Artist Jeffrey Kuyper was a wildly successfully erotic artist and photographer. What helped make him so successful was his muse and lover, Oliver. When Jeffrey unexpectedly dies, Oliver’s world is shaken to its very core. With no will in place, Oliver has no claim to Jeffrey’s estate and Jeffrey’s personal belongings go to auction. Included in the auction is the last portrait Jeffrey ever did and it’s an uncomfortable, intimate, and personal reminder of just one incident that made up their life together. Selling his car and cashing in his savings account, Oliver is determined to buy the painting. He wasn’t counting on the dark haired, dark clothed art collector to outbid him. To gain possession of the painting, Oliver will do anything, including spending a weekend in the bed of the dark collector.
The Dark Collector is a beautifully written, sensual, and evocative story. It’s more about the individual moments contained within the short glimpse of Oliver’s life with Jeffrey and then his weekend with the man who purchased the painting.
When Oliver was 20, he met Jeffrey. Jeffrey became everything to Oliver. We see the tell-tale signs of a D/s relationship between the men, an intense relationship where they both gave and received exactly what they needed from the other. It’s been a year since Jeffrey died and Oliver is still completely lost and has never had the chance to fully grieve. Without a lot of the intricate details, we are given the framework for their intense relationship and what Oliver really needs from a man.
What follows the auction is a weekend of exploration and it was not nearly as dark as I had been led to believe. Boundaries are pushed, trust is asked for and given, and emotions are explored. We see Oliver struggling with how he has been viewed for so long as an object of art. While the collector may have his body, Oliver convinces himself the weekend is simply a business transaction. There is an underlying story with the collector that did not have the chance to be explored further. He’s an art collector familiar with the artist’s work and questionable motives remained questionable.
There is the element of BDSM here, but nothing formal as the weekend is agreed upon through a handshake, and humiliation and giving up control is Oliver’s kink. But it’s not overly hardcore and there are more passages that are about need and pleasure and even circle around a touch of sweetness, true caring, and emotion. And, when one part of Oliver’s journey is coming to a close, there may just be the hope of a journey yet to come. The Dark Collector, haunting, sensual, and highly recommended.