Hard As Stone - Rory Ni Coileain
3.5 Stars

I love anything involving the Fae, which meant resisting the temptation of Rory Ni Coileain’s Hard as Stone was futile. It’s an erotic novel that has introduced an alternate reality where Tiernan Guaire and Kevin Almstead discover that falling in love with each other is a dangerous proposition.

Tiernan and Kevin worked pretty well for me as a couple—their chemistry was off-the-charts, no question—and they speak body language fluently. Tiernan is the Fae who was exiled to the human plane more than one-hundred-fifty years earlier for committing the crime of fratricide; Kevin is the human who is about to become embroiled in a betrayal that could not only leave him disbarred but imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit.

The insta-love trope has never been a favorite of mine unless it’s backed up by some good relationship building (out of bed) after, even in paranormal/fantasy/urban fantasy where certain rules allow for it. In Tiernan and Kevin’s case, it’s initially a one sided romance and is somewhat more insta-lust, but the point is I had to work a little bit to suspend disbelief of Kevin’s easy-breezy acceptance of his feelings for Tiernan. Considering he’d never been attracted to a man before, I thought it felt a little too convenient, too simple, especially as sex was the factor the author used to build the relationship between the two men. The one thing that kept this relationship from being implausible to me, though, was Tiernan. The self-loathing and baggage he’s been carrying around for more than a century, his belief in his unworthiness, worked as a huge stumbling block in his relationship with Kevin, keeping things one-sided for much of the time. He tried his best to screw Kevin out of his system—man or woman, he wasn’t choosy. Hard as stone? Yep, that was Tiernan’s heart, and Rory Ni Coileain wove a rather romantic element into her folklore that lent some more credibility to the immediate connection these two men felt for each other. The series title says it all—when Tiernan is banished from the Realm, his soul is halved and it’s Kevin who shares the other half.

Tiernan and Kevin’s parallel stories—the demonic monster that’s trying its best to make Tiernan suffer, and the human one who’s trying his damndest to set Kevin up to take the fall for a crime he didn’t commit—worked well, though I thought Kevin’s side story was easier to follow. The draw of Tiernan’s storyline, however, was the acid-trip supernatural aspect of it all, and it was fun getting caught up in the suspense and drama and the freakish nature of it all.

Overall, I liked Hard as Stone and am looking forward to moving along to the next book in the series. If you like a good Fae/Human erotic journey with a sweet fairly tale ending, then this is your go-to novel.