Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance | Amazon UK
As seniors in high school, Dustin and Will were friends until the moment when their attraction scared Will so badly he ran, fast and hard, and cut off all ties with Dusty. Now, ten years later, Will has returned and is seeking membership to an exclusive BDSM club. Part of the process is an audition scene with a house sub, and Will is shocked when he sees that sub is Dustin.
Dusty is determined not to show any emotion when he comes face to face with the man who broke his heart at 18. There’s no doubt that Will is a competent and compelling Dom. But Will is the reason that Dustin doesn’t allow his emotions to get involved in any scene he does, so there’s no way Dusty is going to let Will see his reactions. For Will though, not a day has gone by that he hasn’t regretted what he did ten years ago, and the connection between him and Dustin is still strong. Will is going to do whatever it takes to show Dustin that not only is he sorry for the way he acted back then, but that he and Dustin are perfect for each other now.
There was so much about this book that I absolutely loved. The two MCs are so very well drawn and we get to see their thoughts, character, and motivation very clearly. The writing is tight and sharp, each word having a purpose and nothing wasted or overused. The plot has wonderful pacing, never a lag or a rush to be seen. Though I did have a few quibbles with some of the plot points, overall it was a very well written story.
Let me start with Dusty because he’s the character that I felt the most connected to. In high school, he was nothing special, just another kid. He was on his way to a scholarship to art school, and though it was known that he was gay, he wasn’t overly bullied or picked on. From the very beginning we get a sense that Dustin knows himself very well and he fully accepts who he is. This doesn’t change as the story goes on. As we see the man that Dustin has grown into, it’s clear he knows what he wants. But he’s also willing to deny himself if he doesn’t think it’s what’s good for him. I adored Dustin from the beginning, but I have to admit that I thought he was holding a grudge against Will for no good reason. It made sense that he’d feel the heartbreak keenly from back then, but the self-assured and level headed Dustin should have been able to put things into perspective by now. While I enjoyed this character immensely, this part irked me and I just wanted to shake him and tell him to let it go.
Will knows he has to make things up to Dustin, especially once it’s clear that Dusty still judges Will by what he did in high school. What I really liked about Will was his solid determination to win Dustin over. It took Will years to come to terms with his sexuality, and another year or two to accept that he wanted and needed to dominate his lover. His reaction to Dusty back in high school was a surprise, and therefore scared him, so he ran and made things crappy. He’s a different person than he was back then, and it’s clear to us right from the beginning. Will is no longer scared, and I loved that he still felt that connection to Dustin and was willing to do whatever it took to win his man. These two guys together? Their chemistry just leaped off the page. Together there was just something about them that sparked, they clicked and fit together so well, that their relationship was absolutely believable.
I want to make mention that in the beginning, this story is told to us in a combination of present time and flashbacks. I thought this worked really well, as it allowed us to see what happened between these guys all those years ago instead of just being told about it. With the way it was formatted, it really gave us a connection to them as 18-year olds, while at the same time letting us see who they are in the present day. Sometimes this technique leaves me unsatisfied, but the author does a really great job with it here and it was very effective.
The entirety of this story takes place at Club Deviant, and the Dom/sub aspect plays very heavily into the plot. Will and Dusty interact within the confines of that relationship. I liked that in the beginning, when they had the important conversation, it was as equals. But I also liked that, when the time came, Will asserted himself as Dom, and Dusty immediately fell into the sub role. It was such an important aspect of their personalities. The author does a really great job of showing these guys as individuals who have dominance and submission as part of who they are. And while we’re on the subject, the play in this book isn’t super heavy, but the parts that are there are intense, emotional, and hot. I was well satisfied with the way these scenes were written, as it was about all the things that BDSM should be about.
Overall, guys, this is definitely a book I can recommend. I enjoyed the characters, the plot, and despite my few issues, I really enjoyed the whole thing.