This story was written as a part of the Goodreads M/M Romance Group's "Love’s Landscapes" event. Group members were asked to write a story prompt inspired by a photo of their choice. Authors of the group selected a photo and prompt that spoke to them and wrote a short story.
This is a fabulous event that gives M/M readers a chance to catch up with some of their favourite authors, experience new authors, and also gives those readers that have yet to dip their toes into the genre a chance to find out why so many of us are huge fans of Gay Romance… all for free!!! AMAZING!!!
The M/M team will be following the Love’s Landscapes releases and bringing you our take on some of these fabulous gems. We would also like to thank the Goodreads M/M Romance group who organise this yearly event and those authors that give their time freely for the fans enjoyment… Free eBooks from amazing authors is a gift we are all immensely grateful for.
Guarded by Kim Fielding
Author: Kim Fielding
Tags: royalty, military men, enemies to lovers, hurt/comfort, prison/captivity
Content Warnings: rape
Word Count: 36,754
We are on the run, me— a bodyguard— and him— a prince. I have admired him for so long, but he hates me.
Two very muscular, shirtless men stand under a cascade of water. The man on the left kneels and rests his head against the other’s torso. His eyes are closed and his palm is pressed against the other man’s heart. The man on the right leans over his companion slightly and gathers his companion’s long wet hair with one hand. He looks down at his companion with tenderness and concern.
What a fabulous story. I loved this but that's nothing new really because there's nothing by Kim Fielding that I haven't read and thoroughly enjoyed. I just love how she puts a story together. In this short from this years GR, LL event, she gives us a wonderful enemies to lovers or love/hate tale that once again kept me totally immersed from beginning to end.
Volos is a war hero, born in the kingdom of Wedeyta to a Wedey mother and a Kozari father, he's seen his family slaughtered, saved many a Wedey prisoner during the war, been a prisoner of war himself of the Kozari (the enemy) and suffered appallingly at their hands. Never once has his loyalty to his land of birth ever been in question so one day he's summoned to the kings chambers where, because he speaks Kozari, as a royal guard he's asked to accompany Prince Berhanu on a mission to broker a peace treaty with the Kozari Queen. Volos has been secretly in love with the prince for years but Berhanu has always ignored him or treated him with disdain. So when the king suggests Volos be his guard, he cruelly refuses to go with Volos, insulting him because of his Kozari roots. Volos is dismissed and the Prince goes off on the mission with another companion but things go wrong and he gets kidnapped by a hard core rebel faction of the enemy. Without even thinking about the danger to himself, Volos goes off on a solo mission to rescue the prince, knowing he might not make it through alive and from then on the story kicks into high gear.
This is quite a dark, fantasy story and does contain violence and a rape scene, but if you can push through that it's also a beautiful, tender romance about unrequited love and I loved watching Volos finally get the love and respect he deserved from a man who's stubbornness and prejudices stopped him from being with someone who loved him unconditionally. Berhanu started out as a pretty dislikable character but as the story progressed and I saw what he went through I found myself softening and praying that these two would make it to the end together. Their journey was far from easy one and they both suffer but the slow burn bonding, growing love and respect and final satisfying outcome was well worth all the trauma and I finished it with a sigh of relief and strangely, despite its serious tones, a touch of the warm and fuzzies. Another story that I would gladly put my hand in my pocket for. Thank you Kim.
RATING ~ 5 STARS
I’m not familiar with Kim Fielding as an author and Guarded was my first experience with her writing. All I can say is… She is AMAZING! I absolutely loved this short story from her, and could kick myself that I haven’t picked up a book from her before!
From the very first page she created a character in Volo’s, who literally stole my heart. Volo’s, a guard in the Kings army is in love. Only the object of his desire, loathes him with a passion… for no other reason, than his father was Kozari, a nation who are trash in the words of Prince Berhanu. His words of hatred were like arrows that pierced Volo’s heart. He is a strong and powerful man, but also quite and unassuming with a vulnerability to him that actually caused me pain... Because his love is so unconditional.
This is a love/hate, unrequited love story and I had a whole lot of hate going on for Prince Berhanu, I so wanted to slap the arrogant, rude, disrespectful, jumped up…. well, you get my drift. But… Words and behaviour can be deceiving and sometimes people aren't quite what they seem.
There is a dark side to this tale, that feels like a knife in the chest, but Kim manages to blend that perfectly with heartfelt emotion, plus you also get the rainbows and pot of gold at the end, with a few moment that will have you tearing up. For a short story this is an exceptional read… I just loved it!
RATING ~ 5 STARS
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