“Tested in Fire” by E.J. Russell is even more chilling than the first story in the series (“The Artist’s Touch”) and an excellent addition to the series. I was happy that this one picked up relatively soon after the first tale and I like the clues that are being dribbled out as the story progresses. It was creepy discovering the underlying secrets but I was very happy that the men are actually connecting and deepening their relationship, even if they haven’t really reached a stable arrangement quite yet. Some things are a little murky for me, even after the climactic scene that puts things in their rightful place, but the story was exciting and enjoyable nonetheless.
The secondary characters provided wonderful color and were fun and useful additions and I hope they are featured in other stories as it would have been nice to know a bit more about them. I don’t think it would be advisable to read this as a stand-alone story because some elements have their basis in the preceding story. I am delighted to have discovered this author and series and I anxiously await more exciting stories!
A contemporary paranormal m/m story, this tale is part of the ‘Art Medium’ series and follows Stefan Cobbe and Luke Morganstern after they have shared an eerie connection and are starting a relationship. The growing pains of becoming a couple is tested, not only by the job that takes Luke to a distant country but by the unexpected developments that threaten to destroy their fragile bond permanently. A search for allies forces Stefan to decide what priorities he needs to focus on but his efforts may require even deeper investigation into the psychic world that he and Luke are sensitive to, and they are quickly running out of time.
Six months ago, Stefan Cobbe was at rock bottom: grief-stricken, guilt ridden, debt laden, artistically blocked, and living on charity in an isolated mountain cabin. But after reconciling with his first love, Luke, and moving to Sarasota with him, Stefan is preparing for his first major show. Yes, he still has debts, and no, Luke doesn’t understand Stefan’s desire for independence. But compared to last year? No contest.
Luke Morganstern ought to be happy. After all, his art-investigation business has recovered and he’s got his boyfriend back. But Stefan stubbornly refuses to move in with him or accept Luke’s financial help, and it’s really starting to bug him. Who knew that the biggest test of their relationship wouldn’t be time or distance, but his own insecurities? After Luke’s next job—a trip to Italy to retrieve a mysterious artifact—he plans to convince Stefan that it’s time to totally commit.
But when Luke returns, he changes, and Stefan begins to suspect that the person in Luke’s skin isn’t Luke at all. He can hardly go to the police and claim his lover is the victim of a supernatural hijacking though. He needs alternative help to find Luke and get him back, because he refuses to let anyone—or anything—come between them again.
Publisher's note: The Art Medium collection is available in both ebook and print.