Rating: 5 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
Liam has suffered from anxiety and panic attacks for as long as he can remember, but being part of the public eye, an actor in a popular television series, has seemed to up the panic factor. When Liam experiences a particularly severe panic attack while on set, he finds comfort in his best friend, Aaron, who comes to his rescue by showing Liam a way to give up control and let Aaron make all of the decisions.
Aaron has been Liam’s saving grace for the past ten months, but Aaron is suffering too. Haunted by the loss of a former co-star, Aaron is determined to help Liam in any way he can, even if that means physically binding Liam and taking control of him physically and mentally. But when their relationship crosses the boundary of a friend helping out another friend into something more emotional, more complicated, Aaron rejects the one gift Liam thought to give him.
Liam wants nothing more than to belong to Aaron, heart and body, but Aaron has made it clear that he can’t be what Liam needs. When Liam makes the trip home to spend Christmas with his family, Aaron remains at the forefront of his mind. And even though Aaron’s rejection hurts like nothing he’s ever felt before, Liam is reluctant to give up their friendship. When texts lead to strange phone calls in the middle of the night, confusion, pain, and frustration battle in Liam’s mind as Aaron comes clean about his past and the guilt that threatens to tear them apart permanently.
I’ll go ahead and tell you right now. You should definitely read this book. Not only is it a great story, but it’s so damn sexy. I have been waiting to read this book since the first time I saw it in Loose Id’s Coming Soon list. Maybe it was the cover by Fiona Jayde, which is totally gorgeous by the way. Maybe it was the fact that it was a Christmas story, because I’m a total sucker for Christmas stories. Maybe it was because it was a BDSM story; we all know I love kink. Maybe all of the above. I don’t know, but I wanted it and I loved it!
One of the things I like so much about this story are the BDSM aspects. A lot of times in romance you hear that there is no is no right way and no wrong way. Well, that’s not necessarily true for BDSM. There are wrong ways, but there is more than one right way. It’s diverse and beautiful. Well, the D/s relationship between Aaron and Liam is one of those beautiful diversities. I love that both men found themselves because of the lifestyle. They didn’t necessarily find the lifestyle because of who they are. Their relationship is the learning stages of what they want it to be. It’s new and they are learning together – studying the right ways, experimenting with what works for them – and most of all they are careful. They make mistakes, but those mistakes affect the emotional side of their relationship. Seriously, I love the dynamics between Liam and Aaron.
That leads me to Liam and Aaron, themselves. In the beginning Liam is the broken, confused, afraid mess. His panic attacks rule his life. But his growth and progression throughout this story is one of confidence and acceptance of who he is and what he wants. By the end, yes, he still suffers from panic attacks, but knows how to deal with them. And he knows how to stand up and take care of himself, even when he doesn’t need to. Then there’s Aaron, who begins this story as the confident, supportive friend. A rock. Yet as we progress throughout the story, we see his fear and insecurity that rule his decisions. These two men found one another at the perfect time in each other’s lives and each aids in the other’s growth. They are a fantastic couple.
I’ll admit there was an amount of time in this story where I was thinking, “Come on. Can’t you two just talk it out and get it together now?” Obviously my impatience was not what this author had to work with while she was writing, and I’m thankful for that because the anticipation of the maybe/maybe not relationship between Liam and Aaron makes this story that much greater. And the ending…ladies and gentlemen, I’m all about this ending. It’s the perfect ending to complement the struggle that these two fought though. I loved it.
So, yeah. I loved this story. The kink, the steamy sex, the writing and diversity, the characters, and the struggle – it all makes for such a wonderful story tied up in a beautiful bow at the end. And if I can have anything for Christmas that’s not a collar from Aaron (because that spot has obviously been taken), I’m hoping for more from this cast – maybe the platonic soulmates of Levi and Parker? I highly, highly recommend A Collar for Christmas by A.E. Lawless