Title: By A Thread
Author: L.A. Witt
Cover Artist: Trace Edward Zaber
Publisher: Self Published
Buy Link: (Second Edition)
Genre: M/M Fantasy
Rating: 4 stars
A Guest Review by Sammy
Review Summary: What to do when your very touch can have grave consequences to those who feel its affects? Two men battle the odds and the specter of death itself to love without restraint.
Blurb: Leon’s never felt as strongly about any man as he does Andrew, but when Andrew asks to meet him for dinner, Leon’s sure things are over before they’ve even started. Except Andrew isn’t coming to dinner to call things off. He’s coming to drop an entirely different bomb.
Andrew is a sorcerer. He can manipulate fire, he can manipulate lightning, but like most of his kind, what he can’t do is maintain absolute control of his power when he’s sexually aroused, which is dangerous to non-magics like Leon. No matter how much the two men want each other, there’s no way around it—they’re literally playing with fire, which means someone’s bound to get burned.
At first, they’re both willing to back off, but as their feelings for each other deepen, their mutual desire only grows stronger, and Andrew and Leon are hanging by a thread trying to resist each other. But can they surrender to their passion without getting injured?
Review: Their relationship was not meant to spiral out into the arena of love as it did so rapidly, so fiercely. Leon was a practical man, one not given to hasty or impulsive feelings, more pragmatic and yet Andrew strikes some chord within him from the very moment they meet. Andrew, younger than Leon, quiet, yet delightfully open guards a secret so big that he contemplates turning away from Leon rather than inflict any more of himself on the man.
So they meet, over dinner in a cafe that overlooks a courtyard where two sorcerers are entertaining the crowds. This is a fantasy world in which humans and magics live side by side, rarely interacting on a personal level but freely working and going about their daily routines. So, when Andrew reveals to Leon that he too is a sorcerer, Leon is not surprised nor really taken aback. After all, even though humans and magics rarely date, surely he and Andrew can be that rare exception–they seem to very right together.
By A Thread by L.A. Witt explores the idea of one’s man touch being tantamount to a death threat to his lover. As her story unfolds, we come to find out that Andrew is not just any sorcerer but one in which two strong veins of magic reside, fire and lightening. The combination, when uncontrolled, can mean almost certain death to any sexual partner that Andrew has–unless it is another sorcerer who can combat the magic with some of his own. Now Leon is faced with the dilemma–let Andrew walk out of his life, or remain in what is akin to a celibate yet loving relationship for the rest of their lives.
Thankfully our Leon is a bit stubborn and insists on trying to take things slowly….but will it work? Or will he not only get injured physically but lose his heart forever when Andrew must leave in order to protect him.
By A Thread by L. A. Witt worked on many levels. The idea of sorcerers or magical beings is not a new one–particularly those who can manipulate the elements. However, rather than making her magic man arrogant or dominant as most of these types of characters are normally written, the author decides to make Andrew gentle, submissive and tenderhearted. You can see the love he has for Leon in every interaction they have–you can also see the passion he feels for him as well. By throwing such a huge roadblock into their future as lovers, L.A. Witt takes a run of the mill fantasy story and infuses some new life into the genre.
Leon works tirelessly to find a solution, not just because he wants to have sex, he admittedly does, but because he can see the pain it causes his boyfriend when their relationship cannot be consummated. At the same time, Andrew selflessly encourages his lover to seek someone else to fulfill him physically, always keenly aware of what Leon has chosen to give up in order to love him.
Just as these pieces fit together well, there were a few elements that did not flow together as nicely. For instance, the world in which the story was set was never really established–fleshed out, and so we were left to wonder what kind of realm could have such creatures exist so neatly with humans. Also, the light moments of BDSM, the dominant nature Leon displays in attempting to keep Andrew in check sexually so that his magic would not spiral out of control seemed a bit forced, as if they were tossed into the mix as a means of providing a quick solution rather than as elements of a developing Dom/Sub relationship. Those roles never seemed to sit well on either character.
However, despite these minor flaws, the story was solid and the interaction between the two men was sweet and playful, at times. You found yourself rooting for them in the end and held your breath to see if they indeed could find compatibility both in the sheets and out.
So, dear reader, if it is a fantasy with a bit of sci-fi thrown in that makes you light up, I recommend L.A. Witt’s, By A Thread. A compact and sweet love story that keeps you guessing right to the end.