Adventures in Aguillo, Book 2
Royal envoys Calarian and Benji embark on a quest in the alpine duchy of Tournel. Things go rapidly downhill when the duke plummets to his death from the tower wall. Whoops—that's going to be hard to explain. And it’s not as though they can just grab the nearest human and make him the new duke.
Or can they?
Enter one Lars Melker, a slightly gullible cowherd built entirely of muscles and sunshine, who happily accepts their word when they tell him he’s the duke now.
Soon Calarian and Benji are knee deep in teaching Lars how to fake it until he makes it. They're also dealing with mountain trolls, a monster, a missing cow, and, most shocking of all, a growing realisation that their elves-with-benefits arrangement might be turning into something with feelings.
Add in their mutual attraction to Lars, and suddenly the hills are alive with the sound of emotionally compromised collectivist anarchist elves.
Also, what’s the deal with those leather shorts?
What to say. This book was exactly what it was going to be.
It’s a MMM when two of the characters are bumping uglies and pretending—or not thinking about the fact that it’s a little deeper then headboard banging sex and this is shown to both of them when a person turns up they both want to jump. Honestly, tho I feel the romance with the new dude worked and it was sweet and sappy it is very much a romance of our two elves realising they can feel deeply for each other even if that’s not what they are meant to be.
It wasn’t as laugh out loud funny as the first book and yet it had some moments that had me smiling. I guess it’s funnier in what’s happening around them over funny in their story which the first one was a little more that way, I think. I don’t know, it’s a different sort of funny and it was perfect for the story it was telling.
I enjoyed going back into the world. I really enjoyed the three MC’s and their romances. And overall looking forward to more stories in this series.
For all that Benji had a six-hundred-page manifesto on how to burn society to the ground, he’d never actually been involved in accidentally assassinating a duke of the realm and installing a random one on his throne before. (He did genuinely feel slightly bad about that, if only because some poor oppressed soul was going to have to hose the paving stones down later.) Did dukes even have thrones? He wasn’t sure. There was probably something about it in the Human Heraldry and Peerage Handbook, if Calarian ever saved up enough to buy it. Until then, Benji supposed, it would be a mystery. Their duke certainly didn’t seem to have a throne. He had a wooden chair that looked exactly the same as any other moderately fancy dining room chair—although Benji admitted that his judgement might have become skewed recently, what with hanging around with actual kings in an actual castle—that sat next to the fireplace in the great hall.
There had been a little bit of consternation when Calarian had announced that Lars was the new Duke of Tournel, but that had been almost an hour ago. Now, after a hastily conducted investiture ceremony, everyone seemed to be coming to terms with their new leadership.
There had been one older member of the court—committee? council? Whatever the table of old men who ruled a duchy was called, anyway—who’d looked at them askance, but Calarian had puffed out his chest, flicked his hair back, and proclaimed that as Royal Advisors, their word was not to be doubted, and just look at Lars, didn’t the very sight of him scream nobility?
Benji personally thought that the sight of Lars screamed Take me to bed and suck my dick, but he suspected that wasn’t something he should share with the frosty-faced chancellor—councillor? courtier?—in front of them. Instead, he nodded along with Calarian as sincerely as he could.
Lars was obviously smarter than Benji had given him credit for, because he plopped himself in the not-throne like he belonged there, gave the councillor a judgemental glare that Benji was frankly jealous of, and put an end to the argument before it even started.
Benji was honestly starting to rethink a lot of his ideas about inciting humans to overthrow their despotic masters because, honestly, these people were about as passionate and exciting as cottage cheese. They didn’t seem like the revolutionary sort at all. Too well-fed and rosy-cheeked. They were obviously too happy and docile to realise how oppressed they were, like the fat dairy cows that Lars was now somehow talking about.
“I just came to see if anyone could help me find Maisy,” he said earnestly. His leather shorts creaked enticingly as he leaned forward in his seat. “I don’t actually know how to solve a dispute between you and your apprentice, Master Baker.” He cast his blue, guileless gaze around the room. “Does anyone have any cow-related problems?”
