With the help of technomage and hacker Theo, rare snake shifter Robbie escaped his mother and clan, who planned to use him as breeding stock. While still working to break through the conditioning and mind control of his past, Robbie is enjoying exploring a new relationship with the worldlier Theo.
But their fight isn’t over yet.
A trip to his aunt’s house for Thanksgiving is highjacked by political intrigue, leaving the couple wondering who their friends really are. They cannot help but be drawn into larger plots while trying to find justice for Robbie at his mother’s trial. When clan rivalries turn deadly, they’ll need their allies—and each other—more than ever.
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ENJOYING THE weightlessness as the plane lifted into the air, I studied my boyfriend as he excitedly watched the world shrink below us. His enthusiasm for everything sent sympathetic thrills through me, and I was soon grinning.READ MORE
It had been an unexpectedly blissful couple of months with only one small hiccup. A week after Robbie moved in, for some strange reason I felt the need to define the parameters of our relationship. It was a first for both of us. Many firsts. I was his first everything; he was my first boyfriend. I can’t remember how the conversation started, but vaguely recall me saying that I’d like to get some clarification.
“We haven’t really talked about us.”
“What do you mean?” he had asked, his lips naturally curved curiously. One of the things I learned was that Robbie is never plagued with the same doubts about relationships that it seems like the rest of us have. Or at least that I have had my entire life. He’s wholesome, and I know how that sounds, but it’s true. His very nature is one of trust and acceptance.
He had never experienced any doubt until I stupidly said, “Well, exclusivity, monogamy, I don’t know. Just curious what you want.”
“I don’t understand. You’re my boyfriend….” Though his curiosity had turned to confusion, I pressed on.
“Yeah, but that’s for now. I just don’t want you to feel held back. You know, if you want to bang someone and—”
He shook his head, his confusion intensifying and darkening into something else. “Why are you saying this?”
“I just don’t want to break up over—”
“Break up? Why… why would we ever break up?” His emerald eyes shone with tears that had made my heart immediately ache. I had done that to him. If I live to be a thousand years old, that look will always haunt me. That with a simple and quite stupid misspoken phrase I could hurt him so much.
“Why are you frowning?”
I turned to find him gazing at me intently. Robbie took my hand, shaking his head with concern.
I chuckled. “Ah, sugar… just about how foolish I was.”
“You’re gonna have to be more specific,” he said with the sweetest smile that had me falling back laughing. My boyfriend had quickly caught on to sarcasm and the importance of a good burn.
I shook my head at myself. “You remember that conversation we had when you first moved in? The one about monogamy?”
“Yeah, when you pointed out that I’m only eighteen and had only… how did you put it? ‘Boned one guy’? That you thought you were holding me back?” he asked, relaxing as he settled.
“Yeah. That’s it. And you turned it around and asked if you were holding me back.”
“And you said no, because you’re a slut who was settling down.” Robbie was on a roll.
I laughed again. “Not… quite. Anyway, I was just remembering that.”
“I thought your talk with Kat had fixed all that?” he asked curiously.
I sat up so quickly I almost gave myself whiplash. Robbie just smiled knowingly. “Oh yeah, I heard the whole thing.”
I guess Kat had seen that I was mopey after I left Robbie. I had brought my laptop to the comfortable bucket chair of the custom outdoor patio and plopped down. And I had had no clue Robbie was around.
Kat just settled into the adjacent bucket, tucked her legs up under her, and gave me one of those serene “I’m here to listen” expressions.
“Look,” I finally grunted out. “I broached the subject with Robbie that he would probably be moving on from here, from me, someday and wanted to let him know I was fine. Had just… I don’t know, fuck, wanted him to know I’d rather have him bang someone else and not break up.”
Her look had mirrored Robbie’s to an extent. Confusion. Sadness. But also compassion and understanding. “You’re afraid of losing him.” It was clearly stated and absolute truth that had cut to the bone.
“She told you to get your head out of your ass,” he reminded me of the exact words she went on to say, and I realized he was still holding my hand.
I chuckled and tilted my head to him. “Indeed she did. She said a lot of things….”
“Like how your first boyfriend broke your heart?” he said so softly I barely heard it.
“We were kids. I thought it was more than it was.”
“She pointed out that you were scared of me leaving too,” Robbie said, swallowing hard. A shadow crossed over his eyes.
“Yeah,” I admitted lamely. Kat and I had talked about how amazing Robbie was, and she had made me come to terms with the fact that I was a big scared baby. Hell, he had heard all that?
“Theo, I know that I’m not worthy of being with you, but I’m glad we’re together,” Robbie said earnestly, causing my heart to drop.
“Not worthy—what are you talking about?”
“You and Kat. You talked about how amazing you thought I was, but I’m not. It doesn’t feel like that at all. You’re the amazing one.” Robbie’s eyes lit up, and he gave me that radiant smile he saves just for me. A smile that would often disappear into something more reserved if someone else was around.
Patting his hand, I said, “Guess we can both think the other is perfect, huh?”
He nodded eagerly, joy returning to his eyes when he leaned over and gave me a small kiss on the cheek. I turned my attention to the window, tilting my chin to it, silently acknowledging he should continue his enjoyment of the world outside so I could continue my internal mental review of the last couple of months.COLLAPSE
"Trials" is the second volume of "Crossing Nüwa" series by Sean Ian O'Meidhir and Connal Braginsky. Reading this installment I had the impression that its vibe is somewhat different from the one that accompanied the first part. "Trials" is full of drama and the psychological burden of trauma. The authors managed to write this novel in such a way that the reader really feels its heaviness and depth. However, I must mention that at the same time in the story presented in this volume we have some lighter, "brighter" scenes, thanks to which "Trials" doesn't overwhelm us, but on the contrary, is more and more engrossing, as we follow the characters' story with undying interest and we really want to know how they cope with the problems they face. And let's add that these problems are really serious, as our boys are facing dangers that can cost them lives. I admit that the authors in a truly fantastic way combined a real threat with trauma and love, thanks to which the reader quickly falls for this novel.
