Mitchell is trying his best to start over. He had lost himself when he was with his ex, Evan, and become someone else. He lost his self-esteem, his courage, sometimes Mitchell thinks he even lost part of his soul, but things are going to be different now. Mitchell is free. He left, taking with him their car and a few thousand dollars, and is now in Chicago starting over. First Mitchell needs to find a job—something simple where he can ease back into living again. The small vegan restaurant is the perfect place. The staff is so nice and they want to get to know him, so Mitchell decides to take another step toward learning to be brave again and accepts the invite to the party they are having. As he’s trying to find the house where the party is going down, a small dog darts into the street in front of his car, causing him to jerk out of the way and crash into a parked vehicle. The owner comes rushing out and before Mitchell can blink, he is waking up on a stranger’s couch, looking at a man who will change his life.
Jensen Delaney is a star and, at nearly forty years old, he is ready to settle down. He is a natural Dominant and finding someone who can not only handle his stardom and all it brings with it, but is also willing to submit, is not an easy task. When fate brings a beautiful young man who is so obviously a submissive brat yearning to be free into Jensen’s lap, he can’t help but do what comes naturally to him—offer to take care of the man. Jensen offers Mitchell a job and slowly tries to bring him out of his shell. Jensen can tell there has been some form of abuse in Mitchell’s past and until that is dealt with, there is little hope that the two of them can be more than employer/employee. Until Mitchell realizes that the submissive yearnings he has come from a place of strength, Jensen must try to be patient and wait. In the meantime, he will do everything in his power to help Mitchell tear free of the fears and self-doubt that hold him hostage.
Author Meg Harding creates a lovely romance from the ashes of past abuse and brokenness in her new novel, Jensen. Marking the beginning of a new Silver Screen Doms series, the book takes the hurt/comfort trope, pairs it with light BDSM elements, and produces a sweet second chance story that has an almost fairy tale-like ending. With little angst in the plot overall, we see Mitchell blossom under Jensen’s care as they begin to explore a relationship together. Poor Mitchel is reluctant to believe in himself and questions his every decision, but Jensen has the patience of Job and tries not to push the younger man beyond what he is capable of handling. Their journey together is the highlight of this novel; the care Jensen gives to Mitchell is really beautiful, and I could feel how much Jensen values this poor wounded man.
All of Jensen’s friends are in the scene and some become a support system for Mitchell. The subs all spend time together with Ben, in particular, helping Mitchell deal with the idea that being a submissive doesn’t mean he is weak—something Mitchell fears he will always be since escaping a previous relationship that was destructive to his soul and mental well-being. These moments allowed the story to gradually show Mitchell heal and regain his self-determination. His journey is the most successful element of the novel. Unfortunately, there are a few pieces of the book that just didn’t work for me.
For instance, there is a hint of some potential between Mitchell and the guy who hires him at the vegan café. It never goes anywhere, yet the idea is presented more than once and I wonder why the author chose to have it happen and not build on it or resolve it. Plus, the ending of the book was just too convenient and, as a result, felt almost comical to me. Suddenly the past catches up with Mitchell in a profoundly dangerous way and because we learn very little about Mitchell’s ex, Evan, the final scenes involving him seem a bit over the top. It is way too predictable; I could feel the plot heading this way and I felt myself cringe when it came about.
Despite these troublesome spots, Jensen still succeeds as a second chance romance and a beautiful novel about healing and self-discovery. If you are on the lookout for a low angst love story with just a touch of kink, then this one is worth checking out.