Under His Lover’s Wing by Merry Farmer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Prince and the Mermaid Boy (Steamy M/M Regency Romance)

What a beautiful fairytale of a book!

Lord Spencer Brightling has returned from the wars nearly deaf after a cannon blast destroyed his hearing. Anxious and morose, he joins his friends at a summer-long house party at the Duke of Malton’s that is the backdrop for the After the Wars series. Enter Declan Shelton, the duke’s young gamekeeper, who lives on the estate with his father. Declan is a lovely, gamine sprite of a young man who dreams of mermaids and talks out loud to animals. He reminded me a bit of Dickens from The Secret Garden. Declan is an innocent in every sense and he brings a freshness and sweetness to the story–and into Spencer’s life.

Declan is a captivating young hero, who has a “kind and beautiful soul” as Spencer tells him. He feels sympathy for the foxes who reside on the estate, rehoming them rather than killing them, and believing them misunderstood. After all, he thinks to himself, it “wasn’t the fox’s fault that it was created with a nature others didn’t understand.”

Of course, the same could be said of Declan himself or any of the other men in After the Wars, who prefer the company and love of other men. Declan has been thought of as peculiar and strange all his life, but as the summer progresses things reach a critical junction as the villain, Goddard, who has appeared in previous books, rears his ugly head and sets Declan up to take the fall for his criminal activities. Understandably, Spencer won’t stand for the attacks upon his newfound love and reacts ferociously–which I loved. He has been transformed quickly by his adoration for the young gamekeeper. Decan is truly perfect for this damaged soldier who needs someone besides himself to care about and to protect.

For those who have been reading the series from the start, it is extremely satisfying watching this group of friends unite against a common enemy to protect a young man who has newly become one of their own. This is only my second book in the series (I somehow missed the two before this, but read the very first) but Merry Farmer does such a fabulous job of depicting this close cohort of men, at once so masculine and tough, but also capable of so much tenderness and playfulness with one another–sometimes as lovers, yes, but also simply as loyal friends.

And, of course, Merry Farmer always delivers with steamy scenes that will have you blushing like a Peeping Tom in the woods!

Summary: Incredibly sweet romance with a suspenseful back story that will have you turning the pages non-stop!

Tropes: Age gap, Prince/Peasant class difference, Hero with a disability, Hero who has been bullied, Kill the Beast! Trope

Steam Level: 4/5

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