The Magpie Lord - K.J. Charles One of the first things to stick with me when reading this story came towards the end: make sure you start something when you know you have time to finish. Not always easy, but something to more than ponder but put into use, especially in this mega- connected, high speed world we find ourselves. This leads to the next thing: the tone, the atmosphere of this little adventure felt like and old fashioned movie: real car crashes instead of SFX. The magic had a “gut” quality to it, something grounded, not fanciful or totally other worldly. It was almost like a good drama from the ‘70’s: gritty, a bit refined, layered in yellows and browns and ochre, used and a bit dated but purposely, which fits. I like it when a writer can create a reality and the characters fully living within it. It’s not that they just accept that the magic is there but that it is an every-day part of life in every way : evil, good and just simply exists. A favorite exchange: Crane: “Does that mean, if you’d just come to bed last night –“Day: “Probably.” Stephen pushed through the roses. “Shut up.” Crane: “I didn’t say a word,” said Crane, grinning. I just like it :) There is definitely much more mystery, magic and characters to keep track of than there is heat or actual sex in this story but each encounter, each moment, melds into the story. They’re meant to be there. More on that later. There is a “fuck.yes.” moment for me and it’s this: Crane ran his tongue up Stephen’s neck, nipped his ear. “Tell me what you want. Exactly what you want. Let me give you the fucking you deserve.” Stephen took a shallow breath and looked into Crane’s eyes, direct and naked. Day says: “Take me, Right now. Make me beg.” Uh, huh. They more than deserve it all, they’ve survived many an odd and dangerous thing by this point. To me, this is the nectarine (I like them better than cherries) on top. Lucien and Stephen are, dare I say, meant for each other. About half way through, I felt that. Crane’s bucking some (not all) of the expectations of someone of his station, fully fed by his experiences. He accepts Stephen. And then we have Stephen and his honesty, his refusal to give up or leave someone unprotected, including Crane. A person from a family that deeply hurt Stephen’s own in life changing ways. He sees Crane for who he is and vice versa. Isn’t that what we all want? The ending is sigh-worthy, for more than the obvious reasons, once you arrive there. We made it! It’s funny, when I started out I didn’t think that I would have much to give in this review, but I guess I was wrong. I let this story in, even though it’s not something I would usually pick up ;) The sequel is now on my wish list. This one should be on your read now list. :)