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4.5 out of 5
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    4.5 stars- Not the average holiday short

    Poison Marked is not your traditional holiday story. Historical romance with a bit of a magical fantasy element, it’s everything I wouldn’t expect to like, but I really enjoyed this one. There was quite a bit going on in the plot, but somehow it never felt muddled and I was quickly drawn into the story. The action starts fast, with a major conflict coming into play as the power struggle between the prince and one of the heroes is brought to light. I liked that the connection between Rodas and Nikko also was immediately established, with the hidden signals and stolen glances enhancing the men’s connection. The forbidden romance between Nikko and Rodas certainly lent another exciting component to Poison Marked, and I loved that the author took an unexpected direction making the men’s social statuses the issue rather than their sexuality. While Rodas and Nikko’s relationship existed predominantly in stolen moments, the way it developed and intertwined with the secondary plot relayed the love that had grown between the two without ever feeling forced or unbelievable. The plot progressed swiftly but naturally, included a few unexpected turns that ratcheted up the excitement, and culminated in a surprising ending I really enjoyed. While Poison Marked is a bit off the beaten path when it comes to what I’d expect from a holiday collection, I enjoyed the writing and story so much I may further delve outside my typical genres and try more from the author. If you’re in search of something different or love a good historical/fantasy romance, I’d certainly recommend this short. *Reviewed for Alpha Book Club*

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