A man too hard to love, and the men who love him.
Gristle is a former Roman soldier who has forsaken any relationship with a man since being abandoned by beautiful young Tristus ten years ago near the Wall of Hadrian. Now in Ireland as one of a group of emigrants at the monastery of St. Patrick in Armagh, he discovers the sensual pony trainer Wynn, half his age, is deeply attracted to him. In spite of Gristle’s resolution to forsake the lure of sex, he seduces Wynn. The result is a burst of passionate encounters between them.
Arriving in sacred Tara, where he is one of the mounted guard protecting Bishop Patrick during the Samhain festival, he is stricken to find that Wynn, too, has deserted him—just as he finds Tristus again after ten years, now a changed man.
Ironically, neither of these men has willingly abandoned Gristle. Tristus’ disappearance from his watch one night a decade ago has instilled an immutable sorrow in Gristle's deep subconscious. And now Wynn, unknown to Gristle, is taken by nasty-minded druids, leaving him devastated by a loss he cannot rationally deal with.
Told from three different POVs, the story revolves around the complex relationship among these three men. The novel deals with Gristle’s finding, rejecting, and finally trying to accept a kind of love into his parched heart.
- 1 To Be Read list
Publisher: New Dawn Press
Heat Level: 5
Romantic Content: 5
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 36-45
Protagonist 2 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 3 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Age Difference, Alpha Character, Bodyguard/Guardian Angel, First Time, Healing Power of Sex, Hurt / Comfort, May/December, Rescue
Word Count: 94581
Setting: ancient Ireland-England-Wales
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters
They had been speaking into each other’s mouth, their lips and tongues licking and sucking as they spoke. Then Gristle heard Tristus say clearly, “Infinitas.”
“Is that what you want?” he asked. His prick had immediately stiffened at the image of the two of them sucking each other in the dark, under the stars.
“Infinitas. Not end.”
Tristus freed a hand and touched Gristle’s hair at the crown, where it spilled forward onto his forehead. He brushed it back almost tenderly. “Together…not end.”
Gristle knew what his lover was telling him, and his carefully controlled breath changed without his willing it to. When he spoke, it was with some difficulty. “Tristus. Let us try to survive, first. All right?”
“After Lune Caster. What then?”READ MORE
“Dear Tristus. Let us live for tonight. Tomorrow is—” He stopped, groping for words that the other man would understand. It would do no harm, he knew, to talk about the future with this attractive—really, beautiful—young man. But he was deeply superstitious about certain things. He always avoided predicting the future, or relying in any way on raw hope. Better, he thought, to rely on the whims of the bitch Fortuna. That way he would never be disappointed.
“Tomorrow is not yet here. Let us love tonight.”
For the first time in several months, Gristle felt the other man’s sorrow on the verge of his touch, in the tone of his voice. Without willing to, he began slowly to explore his lover’s body as though to memorize it against some future time of loss.
Gristle lay on Tristus, supported by his elbows, his tongue on his throat. At first almost gentle, his licking became a kissing and sucking that instantly fired his prick. He felt Tristus, too, harden under him. They were pushing their erections into each other under their heavy tunics, straining for a direct touch. Gristle eased himself lower until his mouth was on the hard mound, and then he lifted the leather tunic. Tristus’s downy groin and his stiff cock sent a shudder through Gristle’s body. Restraining himself, he continued his gentle sucking and licking, nuzzling the boy’s groin and stroking his bare ass.
“Marcus.” The word came to his ears as “Mar-coos,” almost a caress, and he could not help moaning aloud, repeating his lover’s name. Tristus.
Then he was stroking and sucking the boy, and Tristus came right away, his hands restraining Gristle’s head, pushing it hard into himself. Gristle held his fluids in his mouth until he could turn the boy over, and then he spat into his crack and his anus. By the prick of Apollo, give me this boy and I shall ask for nothing else, ever. Gristle knelt. He spread apart the moving, rearing buttocks and entered, bit by bit.
He did not want to hurt Tristus, but at the same time his own desire had reached a peak of frenzy. First in, then out, his long, swollen prick began to slide and thrust through Tristus’s own viscous wetness that he had smeared over his ass. Then he felt as though his body were exploding, and Gristle climaxed, driving himself in to the hilt, feeling his life force spurt into the boy.
When it was over, Gristle lay on the boy’s back, his mouth in his ear. “Did I hurt you?”
Tristus did not answer right away. Gristle’s mouth sought the boy’s mouth then, and he tasted the wetness of tears.
“I did. I hurt you. Ah, God—”
“Hurt here.” Tristus took Gristle’s hand and put it over his chest.
The impassive soldier could not—would not—talk about things he did not understand. When the boy had uttered the word infinitas a while ago, he had thought that his lover wanted the mutual cock-sucking he had shown him a few months ago. But no. For some reason, Tristus was straining to touch a much deeper place. Now he was suffused with some kind of inchoate grief, and Gristle had no idea how to address it. And so he turned Tristus over and lay, mouth to mouth, stroking the boy’s fine hair.
“When all this is over—” he started to tell Tristus.
“This…what? This time together? This infinitas?”
“I mean, when the time of fighting ends. When every tree does not conceal an enemy. When the brutal time is ended, Tristus. Then we look for—for the beautiful time. Understand?”
“Nei. Beautiful time already here. Understand?”
“Ah, maybe I do understand a little. But I warn you, boy, do not toy with Fortuna. Do not try to shape tomorrow before it gets here. Let the future take care of itself, and perhaps we will be rewarded.”
