The Poison Within, by Kasia Bacon
An Order Universe Short Story
Release Date: March 18, 2017
Black clouds of xenophobia gather over Radvadur, the western province of the Empire. The political climate is strained and fragile. A surge of Nymph refugees has stirred widespread hostility towards non-humans. When the investigation of a gruesome triple murder linked to the refugee camp ensues, it takes Inspector Käyru Skaer and his lover, Count Ellydhar Finn-Jánn, along an unusual path, at the end of which a precious gift awaits.
Käyru and Elly are worlds apart in social standing, but they have found common ground in the bedroom—up against the wall and the stable doors, too. The arrangement between them ought to have been temporary and of no consequence. As their circumstances change, will they find the courage to risk their hearts?
Content Warnings for:
Mention of Sexual Assault (Off-page)
The Poison Within is a satisfyingly sexy little novella about the forbidden relationship between a village police inspector and a nobleman.
Kayru and Count Ellydhar have been together for two years. Snatching time together in between fighting local crime and negotiating regional politics, their weekly assignations have only grown hotter and more emotionally satisfying, with class differences holding little meaning when Elly is more than willing to submit to Kayru’s demands.
But that’s only in the bedroom.
Social order dictates that a member of the noble class could never have a recognized relationship with one of his subjects. Or could they? And anyway, neither Kayru or Elly has talked about making their relationship permanent. They haven’t even mentioned love…yet…despite both of them feeling the same way. One of them has to be brave enough to say the words before Elly’s illness worsens and it becomes too late.
I quite enjoyed how the relationship between Kayru and Elly was portrayed. Their obvious affection for each other was beautifully written and I enjoyed their dynamic both in and out of the bedroom. Their reluctance to express how true their feelings ran for each other was understandable, given Kayru’s social status and Elly’s health, although it’s clear from the beginning that neither of these things mattered to the other man had either of them had the courage to express the words out loud.
Amidst this romance, a triple murder takes place that Kayru must solve. When a Nymph refugee is assaulted and three human soldiers turn up dead, Kayru is called in to investigate. What he discovers is more than a simple murder; he’s also given a way to help his ailing lover. Unfortunately, the cure for the disease may be the very thing that kills Kayru and Elly’s relationship.
All in all, I really enjoyed this little story. I would really have loved more Kayru and Elly, if for no other reason than to give us a little more time to really connect with their characters and their relationship. Just a wee bit more tension would go a long way to strengthen our emotional investment in their happiness. Otherwise, I think that was a great story and I look forward to reading more from this new author.
A linguist and an avid reader with a particular fondness for fantasy and paranormal genres, KASIA BACON lives in London with her husband. When not tearing her hair out over a translating project, she writes stories about the shenanigans of emotionally constipated assassins and sexy Elves. Otherwise, she can be found shaking her loins at a Zumba class, binging on anime or admiring throwing knives on Pinterest. She has a mild coffee and lemon tart addiction. A lover of MMA and Muay Thai, she also enjoys nature and the great outdoors. She dreams of becoming independently wealthy, leaving the city and moving into her wooden mini-manor—located in the heart of stunning forests resembling those of the Elven Country depicted in her tales.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.