In this sequel to The Courtship of Julian St. Albans, Julian – once a member of the pampered elite and Courted by the cream of society – is now an Apprentice and the still-pampered boyfriend of consulting mage Alex Benedict.He arrives one bright August morning at the plant nursery where he’s working through his apprenticeship, only to find a dead body among the lucky clover. This is the first in a series of strange murders that keep getting closer and closer to home, to Julian’s wonderful new life and all the magic threading through it, including the new magic that’s blossomed inside him.
Alex Benedict is left working against an unknown threat to solve the murders and keep his lover alive, and it seems like all of his magic won’t be enough. With opposition from inside the Agency and out, and only Alex’s wards for refuge, Julian has to learn to use his own powers fast enough to keep from becoming another casualty.
Great storyline by Cook, the characters were a little over-the-top.
Downloaded as a free book via Amazon Kindle store. Not sure what Amy Cook had in mind when she created Julian-who is so gay he makes Liberace look butch. Julian just is too feminine, whiny, weak and helpless to be likable. I found his feminine mannerisms too over-the-top to be the least bit realistic. In fiction, one has to suspend a bit of reality to make the story work, but in this book, Julian was too unconventional.
His partner, Alex, is middlin as the butch character as is his supervisor. They both are stereotypical masculine, butch characters that coddle and coo at Julian. Alex and Julian are somewhat a couple, though to be fair, I did not read the first book, which may explain the match. The storyline itself is a good one, Cook did a fine job of the murder, tieing in the investigation, the bad guys and so on. Cook brings in some fairy-type characters that are like house and grounds keepers for Alex and Julian’s home. She makes up her own myth and fairy rules that the two keepers live by, I was confused why.
All in all, the book is enjoyable but may be a bit saccharine for the casual reader. I give 2 stars.