Checkmate by K.D. Tabith

If that's how to really play chess.....whoa mama !!! "Let's play then."

From the Checkmate blurb:

Would you betray your kingdom for your soulmate?

Shapeshifter Theodori Hunter Wolfborn must conquer the kingdom of Siacchi to prove his worth. To do so, he kidnaps a man known for his strategic genius – a champion in the much-revered and ancient game of dominance and submission, Cesse. A man who will help Theo secure a clean, bloodless victory.

Only, Theo has kidnapped the wrong person.

Luka Lockehart, renowned Cesse player, has trained all his life to hide his stigmatized abilities to shapeshift, guided by the unwavering hand of his mother. He never expected he would have to put his training into practice when he is kidnapped by a northern warlord – and he certainly didn’t expect to find this man – this monster – so attractive. Now he must hide his feelings and his identity, for if Theo finds out that he is not the man he says he is, it is not only Luka’s life that is forfeit, but his entire country.

Luka and Theo are locked in a deadly game. As the secrets between them only continue to grow, so does the unmistakable pull they feel toward each other, even when such feelings might very well ruin all they’ve ever hoped to achieve.

Something has to break. It will be their kingdoms – or their hearts.

Miki J's review:

What a fantastic debut novel !! I was blown away with this fantasy novel - brilliant world building that's woven into the storytelling with ease. You pick up quite quickly on the who's and why's ....and then the characters. There's plenty of depth there, but we only get a few hints....obviously as the series progresses, we'll find out more. This is a slow burn between the MC's .....yet it's still somewhat steamy! 

But the main feature really, is the twists in the story.....truly had me captivated!!! This is a great start to a new fantasy series and I can't wait on the next book!!

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