“All…right,” the boy answered in his halting way.
After a while his voice came again in the dark. “Is…love between us?”
Gristle’s hand did not pause as his fingers searched in Tristus’s long hair. “Yes.”
Not once in his adult life had Gristle ever cried. Not even squatted over the body of a fallen companion, not when faced with the prospect of capture and torture. But now, lying among the fallen leaves of the Cumbrian lowlands, on a night filled with the cries of owls, Gristle turned his head away and wept.
If I never cry again, it is well my tears be born of happiness.COLLAPSE
"Pinkerbelle Rex" on Amazon wrote:
Extraodinary Characters, Tales, Romances
This review covers the first two books in the Iron Warrior series.
I wish I had the proper words to relate how these books grabbed me in the gut and hurled me into a Dark Ages period that had simply passed me by. But I can't explain it better than to let you know that this tale of Gristle and Tristus and Wynn (in Warrior, Ride Hard) and then Gristle and Wynn (in Warrior, Stand Tall) opened my eyes to the settlement of Ireland and surrounding lands during the fifth century when the eventual St. Patrick was haunting the territories.
With cunning descriptions of the way the cultures that came together got through the period (Roman, Celtic, Norse, Saxons, etc.), Ms. O'Quinn sets forth a history that most of us were not taught, especially in the U.S. And with the extraordinary, deeply sexual, romances between the three MCs laid out before us in such stark, and breathtaking, scenes, she captures a side of the cultures that must have been if not acceptable, but at least not persecuted, during the times.
O'Quinn has left us with one of the most unusual and unforgettable characters in any of her books--and she has many--or in anyone else's similar tomes. Gristle, the ethereal, introspective, sinewy, overpowering, wise and lonely abandoned Roman soldier stands apart in godlike fashion and creates a cocoon of heated passion, tormented emotions, and safekeeping for his two younger lovers. He brings us into this sheltered existence by slowly baring his soul to each of them, and to us. And he takes us on sexual journeys that are powerful, somewhat hedonistic, and (in a particularly innovative way when it comes to lubrication) absolutely breathtaking.
It took me half a summer to get through the books, not because they were boring but because after three or so chapters you simply have to catch your breath. That you can come back having never lost your place--nor your affection--is the hallmark of a clever spider of an author who knows how to weave the right kind of web.
starsAtmospheric, Sexy, Romantic!
This is a savory, silky, succulent feast of a story. How good is it? Upon its completion I immediately accessed the web on my Kindle, and purchased the sequel; I never browse the web on my Kindle, never... Yeah, it's that good.
If you like epic historical romances, like those of the late and dearly beloved David Gemmell, you will probably delight in this male/male romantic historical adventure based in ancient Ireland...
This is male/male romance at its best. Both of the leads are brilliantly manly, each holding attractive qualities that captivate the imagination. While their physical attributes and physicality are thoroughly portrayed, it is the holistic exploration of their emotional, mental, and spiritual selves that give a tantalizing `meat' to this sensuous and lyrically written tale.
Ex-Roman soldier Gristle is a martial warrior who tends to be a solitary creature. A renowned teacher and practitioner of martial arts, he is also thought to be a hard, tough man of few words, thus his nickname. The story takes place towards the end years of the Roman Empire. Now that the Roman army has all but disappeared, Gristle aligns himself with various groups that require trained men to uphold the new townships springing up about the ravaged lands. One such group is that of a young girl, Caitlin O'Neill, and it is at her side that he meets the young pony trainer Wynn. Not one for showing emotion, Gristle nonetheless feels something when young Wynn approaches him asking to be his student. It is a feeling which he has not had for ten years, when another young man, whom he held dear to his heart, simply disappeared, leaving him bereft. Shaken to his core, wondering if the attractive Wynn could be another "companion," of the sort that he never dared hope would come into his life a second time, Gristle agrees to train the boy.
Pony trainer Wynn is a lovely example of a young male on the brink of coming into his own. He's just discovering who he is and is intent on finding his place in the world. Full of curiosity and yet feeling a little lost, through some fortune he has a skill with the wild ponies of the land. He has been tasked to bring a herd of animals to another area of the countryside, so that they may roam and breed unplagued by the tattered groups of humanity scattered about the devastated country...
He has seen Gristle training Caitlin in the ways of the warrior and finding much to admire in the silent male, seeks his guidance, thinking to train with such a man will surely shed more light on how to go about becoming the man he wants to be. When he meets Gristle to pose his question, he finds himself almost trembling in anticipation and experiencing sensual feelings that throw whatever he felt for Caitlin deep in shadow.
Captured in exquisitely woven passages that shift from one lead's point of view to the other and from the past to the present and back, this is a magical, powerful tale of three men finding love and themselves in the aftermath of war and hardship. Although character driven, glimpses of history are shown through enchanting descriptions that illustrate the lifestyle and atmosphere of this ancient time of fresh beginnings.
Interwoven throughout the multiple story-lines, the romance between the lead characters is sharp, powerful and delivered with an almost dreamy voice that belies its intensity. The sex scenes are frequent, well-timed, and extremely well written: Driven and scorching, but somehow never losing the romantic intention; lusty without losing the love.
I would be remiss if I did not mention that the novel engages all of your senses; I could smell the dust in the air, feel the wind on my face, taste the spit on my tongue, and see the hilly plains of the changing lands. I loved this fast-paced, exquisitely voiced tale of minds falling in love and fate working to bring love to the worthy.
Thank you, Erin O'Quinn, for this captivating love story, I can't wait to read the sequel! In a word... Dazzling!