Well-written story that kept me interested until the end. It is written in three parts and some of the phrases were almost poetic. The emotional intensity is strong and the erotic scenes are generally well-done; my only comment on the latter is that I wish the author wouldn't use the word "profound" to refer to genitals or the genital area -- that's a tad strange. However, a word of warning for those who would rather not read such things: in the middle of the book there is a non-consensual sex scene, but it is cut short as the woman is rescued before the act is completed.
The central character of the story is Alexandre, a captain in the army who is also the lover of General Sandrine Grise. The army is at war with the goblins, and he is sent away from the camp on a secret mission to discover how and through whom the goblins or their spies have managed to infiltrate the army's highest ranks. Just before he leaves, he and Sandrine have a lover's quarrel. Will he be successful in his mission? Will he be able to return and patch things up with Sandrine?
The story fulfilled its "job" as a prequel by introducing Alexandre's character in such a way as to make me want to go on and read the three main stories about him (The Marechal Chronicles). He is a tough soldier whose past is a mystery, but despite all his experiences and training, he still retains a capacity for tenderness and love.
If you are looking for a happy-ever-after, that doesn't happen in this short story. In fact I found it heart-breaking because Alexandre comes back from his mission yearning to reconnect with Sandrine, but it doesn't happen. Generally, I prefer my romances to have HEAs but the ending worked for this story, and of course, if there had been a HEA, this couldn't have been a prequel to the three main stories about Alexandre (The Marechal Chronicles). I really, really want Alexandre to eventually get his much-deserved HEA.