Abel has been in love with Madigan since he was 12 years old and the man has always been an important part of Abel’s life. The problem is that Mad is one of his parents’ closest friends, and once Abel confessed his feelings to him at age 19, Mad has kept him at a distance. It has been over a year and Abel is feeling more and more off kilter without their relationship and he is determined to show Mad that they are meant to be together.
Mad has been attracted to Abel since Abel was 19 years old, but he knows that a relationship between them can never happen. Yet it is killing him to be apart from Abel and to know that their previously close relationship is now strained. Mad worries not only about the age difference between them, but also how they could ever make it work long term. But when Abel makes it clear how much he wants Madigan, as well as that he shares both Mad’s interest in BDSM and in age play/daddy kink, Mad finally can’t hold out any longer.
As the guys get together, all the pieces start to fit into place. Abel thrives under the structure and stability that Mad provides. As a professional hockey player, Abel has an erratic and demanding schedule and Mad helps him stay in control. Abel is also bipolar and requires a lot of structure in order to help keep himself in a good place mentally and emotionally. So the guidance his Daddy provides makes a huge difference for Abel. And Madigan loves to be able to take care of Abel and guide him along, thrilling that Abel shares his kink so perfectly. But as good as things are for them, they have been keeping their relationship mostly hidden. But they can’t keep things a secret forever and eventually Abel’s family is going to find out.
So I have had this book in my TBR pile for a while, and I finally pulled it out for Self-Published Author Week in our Reading Challenge Month. I’m not quite sure why it took me so long, other than I got a few similar books at the same time and somehow this one just dropped off my radar for a bit. But I’m glad I picked it back up because I really enjoyed it. First off, just for clarification, this book is part of the author’s Camassia Cove world (though it is not listed as such on Goodreads). All the books are designed to stand alone, united by a shared town. However, there are also overlapping characters as well. In this case, Abel’s parents have their own book, as do some other family and friends. So while this works fine by itself, the books are not quite as independent as the series information suggests.
This story is more character than plot driven, as not much happens here beyond these guys finally coming together after pining for one another, and then their relationship growing. As is probably clear, there is a pretty big age gap between the guys as Mad is a good friend of Abel’s parents. You obviously have to be comfortable with the idea that a man who knew Abel closely as a child and was like a member of the family is now all hot for him, and it worked just fine for me. Dee does a nice job making clear that Mad’s attraction didn’t start until Abel was an adult, nor did they have any kind of paternal relationship, even when Abel was a kid. So I was able to go with it no problem. I’ll also note that while we get the backstory on Abel’s confession of love and the resulting distance between the guys, by the time this story starts, it isn’t long before they get together, so this isn’t as much of a slow burn as it may sound.
On the kink end, I’d say this is fairly mild. The guys are into a Daddy/little boy dynamic, but Abel never feels childlike. It is more that Mad helps guide him, gives him structure, and makes some decisions on his behalf. I liked the way Dee developed both of these characters and showed what about this lifestyle dynamic worked for them, Abel in particular. Sometimes in books with kinky characters, I feel like the story comes across as trying to “justify” the kink, as if there needs to be some reason that someone is into BDSM. But here I think Dee walks that line nicely between highlighting why this kink appeals to the men and brings them what they need, without coming across as too much justification.
I also really liked the dynamic between Abel and his best friend Gray (who later appears in his own book, Auctioned). The two are very close and share a physical relationship, as well as an intense friendship, though the sex is more comfort and support than sexual attraction. I liked the close bond between the men, and in particular the way that Madigan totally accepts and supports their relationship without being jealous. In fact, he is fine with the two of them continuing to by physical and there is a scene where all three guys get together.
So overall, I found this one really entertaining with very likable characters. Its focus is primarily on these guys building their relationship, but I think their personalities and relationship dynamic were enough to carry the story. I liked this one a lot and would look for more work from Cara Dee.
This review is part of our Reading Challenge Month for Self-Published Book Week! Leave a relevant comment below and you will be entered to win one of the great prize packs of self-published books donated by some very generous authors. Commenters will also be entered to win our amazing grand prize sponsored by Dreamspinner Press (a Kindle Fire filled with Dreamspun Desires/Beyond books, plus a 3-month subscription!). You can get more information on our Challenge Month here, and more details on Self-Published Book Week here, including a list of all the books in this week’s prize.