After being caught in a lifelong cycle of heroin addiction, psychically-gifted florist Laurence Riley is finally sober. For the past three years Laurence has spent his time recovering from his overdose, helping at his mother’s flower shop, and trying to have visions of the future. But when he falls for the mysterious Earl of Banbury and accidentally summons an overly aggressive fertility god named Jack, Laurence’s life is thrown dramatically off course. In order to find his happily ever after Laurence will have to go toe to toe with Jack—and reconcile with all of his past mistakes.
Laurence’s identity as a heroin addict is central to his character. Despite the strides that Laurence has made towards living life without heroin, he still feels drawn towards drug use. He’s ashamed of his past. All of his relationships have involved manipulation, mistreatment, or coercion. He barely has the strength to stay sober, let alone harness his inherent psychic abilities. As far as Laurence is concerned, he believes his handsome looks are his only asset. He is a complex character who is dragged down by his own flaws.
Likewise, the Earl of Banbury (Quentin) is a uniquely damaged romantic interest. Quentin is constantly moving from city to city in an attempt to prevent his family from finding him. He’s uptight and antiquated, but also deeply scarred and terrified by romance. He wears his clothing like a costume and relies on alcohol to soothe his frayed nerves. His shy but commanding personality is enticing—both for Laurence and for readers.
While the budding relationship between Laurence and Quentin plays a major role in JACK OF THORNS, its plot is equally gripping. AK Faulkner fills the novel with Pagan practices, questions of legacy and bloodline, and titillating visions of the future. Multiple layers of internal and external conflict are woven together to form the narrative. Faulkner’s characters are forced to confront and overcome personal flaws, external expectations, and supernatural forces.
JACK OF THORNS takes an experienced bisexual character and a character that hasn’t figured out romance at all and throws them together in a chaste but touching story of two men growing stronger together. Laurence and Quentin learn to harness their inner power, stand up to bullies, and overcome past mistakes. The slow development of their romance combined with the thrill of battling a runaway god will keep readers flipping pages well past the point where they probably should have gone to bed.
Author AK Faulkner thrusts together two deliciously flawed main characters (a former heroin addict and a mysterious member of British nobility), then weaves an empowering plot of destiny, inheritance, and self-improvement—all while letting the reader languor in the glow of a glorious slow burn romance.
~Stephani Hren for IndieReader