I have never read Stephanie Burgis, but best I can figure this is a stand alone short story. I read this because an author I LOVE (Ilona Andrews) endorsed it as a good read.
I will say that this story moves at a very good pace, however for me it was TOO short. It is a third person POV from Hrabanic’s POV. Hrabanic is an expert swordsman who is hiding out in a small village. He teaches swordplay. He isn’t making much money however, but the landlady doesn’t seem to mind as Hrabanic provides other… stimulation.
Julia is the landlady. She gets summoned to the White Library for mysterious reasons and sort of tricks Hrabanic into coming along as her companion and protector.
This story has a lot of twists and turns, which by reading the dedication seems to be the point. The dedication is “For my brother David, who asked for a story full of swordfighting, banter, and a twisty plot”, and it certainly does deliver.
For me however, the characters are more interesting than we are able to really explore, and as a love story fiend, this one really isn’t a love story. It isn’t exactly not one, but that really doesn’t have much of a place in this story.
So it’s definitely a good read, but left me wanting more.