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on 11 January 2014
I stayed up until 4.30am reading this book it was so compelling. Jonathan is a sadist pure and simple and thinks he sees something in Brandon. Bran is a strong and proud man and suffers heinously at Jonathans hands.The story line was utterly absorbing and deeply disturbing at the same time. It was a very well written book and I am going to read the second one once this is posted.
The one thing I find quite inconceivable about the whole thing is that Bran suffered physical abuse as a child, and to my mind one wouldn't put oneself through that again as an adult voluntarily. What these two men had together at the beginning was good, they connected but for them both it turned sour incredibly fast.
If I may reiterate, this is an incredibly compelling read, my jaw was hanging in places, I felt such empathy for Bran and utter contempt for Jonathan who didn't even show remorse at the things he made Bran endure to get him to comply to his wishes.
I went into this thinking it would be hot and exciting, was I in for a surprise! Exciting in a stomach clenching way. Saying that though it was one of the best books in this genre I've read, in parts it was pure and unadulterated torture, two battles of wills. There can always only ever be one winner but I haven't said who. This will be in my head for a long time.
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on 31 May 2013
First off there is nothing here that goes beyond my comfort zone, but it is just so relentless. I do like a little romance somewhere. And without spoilers, I just don't think the ending was credible. Any Dom in Jonathan's position should know that there is a likelihood of a sub having some sort of issue and this wasn't even touched upon by him in the context of the story. Careless of him. At a guess this book is a very long run in to the prequel. Not sure I have the stamina to putt myself though it.
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Just by reading the synopsis, for many readers the obvious comparison is going to be 50 Shades. Forget 50 Shades, this book is the real deal. It's written by a pair of friends, one of which is a real life Domme (Rachel Haimowitz) and the other a submissive (Cat Grant). That alone provided the clue that going in, I wasn't going to see the sort of unintentional mistakes that littered 50 Shades, and that the BDSM aspect was going to be very, VERY important on a visceral level that only two life-stylers could possibly grasp. Fans of 50 Shades may very well like this however, as the sex scenes are frequent and they are definitely hot with a kink factor far past 10.I'm going to go ahead and say this straight out, however- this is definitely not for the faint of heart.

Jonathan is a hardcore Dom with a very sadistic nature. He's not a socio-path however, and is actually a fairly well balanced individual. The contrasts this provides makes for an interesting dynamic as he tries to bring his rebellious sub to heel as his caring side more than once wars with his impulse to inflict pain and punishment. He is very much a man who plays by the rules, however, whether it be the polite rules of the social side of business, to being a man of personal integrity who not only insists on a contract, but goes out of his way to ensure that both he and Brandon understand what they have negotiated and stick to their side of the contract.

Brandon's inner demons come out of hiding with a vengeance once he's not occupied with hours and hours of hard physical labour followed by a bone tiring weariness that robs him of the need to think of anything bar sleep. He comes unglued while having to do nothing but sit and be hand fed, petted, and so on. Used to distracting himself, Brandon finds that trying to focus on just being is impossible as the voice of his father comes to whisper insidiously in his mind. Weak, sissy, worthless, all words that he tries to shove aside but in the end, he still allows his own anger to erupt, to lash out and prove he is a strong man, a man who cannot be beaten down. It's an anger that stood him in good stead as he he got himself off the streets as a boy, but it's also an anger that is holding him back. Deep down, Brandon wants to be able to let go and to be able to accept the tender affections of another. A tenderness that Jonathan is all too happy to shower upon him until Brandon brazenly challenges him until the sadist is given free reign during punishment time.

This is where it gets rather uncomfortable. The nature of the contract means that Brandon has given full consent, unless he safe words. His stubbornness won't allow it, until even Jonathan is hard-pressed to know just where Brandon's limits are. Jonathan's sadism is not always sexual, as Brandon's resistance means that more often than not, he's there to be punished. Cue tiny cages and a clear plexiglass coffin complete with electric shocks that inspired even me to have a nightmare after making the mistake of reading this before bed and getting stuck tightly wrapped under and within my covers. Nonetheless, it is a story of personal discovery and love, and one that is well written indeed.

Over the course of their personal interactions, Brandon and Jonathan both end up doing a lot of self reflection. Jonathan explains quite carefully why he does everything that he does, from the why he wishes Brandon to be groomed a quite specific way, to the intent behind the hand feeding, end even makes certain that Brandon understands just why he is being punished. He thinks deeply about what he hopes to accomplish for Brandon, and examines his actions and Jonathan's responses closely when events don't go as planned, going so far as to run past experiences through his head (both that of his past submissives as well as his own time spent on his knees as he trained). Nothing is gratuitous and it's abundantly clear that Jonathan isn't doing this merely for fun and games- he has clearly defined goals that are of personally emotional and psychological benefit to both men and he is quite upset at the roadblocks being thrown up.