Benji rolled his eyes and wondered where Calarian’s strategic wisdom was now. He leaned over towards him and lowered his voice. “Listen, if we’re going to overthrow the government, then–”
“What?” Calarian’s eyes widened in alarm. “That’s—that’s not what we’re going to do, Benji!”
“Are you sure?” Benji asked. “Because I feel like that’s the next logical step after putting an incompetent puppet on the throne. Or the dining chair, in this case.”
“No, we’re here to help the duke with his mountain troll problem,” Calarian hissed.
Oh, the mountain troll problem. To be fair, Benji had forgotten about that—but then, he hadn’t actually really cared in the first place. Calarian was weirdly obsessed with quests, which Benji thought was stupid, and honestly, if Calarian’s dick hadn’t been so nice Benji probably would have ditched him weeks ago. Because it was very nice, and it also happened that Calarian knew exactly what to do with it.
Benji raised his eyebrows. “Do you want to go and fuck?”
“Is that all you think about?”
“I also think about overthrowing tyranny,” Benji said. “But it’s about fifty fifty. And I can't overthrow tyranny in an afternoon, but I can throw your legs over my shoulders in five minutes flat, and I'm working with a limited time frame.”
“We’re doing a quest,” Calarian whispered fiercely.
“And we could be doing the dirty alchemist,” Benji said, and waggled his brows.
Benji could tell just by looking at Calarian that he wanted to be annoyed, but he also wanted Benji to fuck him into next week. It was almost endearing, how predictable Calarian was—and maybe that was also partly why Benji hung around him. He counted down in his head as Calarian’s brows pulled together. Three, two…
“Fine,” Calarian grumbled. “We’ll fuck. After we advise the new duke. It’s his first day, after all. He’s not even wearing robes.”
He wasn’t, either. Just those leather shorts and braces over a fitted linen shirt, a combination that could have been much sexier if the shorts had been a few inches shorter, instead of skimming the tops of Lars's ridiculously attractive knees. Whenever he looked at them, Benji thought longingly of razor-sharp shears. Even without short shorts though, Lars was definitely Benji's type. (And no, his type wasn’t anything with a pulse, fuck you very much, Loth.) Benji was attracted to pretty people—it was his elvish nature. He’d grown up surrounded by ethereal beauty, it was only natural that that’s where his interests lay. Speaking of lay, he wondered idly if Lars might be interested in learning the alchemist.
“Stop ogling the duke,” Calarian whispered sharply, a pointy elbow digging into Benji’s ribs.
“He’s technically a cow farmer,” Benji said. “Or something to do with cows, anyway. And I’ll ogle who I want. Besides,” he added, “I’m not the one practically salivating over Mr. Leather Shorts there.”
Calarian glared, but he didn’t disagree. How could he? Benji had a point.
“I mean,” Benji continued, “I’m opposed to leather, of course, because leather is murder, but I’m totally going to make an exception in his case.”
“You’re opposed to leather because leather is murder?” Calarian arched a brow. “But you’re not actually opposed to murder though, are you?”
“I’m complicated and contain multitudes,” Benji agreed.
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Lisa likes to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters.
Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn't know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she's too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.
She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.
She shares her house with too many cats, a dog, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.
Lisa has been published since 2012, and was a LAMBDA finalist for her quirky, awkward coming-of-age romance Adulting 101, and a Rainbow Awards finalist for 2019’s Anhaga.
To connect with Lisa on social media, you can find her here:
She also has a Facebook group where you’ll be kept in the loop with updates on releases, have a chance to win prizes, and probably see lots of lots of pictures of her dog and cats. You can find it here: Lisa Henry’s Hangout.
Sarah lives in Western Australia with her partner, two cats, two dogs and a TARDIS.
A teacher once told her life’s not a joke.
She begs to differ.
Her proudest achievements include having kids who will still be seen with her in public, and knowing all the words to Bohemian Rhapsody.
Elf Defence is her second published novel.
You can connect with Sarah on Facebook, or send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.