Rating: 5+ stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
I must confess I tried to find a quote, any quote, to encapsulate the thrust of this book, give you a sense of its depth, its passion, and its remarkable insight. I couldn’t, for you see I could not stop at one, I would have to quote page after page. Leather + Lace by A. B. Gayle swept me up in its tide and transported me to places I had never been before—particularly in the BDSM genre.
The story, on the surface, is deceptively simple. Steve, a sometimes drag queen likened after the incomparable Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac fame, is a lost and wounded ex-slave. Trapped inside an ever increasingly abusive relationship with his former Lover/Master Julius, Steve finally breaks free literally by smashing a window with his chains and scaling an embankment to escape. We find him a few years later doing a charity event for a friend in a Leather club working the room as “Stevie Tricks,” female impersonator.
Now before I go any further, I must tell you that other than the occasional dress up by Steve, there is nothing even slightly effeminate or girly about this man. He is tough, more so than you can believe and how he managed to survive the nightmare his relationship had become and move on to make any kind of life is just stunning overall. Back to the synopsis…at the Leather bar that night is a Master, Donato Rossi. He has a piece of news for Steve that will rock his world and leave him breathless.
And so begins the most compelling and in depth look at how the mind of a man who has submitted himself to be slave to another operates. Not only that, but also this author takes us on a journey of incredible healing and transformation that rings of truth and realism. I have read many BDSM novels. I have given 4 and 5 stars to several but never have I encountered a novel that had both a moving and rich storyline as well as a complete and scathingly honest character study. When I put this novel down, when I pried it out of my hands, the first thing I thought was…I need to read this again.
There was such strength in Steven—a man who allowed another to chain him to a bed for days on end, who never broke, who escaped and lived another day not only to thrive but to find love. I wanted to jump up and down and shout and had it not been two in the morning I no doubt would have. Here was victory; here was man’s journey laid out piece by piece for us to see, to experience and to marvel over. Along with Steve, there was also a brokenness that was so present in Don—his remorse, his guilt, his sorrow was so palpable, so raw.
Thankfully, A.B. Gayle’s sense of humor ran throughout and Leather + Lace never became just another angst-ridden BDSM story gone wrong. In its place, we receive a novel that sings with energy, bright, fun moments, poignant passages and passion that sears the mind and leaps off the page. This book is so much more that a five star read. It is a remarkable story of love and loss and rising from the ashes to be reborn into something better—something stronger—something genuine. I highly recommend Leather + Lace by A.B. Gayle to you!