Brandon's experiences during the their time together not only allow his inner psyche out to play- that nasty inner voice that sounds like his father, but also for his rational mind to process what he has been doing to himself. While locked in cage with nothing else to do, for example, he eventually has to look over what precisely he did that led Jonathan to put him there. To be quite honest, it's extremely self destructive behaviour. From refusing to eat until he damn near requires medical intervention, to purposely mouthing off to ensure he racks up several demerits, Brandon's his own worst enemy. More to the point, he's locked up years of self loathing and hatred resulting from his father's physical and mental abuse, sublimating it to the point where no one could see it until there was nothing but Brandon and IT.

The physical chemistry is sizzling hot between the two and the sex scenes are always explosive, and it is this initial connection that not only draw the two men to each other initially, but which allows Brandon to excuse his letting go when he manages to allow himself to silence the taunts within his own head. The punishments serve drive Brandon into a corner, a corner where he cannot escape himself, having to focus himself. It is these moments of clarity that ultimately lead to the sea change within Brandon, where he faces his stubborn actions for what they are truly are. Only then can he move forward. It's exhausting physically and mentally for Brandon, but also for Jonathan, who despite his sadistic streak, cannot enjoy inflicting pain that is not given as a gift, nor pain that is not enjoyed by both parties on any level.

It was also exhausting for me as the reader, as I became tense, waiting anxiously to see what Jonathan was going to pull out next as he ramped up the punishments while trying to breach Brandon's self destructive defensive barriers. It was also incredibly rewarding, as the emotions of both men were clearly on display every step of the way. I could not dislike either man regardless of what I saw play out, and felt torn for them both. One reaching out to help with hand that wanted to show gentle care, while the other snapped and snarled like a previously abused rescue dog who can only react out of instinctual fear and distrust, so that a show of forceful dominance became a requirement. Watching the two men deal with their growing attraction and emotional bonds made the ending all the more satisfactory, leaving me happy that'd I'd waited to buy this book until the I was able to buy the sequel (Power Play: Awakening) with it as I couldn't wait to see how the two continued to grow and bond as human beings as well as lovers with more than a bent for the BDSM lifestyle.
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on 4 November 2012
The subject matter of this book made me a little hesitant at first but I like to push my boundaries now and again to discover new genres, sub genres and kinks! Whoa - I was pushed with this book but I really liked it! Abso-frackin-lutely!

It was a compelling read and one that sucker punched right from the start with the hook-up of Bran "construction worker" and Jonathan "enigmatic billionaire" in a downtown pub and subsequently the back alley. Oh yes, de-light-ful.

Jonathan sees something in Bran that Bran so obviously does not recognise in himself, however he agrees to meet Jonathan the next evening and that was where the whole essence of the story unfolds. Jonathan offers Bran three million dollars in exchange for six months of Bran's life to "open his eyes to a whole new World"

Bran has not had an easy life and is trying to turn this around and make things better for him; hence the three million dollars would for sure help him to buy the company he currently works for. He doesn't, however, know what he is letting himself in for in the exchange. He has no idea what being a "submissive" truly entails.

Jonathan feels comfortable in what he is - a dominant, but after a disastrous marriage he now only relies on six month contracts to give him what he desires. In the past he and the other parties have entered the contracts with eyes wide open but with Bran this does not go to plan.

This is an extremely dark and powerful read and at times uncomfortable. The emotions it pulled out from me - from the "WTF is going on?" to the "Jesus!" to the "weeping like a wuss", it was a wonderful insight and yes it pushed my boundaries. Result! Onwards to the next part. Yay!
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Don't mind me, I just don't understand it.
This is about two guys, one very rich, the other hoping to construct green buildings but without money. The surly builder, Brandon, is sitting swearing in a pickup bar when the rich guy Jonathon comes slumming. After oral sex in a filthy laneway the rich guy offers the builder lots of money if he'll be his sex slave for six months. This is an excuse for lots of weird and unpleasant sounding behaviour, such as enemas, in the name of sex. There is also a great deal of disrespect and the rich guy gets to be on a power trip in his luxury flat when it would have been much more interesting if he had wanted to be the one who was submissive to balance out the rest of his life.
I've read gay stories which appealed to me more, such as by Andrew Grey and Sunny Moraine, and this one is just going to give gay novels a bad name among the wider community. But maybe if I was gay and into all that bondage rubbish I'd have enjoyed it, so who knows?
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on 26 March 2013
I've had this book in my To-Be-Read pile (or at least on my reader) for a long while now, and after reading it, I cannot understand what took me so long to get around to it. It was a fascinating story with well written characters. A very in depth relationship, with faults on both sides that needed to be overcome, made for an emotional and exhausting read.
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