Book Title: Yours, Everlasting
Author: Beth Bolden
Cover Artist: Sleepy Fox Studio
Release Date: April 6, 2022
Genre: Fantasy MM Romance
Tropes: Opposites attract, road trip romance, secret admirer
Themes: Good versus evil, staying true to one’s self, redemption
Length: 92 000 words
Heat Rating: 4 flames
It is not a standalone story. It is book 2 in the Enchanted Folklore series and does not end on a cliffhanger.
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Evrard . . .Rhys . . .Evander . . .
Evander has gone by many names in the last thousand years. He’s lived almost as many lives, using his immortality and his unique shapeshifting abilities to become anyone and anything. His goal was simple: to eradicate the malevolent magic threatening all humankind.
After finally succeeding, Evander feels he’s earned a justifiable and peaceful retirement. But the past never stays buried, and he discovers that it’s been watching him . . .
Marcos, the Guardian of War, has waited, he’s observed, he’s admired, and he’s yearned. But now it’s time for him to step into the light and let Evander see him for who he truly is.
But fate is fickle, destinies aren’t set in stone, and as much as Marcos hopes Evander might be his, it will be the fight of his life to not only win Evander’s heart, but to defeat the evil that once again raises its sinister head.
Marcos knew he would not tire easily, but Rhys—Evander, that was Evander under that unassuming exterior, a marvel that would never fail to astonish him—undoubtedly would.
After watching him for hundreds of years, both keeping near to him, and also keeping his distance, Marcos was still not sure how reduced his power was.
Marcos knew he’d retained some of the magic he’d possessed before, but unlike when he’d been the Guardian of Secrets, now, he was clearly more particular about how and when he used it.
“We should stop for a rest,” Marcos said, after they’d been walking all night and partway into the day, almost without pause.
They’d stopped once, to fill their waterskins at a cold, bubbling stream. They’d long since left Beaulieu behind, and they had not even passed through a single village. Out of choice, Marcos had assumed, but it still surprised him that Evander kept to the disguise of Rhys.
Surely now that Marcos had revealed himself, Evander would let the shape of unassuming, gruff Rhys melt away until he finally was himself again.
Except not once, as far as Marcos knew, had Evander taken his normal shape since he’d been banished.
But now, now that he was with Marcos again, surely the subterfuge was unnecessary.
Rhys glared at him. Even after all these hundreds of years, watching Evander be someone else, he was not used to seeing Evander stare out at him through someone else’s face. “Do you need to stop?” he asked.
“No, of course I do not,” Marcos said. “I am a Guardian, I could walk all the way up the North Mountain without stopping. But . . .”
“But I am no longer a Guardian,” Rhys interrupted him. “Your point is clear.”
But even if it was clear, Rhys was obviously annoyed that Marcos had brought it up.
He doesn’t trust you, he thinks you’re to blame, which isn’t all that surprising, and now he thinks you’re patronizing him.
It was not the most auspicious beginning, but Marcos still held out hope that maybe they could forge a partnership, even after all this time had passed.
He just had to stop himself from saying the wrong thing and angering Evander—he is Rhys, Marcos reminded himself—even more.
So far, he had not managed even that.
Rhys stopped when the sun reached its zenith in the sky, finding a shady grouping of trees, with a large fallen log they could rest next to.
“Is this sufficient?” There was still a bite to Rhys’ words.
“Perfectly sufficient,” Marcos said, taking care to make sure there was no additional inflection to his words that would anger Rhys further. He certainly was not going to be stupid enough to remind the ex-Guardian that he did not need to rest at all.
Rhys settled down against the log. He looked tired. Perhaps if he changed forms, back to Evander, he might find additional strength. Maintaining a different form could be a strain on his power reserves.
Marcos would have suggested it but the silence that had fallen between them, and Rhys’ defensiveness every time he made even the simplest suggestion, kept him quiet.
He waited until Rhys closed his eyes, and then shut his own, sure that Rhys, who was obviously exhausted, would fall asleep quickly.
But a moment later, Rhys spoke up. “You did not mean to reveal yourself to me.”
Marcos had never been as accomplished a liar as Evander had been. He’d never needed to be. Fighting was often straightforward, with little need for deception, and he’d never gotten into the practice of telling falsehoods well.
He could lie, but it was unlikely Rhys would believe him, and the chances of Rhys being even angrier at the lie were considerable.
“No,” he said carefully. “No, I did not mean to reveal myself.”
Rhys looked like Rhys, and not anything like Evander, not like . . . not like the Guardian he’d known for so many years . . . but Marcos’ heart beat faster anyway when he opened his eyes and Rhys was staring at him—like he was trying to figure Marcos out, still.
5 out of 5 (exceptional)
Independent Reviewer for Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!
This is book 2 in the Enchanted Folklore series. While it can be read as a stand alone book, to get the full impact of this book, you should read Yours Forever After first. It will give you a better view of Evrard, and just what he means to this world.
As the Guardian of Secrets, he is called Evander. Banished for wanting to keep people safe from power hungry sorcerers, he becomes Rhys, and then Evrard, the King of the Unicorns. Marcos watched from afar for so long, so VERY long but now things have changed and they both need to reveal themselves, and quite possibly save the world from those who were tasked with keeping it safe.
In book one, he is Evrard and then Rhys. Here, we get Evander, as he was in the beginning. And it is very important, that beginning, and it shapes him, for all those years to come.
What I especially loved about this book was the time involved! I mean, Evander has been on the surface for a thousand years, and Marcos has loved for that long, longer in fact. Marcos watched Evander when Evander didn't even see Marcos, from before his banishment. That Evander, as Guardian of Secrets, didn't know that, was surprising!
There is a huge amount of emotion in this book. Evander has been alone for a long time. Gray and Rory helped but Evander is lonely. Marcos is patient, has been a long time wanting Evander, but now things need to move forward, so he makes himself known to Evander.
As things move along, Evander joins the dots, putting it all together, and is surprised by Marcos, many times. Marcos is also surprised when Evander reveals some things he had not noticed after all this time.
There is love, even if Evander doesn't think himself capable of such feeling. Betrayal too, and Evander has to deal with the aftermath of that.
Gray and Rory from book 1 play a huge part, and it was fun to catch up with them and their own surprise at the end.
It's beautifully written, from Evander and Marcos point of view. It takes a long time for everything to come together, including Marcos and Evander, and I love that I had to wait. Because sometimes, you need to be made to wait, and the result is such a sweet, sweet thing.
Are there more? Will there be? I'd love to catch up with Evander, Marcos, Gray and Rory but also, there was clearly something between two other Guardians, and I'd like more on that.
I gave book 1 four stars but I found this a much more engaging read, so beautifully told, a story of everlasting love.
5 full and shiny stars
** same worded review will appear elsewhere **
* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *
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A lifelong Pacific Northwester, Beth Bolden has just recently moved to North Carolina with her supportive husband. Beth still believes in Keeping Portland Weird, and intends to be just as weird in Raleigh.
Beth has been writing practically since she learned the alphabet. Unfortunately, her first foray into novel writing, titled Big Bear with Sparkly Earrings, wasn’t a bestseller, but hope springs eternal. She’s published twenty-three novels and seven novellas.