working out the kinksRating: 4.5 stars
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Length: Novel

Landon grew up with a scam artist mother who manipulated men for money. They went from motel to motel, husband to husband, while she took advantage of these men and walked off with their money. Landon is determined never to be like his mother and wants to be completely self reliant. He doesn’t get involved with anyone, doesn’t take things from anyone, and definitely doesn’t date rich guys.

Landon is a guitar player in a band that isn’t quite going anywhere. He is barely scraping by financially and his life isn’t nearly as fulfilling as it once was. He tries not to look too closely at what his life has become and just muddles on, trying to make it with his band and hoping to bring in enough cash to manage rent each month.

The last person Landon expects to see at once of his shows is Brett, the son of a man Landon’s mom was married to years ago. Landon spent about a year and a half in that house until he was old enough to get out and survive on his own. Brett was a brat even then, a spoiled rich boy who had everything he ever wanted and seemed to enjoy making Landon crazy. Now Brett has set his sights on Landon. He makes it clear that he wants Landon, has always wanted Landon, and now he is not going to take no for an answer.

Landon knows getting involved with Brett is a horrible idea. He is everything Landon hates and no good can come of getting involved with a rich kid. But that doesn’t stop Landon from wanting Brett so intensely he can hardly think, hardly breathe around him. And what starts out as one night to get it out of his system turns into more. Landon tells Brett it is just temporary, that nothing can really happen between them. But Brett is not deterred. And somehow his brattiness makes Landon even more attracted to him. Something about Brett makes Brandon feel in control in ways he has never imagined. And even more shocking, Brett makes him feel safe too. But Landon has always been proud, self reliant, and determined not to need anyone or anything. Now he must decide if he is willing to let himself have what he really wants, the person who truly makes him happy, or if he will let his pride and stubbornness keep him from finding love and contentment.

Ok, so I’ll admit, this story pretty much had me at the blurb as soon as it mentioned spanking, brats, and stepbrothers. Here is how the blurb ends, in case you are curious:

Working Out the Kinks is a 98,000 word filthy forbidden romance novel about a grumpy, broken rock star who refuses to fall in love and a lonely, relentless, spoiled brat looking for someone to belong to. So much angst, so much arguing, so much spanking, and a touch of taboo. Avoid at all costs if you don’t like those things.

So yes, please to all of those things. And yes, this book definitely is full of brooding rockers, super spoiled brats who won’t take no for an answer, and lots of sexy spanking. But there is also so much more here than I had expected. Horne has created a story with a lot of depth and some rich and fascinating character development that really impressed me and took this sexy story to another level.

Ok, so starting with the juicy stuff, these guys are smoking hot together. Horne does such a nice job with the chemistry between them and the attraction is just palpable. We can feel the intensity of Landon’s attraction for Brett, the pure heat that consumes him whenever they are together. Brett makes Landon pretty much out of his mind with lust, and for Landon that is a good thing, as he needs so desperately to let himself go and enjoy. These guys are dirty and sexy together in a really fun way. Brett is the brattiest of brats. He is spoiled and pushes and gets what he wants and it should be totally annoying but somehow it isn’t. Landon doesn’t think so either. Brett makes him wild, as does Brett’s desire for spanking. Landon has never been into spanking kink before, but it doesn’t take him long to get fully on board. This isn’t a BDSM story, but there is definitely spanking, as well as some hot, aggressive sex. There is also a hint of the stepbrother taboo given that their parents were married for about a minute, but they have never considered themselves family, and though Landon falls back on that to justify his hesitation to get involved with Brett, these guys really don’t see themselves as related. It is just enough to add a little twist, but nothing too intense if this isn’t your kink.

As I said, what really impressed me here is how in the midst of all this hot and steamy, Horne really does a wonderful job developing these character and letting us see into their soft underbellies. Landon is so clearly affected by his mother’s influence. His whole life is about proving to himself that he is not like her, that he is not a user or a manipulator, so he has set up these walls and rigid rules for himself. Landon is so proud, he won’t accept help, he won’t take a cent from Brett even as the other man has more than he can spend. But more than that, Landon is afraid to get involved, to emotionally connect with someone, especially someone like Brett who is wealthy. His fear of turning into his mother rules Landon and keeps him from really being happy. I loved the way he gets past this too. Some key conversations really help Landon to see who he is, who is mother is, and to realize that he deserves and can have happiness. It is very satisfying and the ending is so mushy and romantic.

Even though we are in Landon’s POV, Horne does a nice job helping us understand Brett as well. Underneath that brat is someone who is insecure and acting out. We can see his fears and his neediness and how little things can so easily hurt him. These guys are such a good match and it is rewarding to see them figure out how to move past just the sex to something real and meaningful between them.

So I definitely enjoyed Working Out the Kinks. It is hot and sexy, but also so much more. I am really impressed with Horne’s writing and will definitely seek out more of her work. If you are a fan of the hot and spicy, but also stories will well-developed characters and a lot of heart, I think you will love this book.

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