Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
Length: Short Story
After an accidental text to his former Dom led to a hot dressing room encounter with sales clerk Satish, James is thrown through a bit of a loop. He broke things off two years ago with Professor Carson after realizing he didn’t have the strength or confidence to say no to Carson, even though he knew the man would respect his safe word. But now after his hot tryst with Satish, James realizes that he has grown over the past two years and that he can set those boundaries he needs to feel comfortable again. Comfortable enough to reconnect with Carson and enjoy the thrill of submitting again and the way it brings him a sense of center and calm.
At the same time, James knows he wants more with Satish than a one off in the dressing room. Unlike most of his casual encounters over the past couple of years, James actually feels a real connection with Satish that he wants to explore. But he is determined not have Satish used in a game between James and Carson like so many others before. James is committed to honesty with Satish about his relationship with Carson, and even though Satish doesn’t understand it completely, he is willing to give things a try with James. And the chemistry and heat between the two men is intense. But when Satish learns more about what really was driving things that day in the dressing room, he definitely feels upset and used. Now that James has finally learned to set his boundaries with Carson, he needs to show Satish that things have changed and that he truly does want to be with him, even without Carson’s influence.
Inch by Inch does a wonderful job of connecting the first two books in the Professor’s Rule series and bringing the story forward. It picks up just hours after the first story, Giving an Inch, later that same day after the dressing room encounter. We are fresh off the heat and intensity of James’ hook up with Satish and his realization of his own emotional growth. And we get to see James and Satish connect on their first date and getting to know one another. These guys are super hot together and their chemistry is fabulous. I loved the way that even though Satish doesn’t share the BDSM kink, he is open to James’ interests and is even a bit intrigued by the welts left from James’ encounter with Carson. These guys continue to be super hot together, but it is clear there is a real emotional connection between them as well.
We also pick up nicely from the second book, An Inch at a Time, which is a prequel that shows us how James and Carson first got together and the early stages of their relationship. Here James realizes that he still needs and wants that connection with Carson, and that now he has grown enough emotionally to handle it with more confidence. James goes to see Carson for the first time in two years and the two have an intense scene together. It is interesting how the authors draw a contrast between James’ relationship with these two men. Although he has a sex with Carson, their connection is much more about the Dom/sub angle than an emotional one. James isn’t in love with Carson, and their encounter isn’t laced with that same sexual energy. Carson gives him the centering and the emotional release that he needs, but not the romantic or sexual connection in the same way he has with Satish.
This story sets us up nicely for more in the series. It seems that James will continue to have a relationship with both men, but it is not clear if it will be seeing each independently, or whether at some point they will connect as a group. I actually think I would be happy either way and I am really curious to see where the authors take the series. So far I am definitely enjoying it and can’t wait for more.
P.S. I think you could read this story without An Inch at a Time (though that does lend a lot of context to James and Carson’s past relationship). But I think you would miss out if you skipped Giving an Inch as that really sets up the dynamic between James and Satish, as well as Carson’s role in all of it. Plus that story is super sexy and really fun!