Blurb: England, 1804. Herne the Hunter has roamed the forests for hundreds of years and he’s known love with fellow half stag-shifter Tam for the past two centuries. The passion between them sizzles hot as ever, but times are changing. Greenwood magic is fading and this threatens both Herne and Tam’s immortality and the bond between them.
After Herne discovers the Greenwood fairies are dying, and dockworkers felling oaks to build warships might be to blame, he wants to fight the modern world with his warrior’s sword. Tam, who embraces all things new, desires a dominant partner, not a brute who wants to drag England back to the Dark Ages. Soon the Wild Hunt, Herne’s ancient army of doom, are back, tempting him to unleash his wrath, and the rhythm of Herne and Tam’s lovemaking seems broken for good. When Tam’s plan to reinstate a spring ritual goes awry, only Herne can save him. Herne must choose between his past and future, and they both must decide what matters most—eternal life or eternal love.
A blossom-scented breeze blasted Tam as they bounded over tangles of ivy and lawlessly straggling flowers, into deeper, denser forest. Swift and sure as stags, they wove through glades of beech and pine, damp with dew and drenched with the smell of herbs. The race exhilarated Tam. They ducked the low limbs of the chestnuts and leaped winding roots; coarse brushwood scratched his ankles, but with Herne grasping him, he could never grow tired. The huntsman exuded strength as surely as their perspiration mingled where they touched, thrilling him, though he couldn’t help noting the forest’s scars. Many young spruces and firs had been brutalized with coppicing—an ancient practice and part of the forest’s life. But it had grown too prevalent, and where some of the oldest, greatest oaks had once stood, yawning gaps had opened up, revealing the woolly clouds sailing above.
His rising nerves diminished his ardor. Would the dell where he and Herne became betrothed still be there? While he was always keen to embrace new ways and customs, he’d be saddened if none of the beloved places remained intact.
Herne thundered to a halt. The laces of his tunic had unthreaded during their run. His garb fell open to display his heaving chest, adorned with crisp, dark hair. Tam wanted to tear the huntsman’s clothing from him but looked around first. “Are we here?”
Tam spotted a distinctive oak at the head of the dell—with the hooked branch from which he’d once taken the betrothal ribbon—and laughed with delight. “Yes! It’s still here. And look.” He pointed to a circle of toadstools, three paces distant. They were small and shriveled, an unhealthy yellowy-fawn color, but they were there. “The fairy ring remains too. Come on.”
He drew Herne into the circle, which reached about two yards across, and they stood at its heart. Herne held him and rubbed his erection against Tam once more. “Do you remember what we do now?” teased Tam. As he laughed, a stiff breeze skirmished through the trees, and a line of worry creased Herne’s brow. Tam’s humor faded. “What is it?”
“I heard something. A faint whisper on the wind called my name.”
Tam hadn’t noticed anything so distinct, but he’d been caught up in his joke and focused above all things on Herne. His hopes lurched. “Do you think it was them? The fair folk? I’ll wager they’re coming to watch us.”
“Maybe it was,” mumbled Herne, easing his frown. “Now be quiet, and let me fuck you.”