an avid reader with a particular fondness for fantasy and paranormal genres, KASIA BACON lives in London with her husband. When not tearing her hair out over a translating project, she writes stories about the shenanigans of emotionally constipated assassins and sexy Elves. Otherwise, she can be found shaking her loins at a Zumba class, binging on anime or admiring throwing knives on Pinterest. She has a mild coffee and lemon tart addiction. A lover of MMA and Muay Thai, she also enjoys nature and the great outdoors. She dreams of becoming independently wealthy, leaving the city and moving into her wooden mini-manor—located in the heart of stunning forests resembling those of the Elven Country depicted in her tales.
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