What Asher is expecting from life right in that moment is basically nothing: stranded in the middle of nowhere and wounded, he is only waiting for a merciful death; instead he obtains Gabriel, that like the angel with the same name, becomes at the same time savior, guardian but also the main source of all his trouble. As soon as they are together, Asher is immediately involved in a fight, and he has the chance to witness that Gabriel is no angel at all; and another proof is when, still dirty of their enemies blood, Gabriel pretends to be f**ked by Asher, right there, right now, no questions or hesitation.
That Asher likes Gabriel is pretty clear, what Asher probably doesn’t like, but he cannot avoid, is to fall in love with the other man; at the same time teasing and encouraging him, I think that Gabriel obtains exactly what he wants. The jealous Asher is a touch of romance to this novella that I liked, as I liked also the little steampunk details scattered here and there, like the clockwork owl Athena, the artificial arm of Asher, the flying machine of Gabriel and so on. Together with the steampunk setting there is the post-apocalypse world, that more or less reminded me of a middle ages village, with the big manor, the local inn and so on.
What I probably liked the most is that, even if the starting point is quite violent and the two men start their relationship from the sex, the story and the relationship soon move towards the romance; true, they are still involved in dangerous situations, and they still need to fight, but even if the sex is still good, it’s somehow softened by the love that is clearly blossoming between the two.
Amazon Kindle: The Mercenary
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd. (March 8, 2011)
Cover Art by Kanaxa