4 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Anthology Book Christmas class difference Dee Dreamspinner Established Couple/Sequel Families/Weddings Fantasy Gay Heat Index Hidden Lovers Historical Holiday Hurt/comfort m/m Mid level steam/heat Mild level angst Monthly Theme Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Paranormal Part of a Series pining Standalone

Holidays: Poison Marked (2017 Advent Calendar) by TJ Nichols

Dreamspinner Presents


Kill his lover or disobey his king and instigate civil war?

As the feared court poison master, Nikko is sworn to do as his king bids. As the lover of the king’s nephew, Lord Rodas, Nikko must hide his affection or risk being labeled a traitor and punished. A former thief who clawed his way into the palace from the filthy streets, Nikko longs to be deserving of Rodas’s love.

A respected war hero, Rodas is in a delicate political situation. He is not the kingdom’s natural heir, though many support his claim over the wastrel, Prince Fortin. The last thing Rodas wants is war. His highest ambition is for Nikko to openly wear the jewels he’s bestowed on him as a public declaration of their love.

Neither man is prepared for the king to order Nikko to poison Rodas during the solstice feast or for the deadly intrigue they’re plunged into, which exposes their affair and rocks the foundations of the kingdom.


I was a little hesitant to read this story of a man ordered to poison his lover by the king, but I’m so glad I did!
Nikko is the royal poisoner to the king, (if there is such a title). He is also in love with the king’s nephew, Rodas.
Rodas is well liked, but runs afoul of the king because the Prince, (Fortin), is jealous of him. Nikko is torn between his loyalty to the king and his love for Rodas. I was pleasantly surprised at how the events played out, with Nikko playing Russion roulette with poisons and antidotes.
I definitely recommend this story; it’s a nice balance between love, intrigue, a bit of mystery and a (unconventional) HEA.

4 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review



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