Cole over at Jessewave's blog did a great review of Unfinished Business, and gave it a a 4.5/5.0 rating. (And he's going to be reviewing the other three stories in the Hidden Magic verse too, which is awesome. :D )
Aubrey is a master mage and over two hundred years old, while Cal is his apprentice in his thirties. They are also lovers and it is very easy to see how much they love each other — in their looks, little touches, and the banter they throw back and forth like old lovers who have been together a lifetime. It is an extreme May-December relationship in terms of age, yet the issues that usually come to light in such a relationship, especially an inbalance of power, are dealt with humor between the two of them. In short, Aubrey likes to brag about his grandiose power and Cal loves to poke the beast.
This story was such a delight. Not only did I get to revisit a world that I love and two characters who make me laugh, but for the first time, we get to see Aubrey and Cal in private. We see them from Cal’s POV and we get a pure voyueristic treat: magical sex between the two men. The story stayed true to their characters as humor and the little games they play shone throughout the dialogue. Also, though not as proficient, Cal is a mage as well, and as highly magical mortals, I knew that their sex had to be interesting. It didn’t dissapoint.
I love that Cole focused on Cal and Aubrey's relationship, because that's what makes these characters so much fun for me to write. They love each other deeply, but it's all plastered over with joking and teasing. There's something about them that makes me smile, and I never have to wonder how they'd respond to one another.
The age difference is definitely a key factor, along with the huge power imbalance on a magical level. In some urban fantasy or paranormal romances, one character is hundreds or even thousands of years older than the other, and vastly more powerful, and how they fall in love or even relate to one another is just sort of hand-waved. I can't imagine having enough in common with a guy even 20 years younger than I am to want to get into a relationship, much less a few centuries younger. With Cal and Aubrey, I'm focusing on making the age/power difference work here in a realistic way, and the shared sense of humor is definitely a big part of it. I'm glad that's working.
Thanks to Cole for his great comments. :D