Rating: 3.75 stars
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Toshi knew his current relationship with Ian was far from perfect, but little did he know how bad it was until he opted to surprise Ian with dinner one evening. When he caught Ian in bed with another man, Toshi knew that it was well and truly over for him and Ian and not a minute too soon. You see, there was far more wrong with their partnership than simple cheating. Toshi had needs—a very profound need to be dominated and Ian simply could not deliver. Set adrift and wondering if his love for leather and submission is somehow wrong, Toshi decides to take himself out for a nice dinner and ends up falling right into the hands of the very dominant, leather loving Jase.
Due to a reservation mix-up the two men end up at the same table for dinner and realize that there is something more they want to share than just dessert. But lovers they trusted have burned both of these men and so letting down their guard does not come easily. On top of that, someone is threatening to harm Toshi, invading his home and leaving cryptic messages. Toshi is determined not to let the stalker intimidate him, but Jase is not about to let his new found lover and submissive deal with things all on his own.
Wrapped in Leather by M.A. Church began with an interesting story arc and a tense build up of action and continued for over three-fourths of the novel. By juxtaposing the developing D/s relationship between Jase and Toshi with the mysterious stalker side story, the author gave us an exciting story line that is both sexually charged and steeped in mystery. I felt that Church used her characters wisely, exploring both the submissive and dominant mindset and exposing how each has their own set of doubts and hesitations. These were two wounded men who had trusted in another person to keep their hearts safe and both were burned. The idea that theirs was a tentative relationship was well done, very realistic, and I never felt that the emotional attachment that these two developed for each other was rushed.
I also felt that the “mystery stalker” was a well done added element. It created a tension in the story that pushed the overall plot along. My only real problem with this story arose at the very end. Suddenly the stalker/intruder was exposed and dealt with off page with Jase musing over the results. It was so abrupt, as if the author just ran out of steam for this particular subplot. There had been such good build up, with the violent aspect of the intrusions escalating each time something happened and then there was this less than satisfactory quick and slightly sloppy resolution. This was truly unfortunate, especially since the rest of this story was so well crafted and entertaining. I think if there could have been just a bit more to the ending, a slower reveal, the overall ending would have been much more powerful.
Wrapped In Leather by M.A. Church was a good story with some hot, light BDSM scenes and solid characterization, but the ending left much to be desired. I will be definitely be reading more by this author despite this small glitch in an otherwise delightful story.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.