Rating: 5 stars
We have probably all heard this story before. Two people are in some kind of relationship and each one feels misunderstood by the other. Each knows that his life is harder, his end of the partnership the most difficult. They both are sure that they could easily handle the challenges their partner faces. And each one is confident that if only his partner could live his life for one day, his partner would then truly understand the struggles he faces. And one morning, out of nowhere, it happens. Bodies are switched, lessons are learned, and at midnight, all returns to normal.
So yes, we have seen this story acted out in movies and books many times, but I must tell you, I have rarely enjoyed it quite as much as this. I absolutely adored this story of Amon Monterey and Jayk Parker, partners who have been together for several years, but lately find their relationship struggling. Under Amon’s encouragement, Jayk is attempting to go back to college, but he has a lot of test anxiety and is having trouble with his grades. He feels less smart and less successful than Amon, and his problems in school are not helping. Amon promised to help him and the first semester went all right. But now Amon is taking on more responsibility at work, leaving him stressed and without as much time for Jayk. And Jayk is acting out, staying out drinking and partying, not studying or working as hard as he should, challenging Amon and generally being bratty (he hides Amon’s toothbrush in the litter box when he gets angry, lol).
The men are involved in a domestic discipline relationship, with Amon as the strong top. He is almost 40, more established and successful in his career, and more confident and a natural leader. Amon’s role is to enforce the rules in their relationship, to help guide Jayk, care for him, and help him navigate through his difficulties. Jayk is only 25 and is just getting his life together. His first attempts at college didn’t go well and he has no real career. Jayk is someone that needs boundaries, rules, and structure to make him feel safe and happy. He normally thrives in their relationship, knowing that even when he messes up, Amon will punish him and then the problem will be over. He counts on Amon to keep him safe, and Amon does. So normally things are great between them, but the stresses they are both facing are really throwing things off.
When the men wake up in each other’s bodies, they are initially a bit freaked, but pretty much take it in stride. Both have seen the movies, they know what is happening to them. And Jayk is actually thrilled to find himself in Amon’s big hunky body (loved him adoring his new gorgeous arms and huge cock!). Jayk takes off for Amon’s job, sure he can prove to Amon that he is easily able to handle things. And Amon decides he will at least get started over at Jayk’s classes, if only so he won’t fail a quiz. Both men are equally confident they can handle each other’s lives. And as the day progresses, things go great… until they don’t. Each man starts running into trouble, soon finding that his partner’s life is not nearly as easy as he thought. Both men make mistakes, learning about themselves and their relationship, and finally being able to see their partner through new eyes.
Rock really does an amazing job with this story. First off, the writing is fabulous — clever, witty, and really entertaining. Each man’s inner voice is quite amusing as Jayk and Amon move along, certain they know exactly what’s going on until things go crashing down on them. Jayk especially, being a bit younger and less high strung, is quite amusing as he goes about his day. And seeing the straight-laced Amon try to match the more exuberant Jayk’s personality is so much fun. This passage made me laugh, as it so clearly shows the differences in personality between the two men. This is Jayk at Amon’s job reading his files:
I couldn’t read much of Amon’s writing, but I saw exclamation points. Amon never used exclamation points. Occasionally I would text him something like:
Luv u A-monster!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ur the most awesome in the world!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And he’d text back:
I love you too, Jayk. I look forward to seeing you this evening.
Or, in my hornier moods: Need ur pornstar cock in my ass now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
To which the reply might be: PSC and I are in a meeting but can be in your ass any time after 5. Or, sometimes: Did you remember to buy cat food?
He had, as far as I knew, never uttered a Woot! Sweet! Rockin’! or Fuck yeah! in his life.
Which I guess was why I loved him. Such a grown-up.
I also think this book really nails the details. When each man wakes up, he initially has trouble adjusting to his new body. Jayk, in Amon’s body, finds that with his new muscles he is lifting things with way too much force and constantly having to get used to taking up so much more space. He he has to eat a huge amount of food, just to fill up his big body. And Amon loves finding the renewed energy (and absence of creaking joints) that comes from living in a 25-year-old body again. Just lots of really clever, well thought out details.
I also loved how even though each man is looking at his own body when he sees his partner, he stills see beneath to the person inside. When Amon looks at his own body, he clearly sees Jayk inside. He recognizes the expressions, the emotions, and the things that make Jayk who he is. And Jayk does the same with Amon. I liked how this showed the men see much more of their partner than just the surface, and that they recognized the person within even with a different outer layer.
My favorite part of the story was watching the reestablishment of the trust and the bond between the men. Amon proves that he has confidence in Jayk’s ability to make decisions, to handle problems, and even to top him on occasion. And Jayk reaffirms his knowledge that Amon will always be there for him, even when he messes up, and that he can count on Amon when he really needs him. Their relationship grows so much stronger as they recognize their partnership and that they can rely on one another.
Oh, and did I mention this story is hot? Well, yes it is. The scenes between them, both kinky and otherwise, are super sexy and the chemistry between these two guys is amazing. Even the little moments between them were great, making it clear how much they care for and adore one another even as they struggle to work out their issues. Here the men are at a party and must pretend to be the other, so Amon is wearing Jayk’s slave leash and leather pants as we get Jayk’s POV:
I put my hand on the small of Amon’s back and headed for the dining room. “I want to smack your ass,” I whispered as we walked.
“I can’t help it. Those pants. I literally can’t stop thinking about smacking it.”
“Are you hot for your own ass?”
“Why don’t you go for it?”
“I’m gonna wait till we’re in the dining room. I want everyone to hear.”
He shook his head. “You know, I wanted this switch to show you what it’s like to be me. Welcome to my life’s greatest trial.”
I really can’t say enough good things about this story. I loved the way Rock takes a familiar premise and really brings it alive in a new and different way. The writing is great with lots of humor and cleverness. I am especially impressed as Rock’s last book (the great By His Rules) is full of so much angst, intensity, and darkness. So to see the author follow that up with a story with so much wit and liveliness shows a really wonderful range. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and recommend it highly. Excellent job.
And don’t miss J.A.’s blog stop later today where she will be talking more about the book and giving away a copy to one lucky commenter. Hurray!