When his first attempts into exploring pain play go frighteningly wrong, Wren turns to a friend for help. Avery, in turn, connects Wren with Leo, an experienced Dom who also happens to be Wren’s father’s best friend. Leo not only counsels others on BDSM, but he has an interest in pain play himself, so he is the perfect person to advise Wren. However, once Wren meets Leo, he doesn’t just want Leo’s advice, he wants Leo himself. The men connect right away and Wren is incredibly attracted to Leo. The guys have a hot night together, but Wren knows he has to come clean to Leo about who he is, and once he knows that Wren is Graham’s son, Leo knows they can’t be involved further.*
But the connection the men have made is impossible to ignore, and despite knowing it could be a bad idea, Leo agrees to continue seeing Wren. As it turns out, Wren’s interest in pain play is a perfect match for Leo’s own needs and he loves helping Wren explore all his desires. As the two delve deeper into kink together, they also begin falling for one another and things get serious quickly. But Leo and Wren are still keeping a big secret from Graham, one that could affect both of their relationships with the man. Not only is Leo one of Graham’s best friends, but he and Wren have a huge age gap. Not to mention Graham knows about Leo’s kinks, which means he knows more about their sex life than either would like. Wren and Leo know they have to tell him, but letting out their secret could ruin the connection between them.
Painfully Attractive is the fourth book in Silvia Violet’s Love and Care series. We have met both Leo and Wren in earlier books, but I do think this one mostly stands alone from a plot perspective. However, Graham and Avery obviously play a significant side role here, and other characters do appear from earlier in the series (including a repeat of a scene between Sean and Wren that first appears in Demanding Discipline, but this time from Wren’s POV).
This story is kind of simple from a plot perspective as the conflict is set up at the start of the book. That gives plenty of time to focus on the developing connection between Wren and Leo. There is a nice sense of romance between the two and the men fall fast and hard for one another. The attraction they feel for one another is really palpable and I could believe that Leo would risk his friendship for a chance to be with Wren. I do think I would have liked more time with the men outside the bedroom in order to really see the romantic side develop, not just the lust or the kink compatibility. But I liked these men together and there is a sweetness here that I appreciated and that makes a nice contrast with the more hard core side of things. I also really enjoyed reconnecting with the characters from the rest of the series and Violet brings the plots and characters all together here really nicely.
From a kink end, this book is much more hard core than the other three, which focused primarily on daddy kink. Leo and Wren are into pain play and there are scenes that explore some more intense kink, such as needle play. However, while the subject matter is definitely more hard core, the tone here still feels in keeping with the other books. While Wren participates in some major pain play, we are kept at somewhat of a distance from exactly what he is feeling. While we are in his head for some of the scenes, I felt somewhat removed from the sensations and experiences, which I actually think works well for this book. As I said, the kink in the other stories is much milder and so I think keeping things a bit removed here keeps this story more in tune with the other books and accessible for many of the readers of the other stories. Just be aware if you are looking for real nitty gritty kink that this story isn’t quite that tone.
Overall, I really enjoyed this story and am finding the series very entertaining. I am not sure if this the last book if the series, but Violet does tie things up nicely here and gives us a chance to reconnect with the other couples. So this was a entertaining installment in a really good series.
* I realized it might be confusing why Leo doesn’t recognize his best friend’s son, so to clarify, Wren and his father have been estranged since a messy divorce and only recently reconnected so Leo has never met Wren