Rating: 4.5 stars
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Length: Novel

When I read the description of Ricochet by Xanthe Walter, I knew it was a book that I needed to read. I was drawn to it’s original concept — a BDSM universe where sexuality is fluid, and the only thing that determines your compatibility with a partner is whether you are a dominant, a submissive, or a switch. In this novel, the main character is Matt, a TV star and real-life submissive who plays a young, inexperienced submissive on the hit TV show, Collar Crime. He develops a friendship with one of the show’s other fun-loving and well-liked stars, Rick. Rick plays a naughty sub on the show, but is very much a dominant (though still a troublemaker) in real life. He takes a different sub to bed nightly, and has a strict “no repeat” policy. After he pulls a stunt that causes some bad publicity, Rick agrees to put his partying ways on hold in order to prove his commitment to the show. The trouble is, he’s a dominant through and through, and since he’s not being able to find a release with his rotating subs, his tension on set is felt by all.

The cast comes up with a plan: one of them will volunteer to become Rick’s spanking buddy until he’s able to return to his party boy ways. Matt has been in relationships before. He’s a submissive, and has always been attracted to doms who are ordered, strict, and take away his control. It appeals to his OCD personality, knowing his expectations and being able to follow them to perfection. Unfortunately, these relationships have also been lacking in any affection or real intimacy. When Matt literally draws the short straw, he begins his daily spankings with Rick, and his eyes are opened to the possibility of a relationship with someone he can connect to emotionally.

Add to this delightful premise a colorful cast of characters, a mysterious past, and a charming villain or two, and you have a fun, fascinating start to what I hope will turn into a series of books based within this world.

I’ve always enjoyed the dynamics between a dominant and submissive, and I’ve read many books with a BDSM theme, but I think this is the first one that helped me understand how it could truly work between a couple, where each person is lacking something without the dom/sub relationship. They are not doing it to hurt or control someone or even to feed a kink, but because each person is made better by being in that type of relationship. This was clear in the relationship between Matt and Rick, where Matt was able to release his OCD tendencies and give his control over to his dom, and Rick used his dominance to gain control over his inner demons. With all of their flaws, Matt and Rick were both extremely likeable characters, and their banter was a lot of fun to read.

While I enjoyed this book immensely, I do think it could’ve been made better by a bit of editing. It was rather long, and, as a consequence, contained a couple of plot points that seemed unnecessary. Rick’s father emerged several times throughout the book, yet his appearance never really served to further the plot. Also, I became increasingly frustrated with Rick’s continued hesitance to start a real relationship with Matt, as it seemed based on a very thin premise. And while Matt was brought up in a sheltered environment, his naivete regarding his relationships seemed in direct opposition to the strong, opinionated individual he was in every other aspect of his life. Yes, it created conflict, but it felt a bit contrived. It was hard to believe that two confident, successful people could be so stupid about their relationships.

I was intrigued by this world that Xanthe Walter created.  The idea of people being drawn to one another not due to gender or sexuality, but the compatibility of their natures, is compelling.  Not only does Walter take a tongue-in-cheek approach to this idea (all of the TV shows are our own popular shows are given a dom/sub twist, for instance), but it also makes one think about the reason behind our attraction to people.   Take a chance of this original, fun read.  You won’t regret it.

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