Title: Slave to the Blood
Author: ID Locke
Length: 13,000 words (46 pdf pages)
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: m/m paranormal sci-fi
Jareth needs to find a new bodyguard and food source, as his last one came to an untimely end during a failed assassination attempt. Mayhem Inc. comes highly recommended, and what Jareth finds there is something better than he ever thought he’d get. From the moment Jareth is introduced to Liron, mutual attraction ignites, but can Liron be able to feed all of Jareth’s needs, from blood to bed to bodyguard?
This was an interesting story, although during one part I was left feeling distinctly uncomfortable. Liron is the former bodyguard of a royal prince on his planet. When the prince left to be with his lover on a space station, Liron went with him out of loyalty, and now primarily works as a freelance bodyguard. He is huge, seven and half feet tall, with huge wings. But he can also change into any shape, person or animal, that suits the job. He’s agreed to take the job as Jareth’s body-guard with the understanding that it includes giving blood and possibly having sex with the man. The prince doesn’t understand how Liron could agree to this, as homosexuality is frowned on in their country, however Liron was kidnapped as a child and raised a sex slave so he’s open to either men or women.
His attraction to Jareth is immediate and he’s quite happy with the arrangement, although soon Jareth is asking for his history. Liron describes his time in captivity as a sex slave and this was where things got uncomfortable for me. He started “working” at the age of six and had his first full-on sex at ten. Ack! He’s all quite matter of fact about it, figures he was treated very well and was relatively happy with his life until he was rescued by the prince at fifteen. Liron claims that some people found these facts about his life titillating, and I think if Jareth had been one of those people I would have had trouble finishing the book, but Jareth is outraged and angry on Liron’s behalf for having to suffer that as a child, although Liron doesn’t really get it, to him it wasn’t so bad.
When they finally have sex, Liron is prepared to change his form. One of the reason he’s had trouble finding sexual partners is because of his size and his wings, but I thought the part where Jareth likes him exactly as he is, that he doesn’t want him to be someone/something else (part of his appeal as a sex slave) was sweet and touching as he realizes he can just be himself. It ends a bit abruptly after their first encounter and I would have loved to see more of their relationship now that they are finally together. As well, Jareth talks about the reason he needs a body-guard so it would have been nice to see some ‘action’ after the point of being a couple. As well some background is given to Jareth and who/what he is, I would have loved to explore that more.
The point of view shifts from both men, so it’s interesting to know Liron’s reactions to Jareth and vice-versa. It’s helps you to understand their feelings toward Liron’s childhood as you can see in each man’s head. The prince’s girlfriend or wife was also hilarious and snarky. I liked her a great deal even though she’s only in the book a short time at the beginning. I enjoyed the book, but I must warn people who have issues with child sexual abuse, Liron’s very matter of fact descriptions of his life may be disturbing. It’s not prolonged descriptions and not described in ways to titillate the reader, so it just depends on reader sensibility. I would definitely read more about the two as a couple, I think there is more story for them that would be interesting.