explorationRating: 3.5 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

Calvin is newly divorced and out, and is now finding what he wants out of life. While helping a friend at a bar, Cal sees his roommate, Frankie, head to the back room. What Cal encounters there lets him know that that the younger man wants to submit, and Cal wants to be in control. He’s always been attracted to Frankie, and now he takes the chance and broaches the subject with Frankie.

What Frankie knows about BDSM comes from fiction, so he’s shocked by what Cal suggests. But the more research he does, the more he learns that there are all types of kinky relationships. When Cal asks Frankie to let him show Frankie what he wants, Frankie agrees and quickly comes to crave the relationship Cal shows him. Cal wants to be in control, yes, but it’s about taking care of his partner. The two men skirt the edges of a domestic discipline relationship and fall in love.

But it’s not easy. Frankie has a lot on his shoulders and asking for help isn’t something he does. Cal has to tread carefully as he shows Frankie everything they could be. To make things even trickier, Frankie isn’t out to his traditional Italian family. But together, Cal and Frankie are building something real. And that means everyone has to step up.

The blurb on this one sounded so promising, but I think it fell a little short in the execution. While this story had good bones, it never got to a level where I was deeply involved and it never really took off for me.

Where the author excelled was the characterization. I really enjoyed both MCs, and I loved their faults and quirks. Ward did a good job of imbuing both Cal and Frankie, as well as the secondary characters, with unique personalities. On the whole, it really added something to the story and the characters felt real. Frankie’s struggles were well portrayed and I liked watching him grow. And Cal and Frankie had good chemistry, which pulled the book along.

But where it fell short was the larger plot and the telling of the story. Things were a bit predictable at times, and the way they were told was not particularly engaging. There were some sections that read like a manual for Kink 101 and it didn’t work for me. On top of that, there was way too much telling in this book, and not enough showing. I felt like I was a step removed from some pivotal scenes that, had they been showed on page, would have really amped up the level of this book for me. Instead, I felt like it was missing something key to really engage me in the story.

This book also had a number of noticeable typos, a few grammatical errors, and weirdly worded sentences that pulled me out of the story.

Overall, it was a decent book. The characters really shined, but there wasn’t enough going on in the plot, and the way the story was told brought down my rating. In the end, I’d only cautiously recommend this to anyone looking for a mild BDSM and domestic discipline relationship.

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