Fascinating...! A Different Kind of Love Story for Me,
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This review is from: Bent (Paperback)
I don't know what possessed me to buy this book. Yes I do! I'd bought Deviations: Submission by Chris Owens and Jodi Payne, saw the cover of this book in the recommendations and thought: 'Ooh.. I wonder what that's about?' read the blurb and popped it in my basket. Well, what a read! My first Sean Michael novel and I couldn't put it down. I read it in half the night and most of the following morning... 490 pages. Phew!
The story centres on Jim, a very angry young professor, whose life has been destroyed by a vindictive pupil. He's been disowned by his puritanical parents, sacked from his job and dumped by his boyfriend. Then we have Marcus, who is a respected and reputable maker of bespoke leather bondage-wear/goods - and he's a Dom, heavily into the BDSM lifestyle. They meet in a bookshop, where Jim is disgustingly rude to the bookshop owner. Marcus is intrigued by Jim and recognises that Jim is in need of a Master, one who can help him to let go of all that anger and that he (Marcus) is just the man for the job.
Now, from here on, this book could have become farcical and hammy. What, in fact, happens is that it becomes a journey of self discovery for Jim. He fights Marcus's quiet and confident strength and becomes confused and ashamed when he realises how much he wants, no, needs someone to 'take charge' of him. We see him, firstly, as an angry, arrogant, physically unhealthy, insular young man who is hiding from himself and from everyone else through fear, and we watch him blossom under Marcus's 'tutelage' of sexual rewards and 'punishments', which Jim gradually grows to love as Marcus patiently guides him through his fears. The love/sex scenes are great, by the way... no, seriously... great.
I didn't know that a D/s relationship could be so loving. In all the books I'd read before where a domination 'scene' had taken place, there was always lots of growling, warnings, possessive looks, then throwing over the shoulder - Caveman style. Then anal sex would be used as a punishment and means to dominate (I've read lots of Lora Leigh). Here, there were no threats or intimidation or exploitation or power plays. Everything Marcus did 'to' and 'for' Jim was done with love and care for his well being, which, I understand, is the role of a Dominant. I can hardly believe I'm saying this because giving someone a spanking has never been my idea of caring for someone's well being, but, given the context of Jim and Marcus's relationship, it just worked. Even if it's in my imagination.
Marcus gradually introduces Jim ito more and more of the BDSM 'lifestyle' with safe words, paddles, nipple clamps (ouch), tattoos and piercings. He also introduces him to the Hammer Club, the focal point for the Hammer novels. I won't spoil it for you but it was all so gentle, because it's what Jim needed. Persuasion, not intimidation. And we, the reader, are carried along, almost on a cloud, as we see Jim being pushed beyond his social and emotional limits and growing into his own person, with his own sense of power and belonging - to Marcus admittedly, but willingly so. And we WANT Jim to triumph in his submission (Whoa! What am I saying? :-)). My only worry was what would happen to Jim should anything happen to Marcus. But that's 'after' happy ever after, isn't it? :-)
Okay, should you buy this book? Yes, if you're up for a really great gay/BDSM love story that happens to contain hot sex m/m scenes that aren't in the least bit hammy. Actually, I felt a little voyeuristic at times because Marcus and Jim were so intimate.
Was there anything I'd do differently? I'd change the name Jim to something else (can't think what). But that's it. Can't take off a star for that.
Go, Sean! Loved it!