A nicely developed short story. I liked how much I learned about the characters, and their world without a lot of forced information dumping, or stilted exposition. It felt like it flowed into the story naturally, and made me hungry to know more. I really liked Sam, and understood his moral quandary. I liked how he was introduced to Elia and the world of the bond mates, and I liked how things weren't quite as black and white as Sam expected. The mess of desire, repulsion, fear, and attraction was a heady mix, and I liked how his cousin's cryptic note played into his thoughts. It served not only to keep Sam more opened minded, but kept me more opened minded as well.
I was not a big of fan of Liam. I thought what he did to Sam was a bit hateful especially considering he didn't know Sam at all. Normally I would have some sympathy for him, but when I found out his reasons my sympathy dried up, especially in the face of his attitude, and demands. The fact I didn't like Zachariel either helped since part of me figured that the two of them deserved each other. I was surprised by how much I liked Elia. Earlier I figured I would have liked Liam better, but Elia's surprising independence, and intelligence won my grudging respect. His actions at the end of the story were really heartwarming, and I was glad that he was there when Sam needed a friend. Considering the place Sam was in I was glad that this story was not a romance, and that the events and people seemed to help him grow as a person. It seemed like just the thing he needed to move forward.
I really hope this is only the beginning of something more. I'd love to know more about Sam's history with his former clan, and what happened to him that made him lose his family. I want to know more about his mysterious cousin Adon, and I'd really like to see him live and in person. What I saw of him through the other characters made me really respect him. I'd also like to see more of Elia and Raphael, and the unique bond they share. The bond that Liam and Zachariel is supposed to be stronger, but I liked Raphael's respect for Elia better than the more stern, almost patronizing affection Zachariel has for Liam. I also want to see how Sam and Elia interact, and how that interaction will change both of them. Seriously, I will cry if I don’t ever get to know more. Big sloppy girl tears. Please, please tell me that there will be more.
Pretty please with a cherry on top.