Title: Heaven’s Heretics
Author: Kathryn Scannell
Length: 7,900 words
Genre: m/m Paranormal Erotica, Romance?
Blurb: Ian thought he was going to spend summer keeping a rich, bored patron happy, but Frank was more interested in using him for Satanic rituals than in partying and sex. He fled, but Frank isn’t willing to let him go. Will the bikers who’ve picked him up help him, or be a different kind of danger? Dee, their magus, has to rescue Ian from Frank’s magic, while resisting the temptation to get involved with a much younger man who can’t possibly want him except maybe out of duty or gratitude.
Review: I meant to read this story at the end of this summer, when it came out with the other Torquere Charity stories, but I ended up missing it. I remember being a little puzzled by the blurb, and curious about it. I tend to like stories about mages, wizards, magic, etc., but I really wasn’t sure what this story was about. And while the blurb is pretty accurate to the story, it doesn’t impart a whole lot of information.
Ian is running away from a series of demons of some kind chasing him, with skulls for faces and fires in their eyes. He thinks he’s hallucinating as he runs through the forest, but he’s desperate to get away from the party which took a bad turn and from Frank, the man who became his patron for the summer but changed the rules of what sexual duties he would perform at the last minute. Ian is a rent boy, but everything he saw at the party has him seriously freaked out. Is he hallucinating from some drug from the party? He isn’t sure until a group of bikers rescues him and he learns all the things about Frank that the man kept hidden.
I liked the premise of this story — that Ian is being controlled by magic that he knows nothing about — but found it a bit lacking in execution. It suffers mostly from the problem that a lot of these stories suffered from with such a short word limit, there’s more story than space for it. While we get the bare bones of the plot in the story there is no time for any kind of romance to develop, and any real connection between Ian and Dee (the mage who rescues him) past sex is tacked on at the end to give the story at least an HFN ending. So while I didn’t find this a romance, I’m considering it as an erotica story. The solution to their problems in the end seemed a little contrived towards getting everyone naked and raunchy with little inhibition but, well I can let that go
This definitely isn’t one of the best TQ charity stories I’ve read this year, but it was enjoyable, if a little frustrating that there were parts of the story seemingly missing (Ian’s magical abilities — for one). Purely a middle of the road story for me.