Title: Shelter from the Storm
Author: Kate Sherwood
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: August 18, 2018
Genre(s): M/M Fantasy
Page Count: 150 pages
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
A healer and a warrior fight to survive the winter . . . and each other.
Grif is tired of life as a mercenary—tired of life, period. So he heads off into the mountains, not much caring whether he lives or dies. But when his indifference leaves him unconscious in a snowbank, a stranger finds him and insists on dragging him back from death.
Kiernan doesn’t really have time to nurse a stranger back to health; he’s on an important mission. He doesn’t know why the message he’s carrying is significant, but he’s determined to deliver it, even if it means risking his life in the winter mountains. Still, he can’t just walk away from a fellow traveler in need.
Grif didn’t want to be saved, and he sure as hell doesn’t want to be stuck with an annoying, naïve do-gooder. But since when do the mountains give men what they want? The snow is too deep to travel. Food is scarce. Grif and Kiernan learn to depend on each other, and eventually to care about each other. Neither of them wanted it to happen. But sometimes the mountains don’t give men what they want; sometimes, the mountains give men what they need.
“Shelter from the Storm” is set in a largely undefined vaguely fantasy world of mercenaries, healers, kingdoms, but the story takes place entirely on a mountain, with two men trying to survive a long cold winter. Kiernan is younger, an idealist, a healer’s apprentice who has been sent into the mountain on a important mission …. or is it a fool’s errand? Grif is weary of his mercenary life (he’s described as a “sellsword”) and walks off into the snow, hoping for an easy death. But his fall off a cliff lands him on Kiernan’s tent, which the utterly unprepared younger man unknowingly pitched in the perfect spot to keep the wind from blowing it down.
The language here is sparse and lean, much like the landscape. This is NOT a romance with a HEA; there are a few sex scenes, and a certain chemistry that develops between the two men, but this is a survival story with a M/M element. There’s a lot of information about surviving the winter, including building protective snow barriers, drinking boiled blood to keep the body strong, animal guts and all sorts of gore that I found incredibly fascinating. This small struggle to survive, minuscule in the world in which it exists, feels quietly epic to me.
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