Review - Hardwood by Sam Burns and W.M. Fawkes

book cover


by Sam Burns, W.M. Fawkes

My rating:

Volume 3 of Poisonwood & Lyric

Tags: Fantasy Novella

Posted in Book Reviews on February 1, 2023

Unlike his brothers, Malcolm has no problem being an incubus. His father may be an evil bastard, but at least he's a rich evil bastard who can buy Malcolm nice clothes and get them into clubs where there are lots of pretty humans to pick from. It's a long way from the squalor he grew up in with his drug-addict mother, and Malcolm has no intention of going back. Kosta is a siren who has turned his back on his kind. Unlike incubi, sirens kill the hapless humans they lure with their songs, and Kosta refuses to do that. Instead, he traveled to the other side of the world and got a job tending bar in a noisy dance club where the noise would drown out any sound he made. When Malcolm makes a pass at Kosta, he knows what Malcolm is but has no problem turning down the entitled incubus, even as pretty as he is.

This third and final installment of the Poisonwood & Lyric series is something of an enemies-to-lovers tale. Kosta and Malcolm take an instant dislike to each other. It takes getting thrown together in dire circumstances for them to see past the hard shells they've built up around their hearts.

Malcolm is a somewhat difficult character to like, at least at first, but we do get some idea of how he became the way he is. Having been raised in extreme poverty and abuse, it's not too hard to imagine how suddenly being thrust into a position where he not only got whatever he asked for, but was also irresistible to humans, would make Malcolm a rather jaded young man.

Kosta is the more sympathetic of the two main characters, and especially the hero, as he rides in to save Malcolm despite not liking the young man. It's easier to understand his change of attitude when he gets to know Malcolm, and his protective streak comes out as a pleasant surprise.

The ending of this story is a bit of a letdown. Not only is it more happy-for-now than happily-ever-after, but the story goes out of its way to raise questions about Malcolm's family that it never answers.

“Hardwood” is available from Amazon.