Whisper Of The Blade
Torrid Tarot: Two Of Swords
by Anya Bast, fantasy (2007)
Ellora's Cave, $5.20, ISBN 978-1-4199-1096-8


Whisper Of The Blade is a ménage à trois story. Now, don't run, people, at least the two men in this story have distinct personalities and aren't just the same bloke being multiplied by two. This book is set in the same setting as Lauren Dane's Sword And Crown, although I don't think one needs to read that book to enjoy this one.

Our heroine Emmia has the power to ferret out people's emotions so she's a "justice mercenery" because she offers the use of her talent to "feel" out criminals. She's not to be confused with an "injustice mercenery", obviously. After being hard at work kicking behinds, Emmia retreats to her woodside shack and in the time-honored tradition of erotic romance heroines everywhere, takes off her clothes for a swim. Watching her is Magnus, our hero who is accused of killing his last lover Caith and is now on his way to look for Quinn who is looking for Emmia. You want me to say that a little more slowly? Quinn and Magnus are lovers with each other as well as with that dead Caith and now Quinn wants to get Emmia to help find proof of Magnus' innocence.

The plot of this story isn't much to chew on since it's pretty much Emmia interrogating people until she goes, "Ooh!" and stumbles upon Caith's murderer. However, on the bright side there are more to the threesome of Emmia, Quinn, and Magnus than sex. There are some angst, some trust issues, and more, but unfortunately the bulk of the intense angst and chemistry takes place between Magnus and Quinn. Poor Emmia comes off very often like the token female in a relationship with two men who seem to be more into each other than they are into her.

I can't help thinking that this story will be so much better if it is just Magnus and Quinn performing all kinds of sexual aerobics. Emmia's presence causes the romance to become hard to believe because the romantic aspects of the ménage à trois don't ring real. It's just an "Oh, she finds the two men hot and they find her hot so it's party time, hurrah" thing with Emmia involved. If it's just Magnus and Quinn, at least the author will be free to portray them as pretty boys having hot angsty sex with the tension between them giving their relationship a more believable foundation.

Still, the characters are pretty well-drawn to a two-dimensional degree and likable, with the bonus of Emmia being a smart and level-headed heroine. Whisper Of The Blade also has some very nicely written naughty scenes. Its only flaw is that I don't find the romantic aspects of this story even a little believable, but if you are looking for a well-written fluffy threesome sex romp featuring characters you won't want to throttle to death with your own hands, this one is probably it.

Rating: 78


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