The first time I read Pushing the Envelope by Kim Dare was when she released it in installment form—one story chapter after another. I recall the waiting in between being such a torture—waiting to see what each envelope would hold—how it would all play out in the end. It was a clever way to release this story; in fact, it made me feel much like Scott must have felt each time he waited to see if Joe would finally wise up and cast him aside. After all, Scott was such an unschooled submissive. And Joe? Well, in a word, Joe was HOT and a Dom and…well Scott was so very sure he could never really satisfy such a confident man, as Joe appeared to be. Now a few years later, Kim Dare has re-released her story, added a few chapters and done the impossible: made her characters even more tangibly real, hopelessly flawed, and more appealing than possible. Just a tweak here and there, a new envelope or two, and suddenly this wonderful story became even better. Who would have thought it possible?
The premise of this story lay in the very simple form of an invitation—just an address—a specific address for Joe to find. Scott, a quiet, shy submissive who has never felt he stood a chance with anyone like Joe does an impossibly brave and rather foolhardy thing when he invites the bold, confident Dom to one night of pleasure—never expecting that the buy one, get one free box of envelopes left carelessly on the dresser would lead to a repeat invite, over and over and over again.
As the two men explore the Dom/sub relationship Scott has offered to Joe, each begins to realize that the other has slowly begun to fill a missing piece in their separate lives. However, Joe could have any submissive he chose while Scott has eyes only for the leather clad Dom he so cavalierly invited that first fateful night. What if Scott can never be enough for Joe? What if he loses his heart to a Dom who could so easily move on, find someone better, more handsome, more confident? What if Scott falls in love and Joe moves on?
The BDSM element in Pushing the Envelope is not a heavy handed one. In fact, in terms of playing with toys, whips, etc., it is fairly light in nature and yet—the mindsets—the control Joe has and that Scott gives over is more heady than any other standard BDSM trope I have ever come across. As this novel progresses, these two men explore depths of submission that are more erotic than any casual sex scene.
In her novel, author Kim Dare plumbs the depths of what it is to truly submit fully to another, looking not to your own comfort or completion, but to making every moment together about the other person, about their desires, their needs, their fulfillment. Scott could not be more compelling as a sub and more beautifully fragile a man. He has always been the underdog, the one left behind, the one not quite good enough, at least in his own mind at any rate. Seeing him grapple with Joe’s continued interest is almost painful and yet long before this novel ends you are there on the sidelines cheering for Scott, trying to make him see what Joe sees, what everyone but Scott sees—how marvelous he truly is.
Meanwhile, in Joe we see a side of the Dominant rarely revealed, one that grapples with how to read this man who has given of himself so fully, how to control the scene and not break the submissive spirit in Scott, how to figure out what lay behind the stuttering pleas and blushing looks Scott so heartfully produces. Joe grows as a Dom, expands his thinking and is challenged to become a better man, a better master to the man who would give of himself so completely and selflessly.
Pushing the Envelope is all about a relationship that grows and changes, morphing from lust to love. It is a tender love story that gets better with each reading. I highly recommend it to you.