Author: Pepper Espinoza
Genre: Fantasy, GLBT (M/M)
Length: short story
Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5
A Calling of Souls story
As a youngest son, Jag Martin has eagerly walked a life-long path toward the priesthood. Then his once-great family falters under a mountain of debt. Their only hope—marry Jag off to an appropriately wealthy suitor.
Brace Rivers desperately wants more than just a short fling. However, his economic and political reality makes finding an appropriate male partner next to impossible. When the Martin family offers Jag’s hand, it’s a dream come true. But his suspicions mount that the young man is being forced into an unwanted marriage. Compassion wins out over loneliness, and Brace offers Jag a pearl ring valuable enough to both save his family’s fortunes and give him freedom. There’s just one thing Brace wants in return—twenty-four hours together.
Brace can only pray it’s long enough to convince Jag that a life together is worth more than all the pearls in the sea.
If there is one word I would use to describe this book it would be sensuous. The story is quite simple. Jag’s family had come upon hard times and the only way to recoup some of their fortune was to barter their youngest son Jag in marriage to a rich man. There the simplicity ends. The story is very beautiful and quite unusual and the two characters, Jag and his intended Brace, face the toughest 24 hours. According to their culture and customs Jag must spend 24 hours with Brace before he can decline or accept his suit and this is the turning point of their lives.
Brace has been around the block a few times but he has never been with another man for more than several hours to satisfy his sexual needs and even on those occasions he has not experienced anything more than brief physical release. He has been lonely for most of his life and he truly wants someone – a man – for his life partner. Jag on the other hand has been studying to serve the Goddess since he was twelve and it’s his dream to become a priest and live a life of celibacy. However, now that his circumstances have changed he must decide which path to choose. Just before they meet for the ceremony he receives a wedding present from Brace, a valuable pearl, which if sold would realize more than enough money to save his family from ruin and give him his freedom.
The author, Pepper Espinoza, has penned a wonderful tale of love between two unlikely characters that were beautifully drawn and three dimensional. Brace was vulnerable and needy in his search for the one man who would make his life complete and Jag was warm, thoughtful and giving in wanting to make sure that his choice would be the right one for his family as well as for Brace and last, for himself.
When they came together Brace and Jag pulled at my heartstrings as each tried to achieve his heart’s desire. The book was so poignant as these two souls reached out to each other in a way that made me believe this fantasy could be real, the greatest compliment I could give a book. The sex was hot and tender at the same time with Brace trying to teach Jag how to give and receive pleasure while knowing that tomorrow could mean the death knell to all his hopes.
I highly recommend If All The Sands Were Pearl and my only regret is that the story was so short.