once a bratRating: 3.75 stars
Buy Links: 
 Amazon | All Romance
Length: Novella

For the last few weeks, Marcus has noticed a young man following him around the BDSM club.  This isn’t the way it is normally done — typically the Doms initiate the interaction with a sub, but this young man is clearly pursuing Marcus.  When Marcus finally talks to Bret, he finds him bratty, inexperienced, and full of way too much chatter. But for some reason Marcus doesn’t really understand, Bret appeals to him.  He is just different enough from the usual sub to be a refreshing change.  Bret wants Marcus right from the start, but Marcus doesn’t do serious.  Yet after spending more time with this unique young man, Marcus finds himself losing his heart after all.

This is a sweet story with an interesting pairing of an older, more experienced Dom, and a novice sub who doesn’t know the rules but is determined to get his man nonetheless.  I liked that Bret is not intimidated by Marcus or what he doesn’t know. He is eager and a bit obsessed and can’t figure out when to just keep his mouth shut.  And I liked that Marcus finds him endearing despite the fact that Bret doesn’t do things by the rules.  It was sort of fun to the see the hardcore Dom shaken up just a bit and finding someone to surprise him after years on the scene.

I did struggle with a couple of things here.  The biggest issue is that the guys have so little real contact beyond a few scenes together, yet they are quickly feeling like they want a permanent partnership.  Not just the declarations of love, although they also seemed way too soon. But Bret is basically sure Marcus is the one for him for good just after following him around the club and asking other subs about him.  He tells Marcus he knew he wanted to be with him immediately after seeing him.  But at least Bret knows a little about Marcus (albeit through word of mouth).  Marcus is feeling like he wants to keep Bret long term, something he never does, by their second scene.  I just couldn’t understand where this was coming from. They have so little real interaction. I mean, I get that an intense sexual session can really bond you with someone. But still, they barely talk, barely know each other, barely spend time together. I just found it hard to believe.

I think that sort of relates to my other problem which is I hardly felt we get to know these guys, especially Marcus.  Bret we see is unusual, that he has a different attitude than most subs and doesn’t behave like they all do.  But we never learn anything else about him, or why has such a different approach and outlook.  Marcus is even more vague.  We know he is an experienced and respected Dom, that he never really takes long-term partners, and that he has a few friends who are also Doms. I truly don’t feel like I know any more about him than that.  It just made it hard to see the chemistry between them or to get really invested in either character.

So this one didn’t totally come together for me. I usually enjoy this author’s writing and I certainly would be interested in continuing with this series and reading more of her work. So some parts I enjoyed, some parts I had trouble with, but either way I will be looking for more in the future.