Rating: 5 stars
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Just as it takes more strength to kneel before another than to stand beside them, it takes more self-awareness and humility to know what one can’t control in order to avoid losing control altogether.
It’s been eighteen months since Detective Gavin DeGrassi and his partner, Doctor Ben Haverson, were tortured at the hands of a psychotic serial killer. Still healing and dealing with trust issues, his overprotective family, and his coddling partner, Gavin is slowly getting reacquainted with his job. When the case of a murdered detective and one of Gavin’s friends is assigned to he and Myah, Gavin gets thrown back into a life he’s not sure he’s ready for.
When one murder turns into two and then three, the similarities to his own torture bring unwanted emotions and doubts. Not to mention his relationship that seems to be slowly falling apart. Ben, Gavin’s love and Dom, seems to be rejecting his submission and refuses to talk to Gavin about his problems. Working through their issues strengthens Gavin in a way he never imagined both in his personal and professional life.
Fear wars with duty as Gavin and his partner search for a killer who seems to be out of their reach. Just as he feels like his life is getting back on track, the killer sets his sights on Gavin, going as far as breaking into his and Ben’s home. Now Gavin must find the killer not only to end the senseless murders, but to protect the man he loves before it’s too late.
There is so much to say about this book and my mind is a big jumbled mess right now trying to get it all out and not miss anything. I’m not ever sure where to start. So, first, read this book. Buy it. Delve into the pages. Get lost in this story. Love it. Cherish it. Safeword is on my list of favorite books I’ve read so far this year. It is amazing. I don’t know if there are enough adjectives out there to describe how much I love this book. By the way, I loved the previous book, Power Exchange, just as much. This is a fabulous series.
I love these characters so much. The strength Gavin and Ben hold in the face of such large obstacles astounds me every time. Even in their weakest, most vulnerable moments they are amazing. They balance, support, and challenge each other to be better, stronger men. In Safeword, we see a different dynamic than in the first book. This author delves into Post Traumatic Stress, trauma, fears, healing, and reconciliation. Gavin and Ben have quickly become one of my favorite couples. They are far from perfect, but they love each other. So much so that they are both willing to sacrifice everything for one another. The dynamics of their relationship have changed. Ben and Gavin are forced to compromise and grow. They learn new boundaries. And the D/s relationship is strained at first, but beautifully put back together. Not only do we get to traverse a different dynamic with these two, but we get to see Gavin and Ben grow individually and together. Their relationship is one of my favorite highlights, among many, in this book.
The technical writing in this novel is strong. I’ll admit, I notice flaws – overused words, repetition, “throwaway words and phrases.” It’s out of habit of reading so much. I saw none of that here. If this book had any of those flaws, I didn’t notice for being so enraptured by the story. The feelings in this story are almost palpable. I laughed at times. I cried more than once. And I felt the intensity. It was perfect. There is such a perfect balance to the romance and the mystery. The romance is a heart-wrenching, emotional roller-coaster. The mystery is a heart-pounding, intense thrill-ride. And I loved every second of it.
Whereas Power Exchange focused a lot on the technical aspects of a BDSM relationship, Safeword focuses on the emotional aspects. There are BDSM scenes in this book, but they are entrenched in the emotional journey and healing of Gavin and Ben and the problems they are working through at the time, which makes this story feel even more personal. Don’t get me wrong, the first book was emotional, but the past trauma, the fears, the doubts affected me that much more. It was a wonderful ride.
Safeword is a book that I could not put down once I picked it up. I actually lost sleep reading this book and I don’t regret it. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. I love Ben and Gavin so much. If this is their last book, I will miss them. And re-read these two books often. I adore this entire series. And again, if this is the last book (and I think it very well may be), it was the perfect ending to one of my new favorite series. I highly, highly recommend Safeword by A.J. Rose. And if you haven’t read Power Exchange, definitely read it too. They are both amazing books.
Safeword is the second book in the Power Exchange series by A.J. Rose.
Cover: Last, but certainly not least, I love this cover by Theo Fenraven. It’s sexy and beautiful, as well as keeping with the theme of the first book. And, seriously, rope bondage is enticing. Well done!