Rating: 4 stars
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Sawyer Stevens has come for the summer to work at Adrenaline Kick Adventures as a white water river guide. Sawyer is also looking for something, or someone, who can fill his need for pain and that something missing he can’t quite name.
Asher Ruggerio is a partner at Adrenaline Kick who manages the business end of things. He knows better than to play with one of his employees, but Sawyer’s need for extreme pain fits so perfectly with Asher’s sadistic side. The two find that their kinks are perfectly aligned and their encounters are incendiary for both of them.
Sawyer has suffered tragedy in his past that makes him wary of a connection with anyone. He doesn’t intend to let things with Asher progress beyond impersonal encounters, but Asher would like more. As the two continue to spend time together, they find emotions are getting involved and the men begin falling for one another. But Sawyer is set to return home at the end of the summer, and he still isn’t emotionally prepared to accept the idea of a relationship that is emotional rather than just physical. Their hearts are now involved and Sawyer must decide if he can put aside his fears so they can be together.
The Deeper He Hurts is the second book in Lynda Aicher’s Kick series featuring the crew from Adrenaine Kick Adventures. The guys who run the company are all gay, mostly Doms, and mostly former military. So maybe a bit implausible, but it makes for a fun foundation to the series.
This second story explores the relationship between two men who are used to keeping things casual emotionally, but who also have extreme needs for giving and receiving pain, beyond that which they can find with the average partner. I think Aicher does a nice job exploring their needs and how these guys fit together. In Sawyer’s case, he isn’t a sub and is not interested in the typical D/s relationship, nor is Asher really a typical Dom. So these guys are a great fit together, but both are wary of the emotional end, particularly Sawyer.
I will admit that at times I found the kink side of things a bit intense here. I am probably one of the most pain averse folks out there so this isn’t something I can easily relate to anyway. But Sawyer doesn’t get off on the pain sexually, nor does he get an adrenaline high from it either. He enjoys the physical pain purely as a way to help him deal with his emotional pain. He has a fairly reckless disregard for his own safety, one that leaves Asher worried on his behalf. But I also think Aicher does a nice job exploring these issues and really delves into the feelings of both these men.
Although things start off as merely an exchange of pain, it isn’t long before there is a sexual connection as well. Asher is definitely looking for more, while Sawyer is more wary, but the connection between the men develops into something more than just the kink. I did find that this transition from play partners to having feelings for one another seemed a little abrupt to me. I had trouble seeing where this change happened and, as a result, I didn’t always feel the connection between them as strongly as I would have liked. But I did enjoy seeing these men find their happiness together from what at first seemed like only a casual connection.
I am enjoying this series and am particularly excited for the third book featuring a character we met in the first story, The Harder He Falls. I think there is a lot of potential here to explore this world and I am looking forward to seeing where Aicher takes things.