giving an inchRating: 4.5 stars
Buy Links: 
 Amazon | All Romance
Length: Short Story

James Sheridan is getting ready for his Ph.D. oral exams and needs something appropriate to wear. After bumbling through the store a bit, he meets a Satish, a gorgeous sales clerk who helps him pick out some things to try on.  But when James accidentally texts a picture of himself in a sample outfit to his ex-boyfriend, Carson, instead of his sister as he intended, things start to go off the rails.

James and Carson broke up two years before after a hot and intense dom/sub relationship.  It began when James was just a student in danger of flunking out and sort of out of control.  Carson gave him the support and encouragement not just to succeed, but to truly excel. Carson’s dominance totally turned him on and James loved following orders and submitting.  But eventually James began to feel out of control, worried he couldn’t stop things when they got too far, not trusting in himself to recognize his own limits where Carson was concerned, and so he broke it off.  But now with that one accidental text, things might have changed yet again.

As James continues to try on clothes and interact with Satish, he and Carson begin to play once more.  James finds himself totally hot for Satish, who definitely seems to return his interest.  At the same time he is getting more and more turned on from his text interactions with Carson.  But James worries he is falling right back into that dangerous pattern from when he and James were together.  He must decide what it is he really wants and if he can both give and get what he needs from this relationship.

Oh, I liked this one.  Just a great mix of super hot and sexy, combined with a story that really made me think.  So starting with the sexy, boy is this one hot.  Texting with Carson brings out all those old feelings in James.  We can see him as his mind and body remember the thrill of being with Carson, of how good it made him feel to please Carson and to submit.  Carson begins to give James orders, things that scare him and embarrass him, but also totally turn him on.  At the same time, James is enjoying his flirtation with Satish, who he really likes and would like to pursue something with.  The sexual tension between James and Satish is clear, and both men are dying to give into it. So we have two elements happening at once here, James with Satish and James with Carson, and the combination of the two is super hot.

At the same time, we are seeing James really do some self reflection and figure out where he is and what he wants.  When he ended things with Carson, James didn’t feel strong enough to set his own limits.  He fled the relationship for fear it would consume him and he would not be able to say no.  But we see that James has really grown in the past two years. He is able to think for himself and even defy Carson just a little and still be ok with that.  He also comes to see clearly that Carson is willing to accept limits that James sets, that he will not push him past what he is willing and able to give.  Even though this is a short story and takes place in one long scene at the store, we still see a lot of growth in James and get the clear sense that he is ready to interact with Carson in a way he wasn’t in the past.

The story ends a little big vague, however.  It is a short story and the first in a series, so we don’t get a real resolution to either developing relationship.  Actually, this did wrap up better than I feared it would earlier in the story.  But if you are looking for a clear cut ending, this one is not for you.  But actually, this still worked for me really well. I mean, I like my HEAs as much as the next girl, but this felt like a good foundation for the rest of the series.  I can see James with a future with either of these men, or with both (or with neither), and still ending up in a good place.  So I am really excited about this one and definitely looking forward to more.


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