Story Rating: 1.5 stars
Audio Rating: 2 stars
Narrator: Jeff Gelder
Length: 7 hours, 39 minutes
Lance is a struggling photographer, but he just got a new client. The client wants an exclusive deck of erotic BDSM cards and now all Lance has to do is find the appropriate models. Easier said than done or so it seems, until Tide and his best friends, Tyrone and Bran, show up for an interview.
Tide is gorgeous and he’s also a Dom. Between him, Tyrone, and Bran, they know just what kind of shots the inexperienced photographer needs. Tide also feels he knows exactly what Lance needs in his personal life and immediately sets out to make Lance his boy. All it will take is a little convincing to show Lance what he’s been missing.
With all of the books I have read in this genre, I had not read anything by Sean Michael and I thought I should rectify that. But, this book was definitely not the one for me and I can’t say I will pick up another one from this author any time soon. It could have been the kind of book that you just have to go with the premise of it and move on and it depends on the book really if that’s a viable option. But here, the set up right from Chapter One was not working for me at all and it only went further downhill from there.
Lance has been hired to shoot an exclusive deck of erotic playing cards. The client, who is entirely off page, will be paying Lance a fee that is said will cover Lance’s rent for three years. Lance has absolutely no experience in the BDSM world, has no idea how to find adequate models, and then has absolutely no idea what kind of equipment or props he will need for the shoot. He came off as entirely unprofessional and all of this was more than I could let myself overlook.
Tide, along with Tyrone and Bran, comes as a package deal for the shoot. They are all in the lifestyle and Tyron and Bran are a couple. The only way we know this is that they refer to each other as Master and boy. There is no background offered on them or their relationship.
Before they agree to the shoot, they clearly state that they don’t do porn. Yet, that’s entirely what this shoot is. Granted, this deck of cards was not being mass produced or marketed, but by definition it’s still porn.
And that’s what this book is. It reads (or listens in this case) as the set up to a low budget porn film at the start. Then the set up, the dialogue, all of it, when it wasn’t coming off as offensive, was eye roll inducing. Tide comes off as nothing more than a predator telling Lance he knows what he needs and not taking no for an answer. He’s calling Lance “darling” and his “boy” within moments of meeting him. He’s then demanding Lance pick a safe word, he’s clamping a cock ring on him, and then making an appointment for Lance’s piercings. At this point they have not talked about anything, yet Tide is detailing Lance’s punishment, and he basically demands that Lance be his sub. Lance is so completely clueless that at one point he actually asks Tide if he is trying to seduce him. I had no idea what more Lance could have needed to know as Tide was all over him physically as well as verbally from the moment they meet. There is no character development and the author tried to then wedge in some background regarding Tide’s family and then a brief, yet disturbing, scenario involving Lance’s ex, but it all amounted to only a few sentences that ultimately didn’t have any relevance.
The book mostly moved from one intimate scene to the next, yet I can’t even put this in the classification of an erotic novel. The dynamic between the characters didn’t work for me from the start, the setup wasn’t to my liking, and then the execution was more along the creepy lines for me. So, this one, just not for me at all.
Jeff Gelder was the narrator here and he didn’t make this a whole lot better. His basic narrative tone was fine in the beginning, but his performance was more reminiscent of a documentary being read as opposed to an erotic novel. Also, his inflections were off. There were many times, so many times, where the last word in a sentence was added in almost as if he had forgotten about it. There would be a long pause and then the inflection and tone for that one word would be different from the rest of the sentence and it was an odd style choice. Tide’s voice was the most pleasant to listen to as it was deep and rich, but he didn’t always sound the same. Lance was all bumbling and sometimes his voice was high and sometimes he had an accent, but not all of the time. Often, Lance sounded scared and child-like, which further enhanced the creepy undertones of the story. Tyrone and Bran both had incredibly high voices and I just had no idea why that style was chosen. I can say that the overall quality of the audio itself was fine and the breaks between chapters were an appropriate length. But, the story itself was such struggle for me to get through that the narration as a whole couldn’t save it for me.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.