Author: Lex Valentine
Publisher: Loose ID
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: Paranormal M/M, fae, werewolf,
Length: Short Novella (78 PDF pages)
Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
Summary Review: A lovely tale of two paranormals who had lost each other but found their mate in the nick of time.
When wildling Corey Green discovers his mate is Seth Dylan, a tough as nails, dour werewolf from the McCallan clan, he thinks his life is set. However, Seth’s not out and doesn’t know if he wants to be. A pivotal sexual encounter between the men has Seth running scared and leaves Corey broken hearted. The men meet again nearly two years later and this time Seth’s out but Corey’s dark depression is about to send him behind the Veil of the Jewel Box to the fae world. Seth’s determined to make up for running out on Corey, but the wildling’s sunny disposition has gone so dark it may be too late for them to build a life together. With love on his side, Seth sets out return the sunshine to Corey’s soul.
Sunstroked is book 6 in the Tales of the Darkworld but can be read as a standalone. Book 3, Fire Season was reviewed here, and because I loved it so much I was anxious to read Sunstroked, the only other M/M book in the series, to see if the story was as engaging.
Sunstroked opens in dramatic fashion in the cemetery chapel where Seth Dylan”s cousin Sair, a werewolf, was getting married to Marius Granville, known as Big Fang, a vampire. Seth, a were, was sitting outside the chapel, upset and depressed at losing Sair his only anchor in a world that appeared to have rejected him, when he met Cory Green, a fae or wildling. The attraction between them was instantaneous and Seth couldn’t understand it since he hadn’t even admitted to himself that he was gay, but Corey recognized how important Seth would be in his future. When Corey kissed him Seth goes up in flames and he and Corey have oral sex on the cemetary grounds. Seth told Corey that he had never had sex with a man and they spent the night at Corey’s home correcting that particular deficiency, but in the morning when Corey woke up Seth was gone and the sunlight left his world.
Eighteen months later Corey’s boss Colin Granville, a vampire, angry at the way he had changed and the dark cloud that hung over him, decided to take action to fix the problem by demanding answers and forcing Corey to take a vacation to get his mojo back. Corey was a broken man and so despondent he confessed that he was thinking of leaving the Darkworld and going back behind the Veil of the Jewel Box, the home of the fae. This was something that fae creatures did when the Darkworld had nothing left to offer them or they had suffered an unimaginable loss, such as the death of a mate. Colin was horrified that his friend was contemplating such a drastic move and when he found out who the man was that was responsible for Corey’s depression he realized that it would be an extremely difficult situation to fix, because Seth had been hurt and rejected most of his life by his cousin Ruan, the pack Alpha, and he had eventually left Scotland because he could no longer stay with the pack. When Corey admitted that Seth was his mate, he indicated that if there was no way the situation could be resolved, returning to the home of the fae would be the only solution.
Panicked and emotionally devastated, Seth had left Corey’s house because he couldn’t admit to being gay and therefore could not face Corey the next morning after their night of debauchery. He knew that Corey was important to him but couldn’t figure out how or why. He dreamed about him every night and no one else held him in thrall like Corey, but was it just sex, love, or something stronger than love? Eighteen months later Seth was a changed man. No longer in the closet, he was having sex with as many men as he wanted, but he remained aloof and never showed his partners any affection, only using them to satisfy his own sexual urges. Although emotionally he was not in a good place, he was no longer the dark, dour person he used to be when he lived in Scotland. Now he was his own man, a landscape engineer with a thriving company, and his latest project was at Gargoyle Lodge the same place where Corey had been sent by his boss for a holiday. He credited all the positive changes in his life to meeting Corey, an event that made him rethink and rebuild his life.
It was inevitable that they would meet and when Seth saw Corey at the lodge the feelings he had for him were overwhelming and he was determined to have him in his life, but Corey was a broken shell of a man and no longer the bright and sunny person he was the day they met. He had become a hard, embittered man, depressed and unforgiving because Seth had never contacted him again. Could they mend each other’s heart and fulfil their destiny?
I really liked Sunstroked because Lex Valentine knows how to weave wonderful paranormal tales. Corey and Seth were well drawn and had to overcome tough obstacles before they could acknowledge each other as mates. Seth’s life had been very difficult since the death of his parents, and Corey became so depressed after Seth vanished that he was no longer the same man he was when he and Seth first met, and although Seth apologised humbly and pleaded for a second chance the hardest thing for Corey to accept was that Seth didn’t know who he, Corey, was.
I love this world that Lex Valentine created and the protagonists were well drawn – my only regret is that the story was so short that there was not enough opportunity to explore the characters’ lives as much as I would have liked. When I read Fire Season, an incredible story about two dragons, it blew me away, and while Sunstroked was good and I enjoyed it, I thought it lacked the excitement, intensity, complexity and heat that made Fire Season such a wonderful book, although it had a lot of ‘moments’. I know I shouldn’t compare the two books because they are so different, but I suppose it’s inevitable. Also, I thought that there was a lot of sex for such a short book, but that’s just me. The other characters were all three dimensional from Sair, Colin, Big Fang and another vampire, Will North, who had a prominent role in the book.
If you love stories about otherworldlty creatures with an actual plot and lots of sex, or are a fan of Lex Valentine, then Sunstroked will definitely appeal. Recommended.