Nineteen-year-old Callum Whyte grew up in the lap of luxury, but without anyone who truly cared about him. When his father went to prison for a Ponzi financial scheme, Cal found himself alone and penniless. Fortunately, a friend’s family has taken him in, and Cal’s exclusive private school is already paid up, but he is still scrounging for funds to pay for his diabetes medication. That is what leads Cal to agree to a one-night job as a sex worker. Cal has been told that Gideon is demanding and into daddy kink, but that he is also incredibly alluring. When Cal meets Gideon, he finds all those things to be true. The two have a hot and sexy night together, and Cal knows he won’t easily forget Gideon, but Gideon is clear he sees his boys one time only.
Leopold Gideon grew up poor, but fell for an older, wealthy man who taught him to submit. While Grant was older, Gideon never expected to lose him so soon to a tragic accident. Now Gideon has wealth and status beyond his dreams, but he also doesn’t want another relationship. Gideon’s night with Cal is better than he could have hoped, and he feels a definite draw to the young man, particularly how Cal submits so beautifully and naturally to Gideon. But Gideon isn’t planning to break his one-night only rule.
Things have been rough for Cal, not only due to his finances and living situation, but also because the kids at school have all turned on him. Many of the students’ families, along with school staff and the board, were swindled by Cal’s dad and they won’t let him forget it. Cal finds himself often picked on and led into fights, and the latest has landed him in front of the interim headmaster who, to Cal’s great surprise, turns out to be Gideon. Cal’s realizes that he may have found his way to see Gideon again by convincing him not to expel Cal and to continue their relationship in exchange for Cal keeping quiet about their connection. Gideon has no intention of expelling Cal, as he has sympathy for his plight and the awful way he is being treated at school, but he goes along with the blackmail to give himself some more time with Cal. The guys agree that they will be together for six more weeks until the end of the school year.
Cal and Gideon continue their fierce connection from their night together and have daily hookups in Gideon’s office. Gideon intends to keep things between them strictly at school, but when Cal’s housing and financial situations hit a crisis point, Gideon can’t stop himself from stepping in to take care of Cal. It soon becomes clear to both men that this is a lot more than a short-term relationship, as they are both falling hard for one another. However, the people Cal’s father wronged aren’t willing to let their anger go, or their determination to take it out on Cal. But Gideon has fallen hard for Cal and he will give whatever it takes to protect his boy and help him find a successful future.
Disciplinary Action is sort of a sexy Cinderella story, with down-on-his luck Cal being rescued by a handsome (and kinky) prince of a man in Gideon. There is definitely a fantasy element here in the way that Gideon is pretty much perfection personified and he comes in to save Cal just when he really needs it. He offers care and money and someone to fight for Cal, and expects nothing in return. Fortunately, both men are pretty likable and I enjoyed seeing things develop between them. The book establishes both the relationship between the men, as well as the larger picture of what is going on with Cal at school and those who are seeking to hurt him for his father’s crime. This is story is quite sex heavy, but there is enough of a plot here to carry things along. At times, I did feel like some of the action was slowed by the constant pause for the men to have sex, particularly as things started heating up with the storyline. But I do think overall the book provides an interesting story that kept me engaged and eager to follow along.
Where I struggled here was that while I could accept that the book veers toward fantasy fulfillment, I still frequently ran into trouble with the lack of realism (or at least my perception thereof). I will say that there were times where things seemed to stretch believability, only for James to manage to pull it back with a reasonable explanation for what was happening, which helped a lot. But I still found there were multiple places where I struggled. Before I go too far, I’ll say that you have to be ok with the fact that Cal is attempting to blackmail Gideon into a sexual relationship. It is very clearly spelled out that Gideon knows what is going on and is ok with it, but Cal himself doesn’t realize that and seems fine forcing someone to have sex with him, which I’ll admit, doesn’t sit well with me. But again, that is the set up for this story so you have to be able to go with it. However, I couldn’t help wonder how neither man seems the least bit concerned that having sex every day in Gideon’s office might lead to them getting caught. I mean, we aren’t talking a quick and dirty hand job or whatever. These guys are having daily, full-on naked, kinky sex in an office with other people outside. Neither one is worried someone might knock on the door and wonder why the headmaster and a student are behind a locked door all sweaty and smelling like sex? We know that Gideon is wealthy and doesn’t need to work, but clearly he must actually want a job or he wouldn’t have one. Other than some admonishments for Cal to keep quiet during sex, neither man seems to express any concerns at all about being caught and what that would mean for both of them.
I also found myself bothered by Cal’s almost complete inability to care for himself and seeming lack of effort to do anything about that. I am not sure if we know how long ago his dad got sent to jail, but he is in federal prison, so it must be months. Cal has been staying with a friend who is a lower income family struggling to make ends meet and his friend can only afford school due to his athletic scholarship. Yet, Cal describes himself as basically being unable to boil water, with no useful life skills and no ability to care for himself. I get why this might have been the case when living with his dad, but after all this time? He has no money and is only barely surviving, living off the kindness of this other poor family, and he doesn’t get even an after school job? Doesn’t take the time to learn any basic life skills? Doesn’t offer to help out the hard working mom supporting him by helping with household responsibilities? I mean, Cal is 19 years old. Many high school kids have part time jobs. I just struggled here because we are supposed to see Cal as grown up enough to be a real partner to a much older man, but yet he seemingly still makes no real effort at taking any adult responsibility other than his school work.
A few other things. One, the guys engage in a BDSM, Daddy/boy relationship with no discussion about it at all. Cal has never had any kink experience and they jump right into this 6-week arrangement without talking about anything other than Gideon explaining the color system. I also wanted to know a lot more about Gideon, particularly his relationship with his husband. We get lots of hints that things weren’t all great with Grant, but I felt like there were a lot of holes that never got filled in that would have been useful to know to develop Gideon’s character and his background. Next, there are some things here that strain believability about the college admission process, including Cal being offered a full academic scholarship to multiple Ivy Leagues. I mean, the chance of that happening is like being hit by lightning, I don’t care how smart you are. Even getting admitted to these schools is next to impossible, let alone getting a full ride. And lastly, the conspiracy plot involving what is going on at the school, while definitely having a “ripped from the headlines” aspect, felt over the top. I mean, yes, it can and has happened, so I am not saying it’s not possible. But the actions of the various player just felt super dramatic and I had to give the benefit of the doubt a few times that some of these things could even happen.
Ok, so that feels like a lot, especially when I see it all written out. Some of this stuff just niggled me too much not to mention here, but I don’t think it ruins the book by any means. Overall, I did find I enjoyed this story. As I said, it is sexy, romantic fantasy about a poor boy being swept off his feet and finding himself cared for and doted upon and, in that respect, the book definitely succeeds. I like the characters and I enjoyed the storyline and it kept me engaged to see how it all played out. This is my first time reading a book by Onley James and I found I enjoyed her writing style and storytelling. If you are in the mood for something super sexy with a nice Cinderella fantasy, this one may be right up your alley, particularly if you are not bothered too much by things that may strain probability.
Note: This story is a full-length novel version of a short story freebie of the same title. From a quick look, it appears that the short story covers about the first two chapters of this book, so this novel extends the story significantly.