A little while back I caught the blurb on this one when it was first releasing and was eager to give it a try especially since it was by a new to me author and the characters were SWAT team officer. I was tickled to death when I won a copy through the First Reads giveaway at GoodReads. Now, shameful confession, I put this book on my shelf planning to read it…and forgot. But, I read it now, and enjoyed this unique story that was so much more than it seemed when it got started.
The story opens with Sergeant Logan Pierce finally making his move after a few years of watching and dreaming about what might be with one of the men on his SWAT team. He took his time knowing it was a delicate matter with him being Corporal Clay Foster’s superior and because Logan is a dominant. Logan finally starts out by inviting Clay out for dinner and then they share a kiss which sends Clay running. Logan doesn’t know what to think about that, but he’s definitely not planning a retreat.
Clay enjoyed the kiss with Logan and was glad the man was finally showing an interest, but panic set in when he thought of the ramifications of an ‘office’ romance. If it went south, he wasn’t sure a good idea that they were both part of a close-knit SWAT team. He decides to let Logan talk him into giving them a chance and trusting that they will be able to handle things at work.
Logan takes things slow with Clay, but he can’t keep his nature in check for long and eventually comes clean. He is surprised when Clay seems to accept Logan’s need to dominate thoroughly and even get a bit rough in the bedroom. His kinks don’t move much past the moderate, but it is still a lot. He dreams of Clay accepting his collar some day.
Clay isn’t surprised about this side of Logan, but he is surprised and disconcerted about his own response. He is okay- alright, more than okay- he revels in submitting to Logan and this terrifies him a little. He is ashamed to have others know even though they are private when they act on their needs and he is worried about losing himself or that the D/s will spill over into the rest of his life. He has a past full of baggage and Logan makes some mistakes in their new relationship. It is only a matter of time before it all boils over and he wants out. The emotions they have are real and he knows that he is breaking more than one heart, but he can’t do this any more.
Alright, so I really enjoyed much of this book. This is a huge book and it was predominantly character driven as it switched back and forth between the heroes’ perspectives. It was an interesting story premise in that on the surface it was this hot, erotic romance, but beneath it was a hard fought and won D/s relationship. The author took the time to show how tricky and tough it can be as two people work out the dynamics of: Dominance/submissive, boss/employee, gay/bi-sexual, long-term/short-term, acceptance/shame, addictions/control. Yeah, there was just a lot going on and that doesn’t even cover the flaws and growth of the characters and their relationship along with the surrounding stories of the secondary characters who are part of the story.
From the start, I caught on to where this story was going to go and took a deep breath knowing that at some point it was going to get tough. I’ve read enough BDSM romance so that I got nervous as things went along because I saw what was going to happen based on, shall we say, what didn’t happen. They jumped in hard and fast and didn’t do a lot of explaining and talking. It was fast and furious until one of them paused and took a breath then freaked. Yep, saw it coming a mile away.
At first I was disappointed in Logan as the Dom for letting things get out of hand until I really thought it through and it occurred to me that he might know about Dominating and playing with a sub, but he knew little about relationships of this nature. And, he took what Clay gave him at face value. Should he have gotten the deets on Clay’s past and kept a sharper eye on the possibility that Clay was struggling? Sure, but the man was just so thrilled to be in love and share his lonely life. I loved how he was a Dominant, but he wasn’t a jerk. He really cared about Clay and cared about pleasing him. He had no trouble asking for forgiveness and apologizing.
But if at first I was disappointed in Logan, in the end, I wanted to shove my boot up Clay’s butt. Logan screwed up in pushing things along quickly and not checking in on where Clay’s head was at, but Clay is a big boy adult and he spent a lot of time expecting a mind-reader and treating Logan’s nature like it could just be turned on or off when it was convenient for Clay. The last section of the book really made me angry at the bratty user stuff Clay was pulling. For someone who says they love someone, he sure loved to use Logan’s mistakes to crucify him with them. Clay was also doing a double-standard thing with his anger with Logan’s jealousy. He got mad about Logan and another guy, but then got mad when Logan didn’t like seeing him smiling and getting touched by an interested woman. He pulled another stunt that made me lose respect even if nothing really happened. In the end, I know all his drama and crap was driven by fear and I was happy with where things ended, but I never totally warmed up again to Clay.
All in all, I really liked the author’s storytelling, her development of her characters and the romance, her well-drawn secondary characters, and her handling of the additional dynamics in the relationship. I would definitely recommend this story to those who enjoy M/M hot contemporary or erotic romance in a D/s relationship.
I received this book in a giveaway, but that does not influence my honest review thoughts.