Story Rating: 2.5 stars
Audio Rating: 2 stars
Narrator: John Anthony Davis
Length: 8 hours, 39 minutes
Devon enjoys being a professional Dom and runs his own club. He hasn’t been interested in a long-term relationship, but thrives on the feeling of being able to give subs what they need. When a scene in his club goes wrong, Devon’s life is altered by meeting and rescuing Chase.
Chase ran away from home at sixteen when he didn’t think his parents would accept that he was gay. He was picked up by James Kingston, a man who considers himself a Dom, but Chase has been kept as a prisoner for the last seven years. He has had little contact with the outside world and has been constantly abused over the years. Yet, Chase still has a docile side to him and is still looking to please, although he is terrified at the thought of having to return to the Kingston home.
Devon and Chase have an unexpected connection as Kingston is the same man that promised to teach Devon how to be a Dom, yet abused him as well years ago. When Kingston finds out that Chase is with Devon, his rage will put them both in extreme danger.
This book did not work for me. The story itself didn’t work for me and the narration did nothing at all to showcase this book. We meet Devon as he is running a BDSM club. James Kingston is not allowed in his club, yet he’s not only there, but abusing a sub as Devon is arriving. Devon had heard that Kingston was holding someone as a slave, yet he chose to ignore that information and did nothing and said nothing. For a respected Dom in the community, this did not instill much of my confidence in Devon. Devon also states that he’s so busy and this translates into him being too busy to keep track of his employees as well as his bar stock and, again, my confidence in Devon was lacking.
The scene Chase was in was abusive and when he is being taken away by ambulance, Devon is calling him sweetheart despite having never met him before. I have nothing against terms of endearment, but this was too much too fast. Devon automatically feels responsible for Chase and Chase immediately falls in love with Devon. Chase is now 23 and has been abused and kept as a prisoner since he was sixteen. Yet he trusts Devon implicitly and needs minimal adjustments to being in the world again. This all fell apart for me before it even really started and I could barely watch as the two of them interacted. They fall into a BDSM style relationship with barely any discussion and their interactions came off as more parental than intimate with Chase needing so much care. From the speed of the relationship, to how easily Chase adjusted, none of it worked for me.
James Kingston was a one dimensional bad guy and he really didn’t add much to the story. The dialogue, as well as the plot itself, was all overly familiar as the MCs try to outsmart the villain with no police interaction. This also involved Chase’s family that he hadn’t seen in years and the way this all came down was also a whole lot of nope for me.
The narration was the worst part of it all. John Anthony Davis is a new narrator for me and he was extremely difficult to listen to and I was only able to listen to this audio one to two chapters at a time before needing a break. His inflections and emphasis were just off. I mean people don’t talk like this. His voice was robotic and non emotional and at times it sounded like the book was being read by a GPS. While Devon and the narrative voice were the same, he did try to differentiate Chase’s voice. Chase was probably supposed to sound vulnerable, but he came off sounding like a child throughout the entire audio. Even when Chase was supposed to be getting his life together, he sounded like a robotic child. This made the intimate scenes uncomfortable and off putting. Davis’ delivery didn’t allow me to make a connection to any character and there was zero chemistry between Devon and Chase. I would not recommend this book in audio form and, while the story didn’t appeal to me either, I would suggest looking into the ebook if this draws your interest.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.