Garrett Hillier is alone in his office when an incredibly good looking, clearly dominant man walks in. Aayan Denir is there to procure Garrett’s services. Aayan’s brother, Syed, has been charged with murder, and Aayan wants Garrett to defend him. Garrett initially refuses, as it’s been years since he’s tried that kind of case. But Aayan is persuasive, especially when he brings up the real reason he tracked Garrett down. Garrett is a submissive, and due to some terrible circumstances, everyone knows it. Syed and his murdered partner were active in the lifestyle and Aayan wants someone who knows the lifestyle to defend him. He feels strongly that it’s the only way Syed will be defended completely.
After talking with his client, Garrett agrees to take the case. He can tell from the very beginning the prosecution doesn’t have a leg to stand on, and he’s ready to defend Syed as hard as he can. But while he’s building the case, Garrett is feeling things for Syed’s brother. Garrett is wary about starting a new relationship, even though it’s been three years since his partner died. But in the end, the feelings Aayan awakens cannot be ignored. Aayan is commanding and dominant, and it all comes naturally. Aayan has never engaged in the that sort of play, and he’s conflicted about the way it makes him feel.
The men try to limit their relationship to only D/s. Aayan is comfortable with controlling their encounters, directing and commanding Garrett, but he doesn’t think he can ever feel right about hurting Garrett. Islam forbids hurting those under your care, and Aayan does his best to live the teachings of the Quran. But Garrett is a masochist, and he needs more. And Aayan needs to give it to him. As the case goes to trial, their personal life is settling in. If Aayan can work through his personal conflict, and Garrett wins the case, they will find everything they need for happily ever after.
My recommendation fairy pointed this book out to me and the instant I read the blurb, I snapped it up. Everything about the premise spoke to me, and I couldn’t wait to read it. Garrett is trying to live his life after the death of his husband; Aayan is trying to reconcile his own desires with his personal beliefs. Add into that a murder trial where the defendant is an innocent man, and I was sold. And I’m so happy to say that this book lived up to every expectation I had.
First off, can I just say, the chemistry between the MCs just rolled off the page. From their very first meeting, they sparked and sizzled, and it just kept getting thicker and sharper as the book went on. They were both working through their own things, trying to find a balance in their life, and I loved the way the author paralleled their internal conflicts. It read as natural and believable, with steps backward for every step forward, while still maintaining the forward momentum. These men got to know each other incredibly well, and used the support and affection that they got from one another to work through their own issues. The D/s here was lovely and beautiful, showcasing everything that a relationship like this should be and needs to be in order to work. There’s nothing too hardcore here, but it layers everything they do.
Garrett had to work through his loss, but he’s already done most of his grieving. When Aayan steps into the picture, he just has to jump over that last hurdle: reconciling his desire for someone new and how that relates to the love he had with his husband. For me, Aayan really had the growth throughout the story. His internal conflict was perfectly done. As a Muslim, he has certain beliefs and morals when it comes to hurting another. And though he’s already come to terms what it means to be gay and Muslim, this was so much harder to reconcile. To watch him work through it, to see his love for Garrett and his inherent need to care for Garrett in the way Garrett needed, and see how that was how he was able to embrace and accept his sadistic side, was utterly captivating.
And on top of that, the whole trial preparation and arguments in court were exceedingly well done. It never took over the narrative, but was incorporated into seamlessly. It was incredibly believable, and true to the way laws and trials actually work, which was refreshing to see. Not to mention, Garrett was commanding and fierce in the courtroom, and it was another way to show the layers to the man.
My one teeny tiny complaint is I would have liked to see a little bit more of the MCs outside of sex. We get a some of that, but most everything was layered with that, even when it was just them taking care of each other. Don’t get me wrong, every scene was exceedingly well done. But I would have liked just a bit more of them just conversing and getting to know each other.
Really, guys, I loved this book. It had everything a good books needs to have: great writing, well-paced plot, layers upon layers, and a truly beautiful D/s relationship. I have no trouble recommending this one at all.