Title: And if I Offered Thee a Bargain
Author: Jules Jones
Length: 5,500 words
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Genre: m/m fantasy romance
One night of your life for seven years of love. Would you pay the price?
Jack never dreamed that a reluctant trip back to his home town would thrust him into the world of the sidhe. He finds that the legends are true, but the sidhe have changed. They have a new bargain to offer the mortals who bring them fresh stories and share new technologies.
But is the price of this new bargain worth it?
Jack has returned for a visit to his home town in Ireland. He decides to go for a drive out and stops for his lunch at a picturesque hill, where he has a nap. When he wakes up he finds a man standing over him. Used to the oddities of SF conventions, Jack thinks the man is in cosplay, but soon discovers that he’s one of the fae. There’s an instant attraction between them and Fergal offers Jack a bargain of spending seven years in the fae realm, at the cost of one night in Jack’s time.
One of the things I really liked about this story was the way that the author twisted the usual world of the fae and looked at it from their perspective on humans. The usual trickery had been set aside as the fae realised that they were drawing further away from humans as the modern age took control. Jack’s acceptance leads to him being welcomed as a teller of stories from the human world and the fae delight in the new things he can teach them. I also liked Jack’s acceptance of the fae, through his immersion in the world of fantasy and science fiction reading. It was nice to see the nerd being the one with the power for a change!
The romance was an insta-love which may or may not be due to a form of fae magic. There’s a very nice scene with Fergal and Jack together before he decides on his bargain, and I could feel the strong connection between them. This is not a traditional romance with an ending which is bittersweet in tone and some readers may not be too pleased about that. However, it is flagged through the story and is perhaps the best fitting ending there could be, so whilst I felt a little sad, I could understand why it had to be written that way.
Overall, this was a clever take on a human/fae story. The story is written well, as is to be expected from this author whose writing I’ve often admired. I liked Jack and the way things were twisted slightly away from the usual fae mythology. If you like fantasy stories and have a spare 20-30 minutes, then this book could be just to your taste and I’d recommend it.