Fanning the Flames (The Match Before Christmas #2)

Title: Fanning the Flames (The Match Before Christmas #2)
Author: Eden Winters
Publisher: Rocky Ridge Books
Buy link: (Second Edition)
Genre: M/M fantasy romance
Length: 16 pages
Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

A guest review by Jenre


fter he’s rescued from certain death by a mysterious, silver-haired warrior who is more than he seems, Kai finds life suddenly taking a turn for the better, for in Rayken he finds all he’s ever wished for.

When a cruel twist of fate robs him of his love, the tables turn, and it’s now up to Kai to save the fearless warrior. Can he and Rayken survive to be together?

The Match Before Christmas Series


This fantasy story follows Kai who is a lowlander.  When raiders attack his village and kill his only relative, he is rescued by a band of highlander warriors led by Rayken.  Kai and Rayken fall in love and are officially mated but when battle seems to have robbed Kai of his love there is still hope that he may be able to save Rayken.

It’s always surprising to me how much detail can be packed into 16 pages.  In the case of this sip, the world building is rich and the characters well drawn.  The focus of the story shifts between the present where Kai and Rayken prepare for battle with a band of raiders, followed by a surprising twist which I don’t want to spoil here; and the past where we discover how Kai and Rayken meet.

The characters of Kai and Rayken are very different.  Rayken is older, battle scarred and has a worldly weariness about him.  As Kai is from the lowlands, he is young, innocent and more used to holding a plough than a sword.  Despite their differences the love of these two very different men shines through the story and I found their story of loss and the power of hope quite emotionally compelling.

Whilst lots of page time is given to Kai, his rescue from the lowlands and the village life that preceded that rescue, there is very little information about the highland way of life.  I was especially intrigued by the warriors and their history so if I have any complaints it is that I wanted more of this story, more of these characters and more of the world created by the author, which isn’t a bad thing.

Overall, if you like short stories and enjoy well written fantasy, then I highly recommend that you read Flame.  The story is worth reading for the vivid detail in both the setting and the characters, as well as the beautiful and tender romance.



  • I usually don’t read many short stories, they’re just too…short for my taste. But your review caught my attention anyway, Jen. And since I’m a new if still hesitant convert to fantasy, this goes on my TBB.

    • Hi Lilli
      There’s enough romance in this story to be a good one to try if you are starting to experimenting with fantasy. I really like fantasy stories so this was just the sort of thing I would enjoy.

  • Thanks so much for reading and reviewing Flame. I’m so glad you liked it. It started as a 200 word prompt fic and grew from there. I posted an “author extra” on my Good Reads page, that gives a little more information about the warrior’s culture. They’re definitely more earthy and elemental than the lowlanders, and they were very entertaining to write.

  • Jen
    Flame sounds like the type of story I would definitely enjoy because I love these little Sips from TQ, and fantasy is the genre I first read and loved.

    Great review. Looks like Eden has another winner.

  • I am not a fantasy story lover but I did really enjoy this one a lot. So much story in so few pages. It was sweet and touching and fantasy and drama. All rolled into one. For those who like shorts I’d say it’s a winner.


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