A student healer and a noble paladin discover their destinies after they’re paired up in a sexually charged college class in Mansfield’s (Tamed by the Fire, 2013, etc.) erotic fantasy.
At the age of 21, half-elf Briarlarn “Briar” Tumbleweed has achieved her dream of attending the Academy of Magical Arts, and she’s eager to hone her skills and become a great healer. One morning she takes a wrong turn on her way to her Healing the Soul class and stumbles on a couple engaged in a healing session. Transfixed, Briar stops to watch, aroused by the couple’s movements. When she turns to leave, she runs into fellow student Uthiel Stoutheart, a paladin sworn to protect dragons. When they finally arrive at the Healing the Soul class, its instructor pairs them up for the semester. As Briar and Uthiel learn the fine art of healing through eroticism, they soon discover a powerful attraction to each other. Despite their feelings, both have secrets: Briar is desperate to keep her instructors from discovering that she’s still a virgin while Uthiel struggles with guilt over his role in the tragic death of his first love, which prevents him from achieving sexual pleasure. Mansfield’s novel applies many of the common tropes of erotic fiction to a magical land where elves, dwarves, trolls, and gnomes cavort in all manner of lascivious couplings. For the most part, this juxtaposition succeeds because of the appealing lead characters and a romance that gives the narrative substance. The scenes depicting Briar’s tutelage under the guidance of Uthiel are tender and erotic and even laced with a good dose of humor. Mansfield surrounds her leads with a vividly imagined cast of supporting characters, including Headmistress Seychelle, a dominatrix who believes Briar could follow in her footsteps; and Leeky Shortz, a naughty gnome with the unfortunate habit of appearing when Briar and Uthiel least expect him. Despite its successes, a few minor characters seem superfluous, such as Headmistress Seychelle’s submissive, Ray, a human with an eccentric fetish.
A saucy romp whose narrative excesses are tempered by likable lead characters and a tender love story.