Rating: 4.25 stars
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Length: Novel

Jonah and Lars have been together for ten years and were best friends basically since birth. They have a wonderful life together and are the kind of couple everyone envies for their love and devotion to one another. But things are shaken up when Jonah sees puppy play for the first time. It is not something he has ever craved, or even thought about, but once he sees it, Jonah can’t get the idea of trying it out of his head. Lars has always been the more naturally dominant partner and he tends to make most of the decisions for the two of them, but this is a whole other level and Jonah is terrified of what Lars might think of his interest.

As much as Jonah tries to put the idea out of his mind, he finds himself so drawn to the idea of exploring puppy play, he just can’t put it aside. Even as he looks into it more, however, Jonah worries that if Lars isn’t into the idea, it will be all the more crushing. So he keeps things to himself, even though Lars clearly can tell something is bothering him. Now Jonah needs to be open with Lars and share his feelings, and hope that the two of them can take something new and find a way to make it work together.

I was really excited to check out this first book in K.M. Neuhold’s new Working Out the Kinks series. I recently read my first book by the author, Beat of Their Own Drum, and really enjoyed it, so I was eager to try more of her work. And I was really intrigued with the set up for this book and the idea of seeing an established couple navigating how new kinky interests on the part of one partner may impact things between them. What happens if only one partner is into the idea? How might that affect their relationship? So this is an unusual set up and it really drew me in and I think Neuhold does a great job with it.

For all the angsty premise, this is a pretty low stress story. Yes, Jonah is really freaked out by his new interest in puppy play and what it means for him and Lars, and he is worried about how to tell his boyfriend. But this issue does get resolved pretty early on in the story and much of the book focuses on the guys exploring this new interest. So things are a bit easy here and there was a tiny part of me waiting for some sort of conflict to come later in the book. But I was also never bored and just loved the story and this couple, so I didn’t really miss the conflict.

Jonah and Lars are just so sweet and lovely together. They are clearly meant for one another, have grown up together and now found love with each other. There is no question that they are each committed to being their for their partner and to doing whatever it takes to make the other happy. So you can’t help but root for them here. I also liked seeing how their natural submissive and dominant tendencies that have always been a part of their dynamic then grow into more as they explore puppy play. There is this sense that things have always been wonderful between them, but suddenly this whole new world opens up and it is even better than either could have hoped for.

This is just an incredibly warm, sweet story. Jonah and Lars are a great couple and so very likable. There isn’t much conflict after the initial issue is resolved, but I found I didn’t really need it. I enjoyed watching these guys grow and explore their new interests and find that they were even happier than before.