Bane isn’t exactly a natural submissive. As an alpha and second in command of his pack, he’s used to being obeyed. But following a pack tragedy, Bane is adrift and broken. His pack leader sends him to Carnal Desires, a BDSM club that caters to the supernatural community, in the hopes of getting him the help he needs. That will be easier said than done.
Adam Archer has lived a long time and he rarely takes subs anymore. Instead, he trains at the club and does demonstrations, but he takes Bane, never expecting what kind of challenges the mouthy wolf will provide. Over the course of four weeks, Bane and Adam are forced to explore new boundaries, and in doing so they discover what they both needed all along.
Bane, which is the first in the Carnal Pleasures series, was something of a conundrum. There is so much good in the book, especially with regards to the characters, but the BDSM aspect was a complete turn off. Let’s get into it.
Adam and Bane were absolutely fabulous together, when they weren’t participating in a BDSM scene. When their conversations were personal, they were a poignant couple and struck me as being deeply in tune with one another. They feel wonderfully developed and their stories unfold throughout the book in a natural, believable manner. Despite the fact the book takes place over four weeks, the authors do a good job of making Bane’s pacing seem relaxed and it never becomes forced. The secondary characters are a bit more distant, but they aren’t cookie cutter either and they do fit well into the wider story.
Now for the BDSM aspect. Normally, I enjoy these kind of scenes between main characters as there is often a serious connection that takes place and allows the relationship to evolve and grow. But with Bane, the scenes had almost the opposite effect. Neither Bane nor Adam felt in the moment during their scenes and there was a stiffness that made them seem strained and almost awkward. I’m not sure I can even fully explain why these scenes didn’t work for me, but they were off putting and always took me right out of the story. I felt a bit like a yo-yo: every BDSM scene yanked me out of the moment, but every conversation between Bane and Adam, pulled me right back in. It was a rather odd sensation as a reader and it left me wondering exactly how I felt about the book long after I finished it. My other niggle was the use of the word “pet.” It’s excessive here, often multiple times in the same sentence and while I don’t mind the word every now and then, it was just over the top here.
After a lot of reflection, I did enjoy Bane. It has a lot of strong character development and there’s no doubt that Bane and Adam work on a lot of different levels. The BDSM doesn’t seem particularly well suited here and it’s a big distraction, but ultimately Bane and Adam save this book from becoming a bit of a mess. Other readers may not find the BDSM scenes so frustrating and I think if you’re a fan of that genre, Bane is worth your time.