I have had this book in my TBR for TOO LONG! This is a five-book set that chronicles the unorthodox love story between retired Special Forces officer Sam Bradford and sexually-confused billionaire Derek Constantine.
Sam is flat broke when he meets Derek in a bar. Derek recognizes Sam’s military bearing and offers him a chance to earn $10,000. All Sam would need to do is evade capture for 48 hours on Derek’s rural property. If, however, Derek catches him, he will only earn $1000. Oh, and Sam will be required to submit to anal sex with Derek.
Sam is immediately put off. He’s not gay, and Derek protests that he isn’t gay either. It’s all about domination, in Derek’s mind. Also, Sam’s broke. He’s confident that he’ll be able to evade capture—all the training and missions he survived are testament to that, but Derek is wily. And though Sam may very well end up on the bottom, he’s not a submissive man.
Look, I can’t review these five books without revealing a few spoilers. All of these spoilers are actually part of the book’s descriptive page, however, so I don’t think it’s THAT spoilery of me. Derek does win. He captures Sam very late in their first game, but the actual experience is not what Derek wanted. He is used to the men he captures being willing to submit to him, but Sam is defiant and correct when it comes to Derek’s true nature. Throughout the rest of the books, Sam and Derek come to terms with their own sexuality, in different ways and on different timelines.
Sam begins to investigate his newly awakened desires. He interacts with out gay men and learns that the brutal “claiming” sex that he had with Derek is not the only way to interact with a partner. He sees affectionate and caring gay relationships up close and personal with these new friends. Ever in denial, Derek seeks Sam out again, this time for a team urban manhunt, which brings both men far closer together than Derek ever expected.
I really adored Sam. His fearlessness, his ingenuity. He’s a quality main character with excellent insight and a dry sense of humor. Plus, once he commits, he stays committed. His sex buddies, Eddie and Jake, are also engaging. Expect all the butchness one can handle in these reads. Eddie, the consummate bottom, is a powerful man in his own right. As the volumes go on, the sex on the page begins with dubious consent and ends with actual tenderness. I found the give and take of Derek’s growth as a gay man to be so intriguing. As Sam submits more and more to Derek’s tough brand of love, Derek rewards him with more and more public statements of their relationship. Derek seeing Sam engage with Eddie and Jake is a turning point for their relationship—no longer is Sam only a bottom, and the playful sexytimes they share opens the possibilities in Derek’s mind.
It is clear that Derek is a self-loathing, closeted gay man, something Sam exploits early in their acquaintance, but the changes wrought over the course of the books are a complete 180 for Derek. Not that Sam didn’t have a big change, because he did. He just achieved it with far less self-flagellation.
The erotic twist on “the most dangerous game” theme, here was so enjoyable and made for a very compelling read. The second one volume ended, I turned the page for more. The bonus Eddie and Jake submission story was yummy, too. Warning: if you are looking for a “safe sex” book, this is not it; expect down-and-dirty fluid exchange.
This review is part of our September Reading Challenge Month for TBR Pile Week! Leave a relevant comment below and you will be entered to win this week’s fabulous prize of a loaded iPad Mini sponsored by Dreamspinner Press, as well as our amazing grand prize sponsored by Riptide Publishing. You can get more information on our Challenge Month here, and more details on TBR Pile week here. And be sure to check out our prize post for more about the awesome prizes!