In the context of the aforementioned trauma, years of humiliation, fear, control over Robbie's every step, imposing ones will on him, it seems extremely important to me that this young man opens himself up to his beloved almost completely and trusts him to the point that he allows Theo to have a full control over him. This is even more important because it carries not only the sexual meaning, but also gives Robbie the opportunity to find inner peace, and forget about the demons of the past, at least to some extent. If we also take into account the fact that the relationship of the main characters is only a few months old and Robbie still doubts if he's loved, we have the opportunity to see even more of the uniqueness of the connection between young Nüwa and Theo, and it shows us Robbie's strength and courage, as he is not afraid to trust the other person to such an extent that sometimes he simply gives in to Theo's will.
Reviewing this volume I also want to mention the characters. On the one hand, reading "Trials" we fall in love more deeply than ever before with Robbie and Theo, who are simply fantastic, extremely interesting, sweet, and in a word, greatly created. On the other hand, we can get to know some of the side characters better as well, thanks to which our feelings towards them clarify.
"Trials" also develops the universe of the series, which is a great advantage of this volume too, as it undoubtedly hides many secrets that can surprise, delight, and maybe even frighten us. I think only the authors know what really lies beneath the surface of what we already know about their universe. So I hope that soon I will be able to get to know this world better.
In summary, "Trials" is a really great and extremely interesting novel that is worth reading. If you've read the first volume of the series, the second is a must read for you. However, if you have not yet entered the world of "Crossing Nüwa" then I really encourage you to do it. It's worth it!
„Trials” to drugi tom serii „Crossing Nüwa” autorstwa Seana Iana O'Meidhir oraz Connala Braginsky’ego. Czytając tę odsłonę serii miałam wrażenie, że jej klimat różni się w pewnym stopniu od tego, który towarzyszył pierwszej części. „Trials” jest bowiem pełne dramatu oraz psychologicznego ciężaru traumy. Autorom udało się napisać tę powieść w taki sposób, że czytelnik naprawdę odczuwa jej ciężar i głębię. Muszę jednak wspomnieć, że jednocześnie w przedstawionej w tym tomie historii pojawiają się lżejsze, „jaśniejsze” sceny, dzięki którym „Trials” nas nie przytłacza, a wręcz przeciwnie, coraz bardziej wciąga, jako że z niegasnącym zainteresowaniem śledzimy losy bohaterów i chcemy dowiedzieć się, w jaki sposób poradzą sobie z problemami, jakim muszą stawić czoła. A wspomniane problemy naprawdę są bardzo poważne, jako że na naszych chłopców czekają niebezpieczeństwa, które mogą kosztować ich życie. Przyznaję, że autorzy w sposób prawdziwie fantastyczny połączyli realne zagrożenie z traumą oraz miłością, dzięki czemu czytelnik szybko traci dla tej powieści głowę.
W kontekście wspomnianej traumy, lat upokorzeń, strachu, kontroli każdego kroku Robbie’ego, narzucania mu swojej woli, niezwykle istotny wydaje mi się fakt, iż ten młody mężczyzna otwiera się na swojego ukochanego niemal całkowicie i obdarza go zaufaniem, które pozwala mu na całkowite oddanie kontroli Theo. Jest to tym ważniejsze, że niesie za sobą nie tylko seksualne uniesienia, ale także daje Robbie’emu możliwość odnalezienia wewnętrznego spokoju, zapomnienia o demonach przeszłości przynajmniej w pewnym stopniu. Jeśli weźmiemy pod uwagę również fakt, iż związek głównych bohaterów ma dopiero kilka miesięcy i wciąż wzbudza w Robbie’m niepewność, co do jego stałości, mamy okazję w większym jeszcze stopniu dostrzec wyjątkowość tego, co łączy młodego Nüwa z Theo, jak również pokazuje nam siłę i odwagę samego Robbie’ego, który nie boi się zaufać drugiej osobie do tego stopnia, by czasami po prostu poddać się jej woli.
Recenzując ten tom chcę również wspomnieć o bohaterach. Z jednej strony czytając „Trials” zakochujemy się jeszcze bardziej niż dotychczas w Robbie’m i Theo, którzy są po prostu fantastyczni, niezwykle interesujący, słodcy – jednym słowem, świetne wykreowani. Z drugiej zaś możemy lepiej poznać niektóre postaci poboczne, dzięki czemu klarują się również nasze uczucia względem nich.
„Trials” rozwija także uniwersum serii, co również jest ogromną zaletą tego tomu, jako że niewątpliwie kryje on przed nami jeszcze wiele sekretów, które mogą nas zaskoczyć, zachwycić, a może nawet przerazić. Chyba tylko autorzy wiedzą, co tak naprawdę kryje się pod powierzchnią tego, co już wiemy na temat ich uniwersum. Mam więc nadzieję, że niebawem będę mogła poznać je dokładniej.
Podsumowując, „Trials” to naprawdę wspaniała i niezwykle interesująca powieść, którą warto przeczytać. Jeśli czytaliście pierwszy tom serii, drugi jest dla Was lekturą obowiązkową. Jeśli jednak nie przekroczyliście jeszcze progu świata „Crossing Nüwa” to naprawdę zachęcam Was by to uczynić. Warto!