dual destruction coverRating: 4 stars
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Length: Novel


Foster Golden has not been able to get Sage Rosetti out of his mind. The pair spent three days together and Sage knew exactly how to give a hard core masochist like Foster just what he wanted. But both Sage and Foster are hard men, both in the way they play and in how they live their lives, and the two separated with no plans to see each other again. But that doesn’t stop him from wanting more time with Sage. Foster can’t afford to get distracted however. As an assassin, he must be focused and on top of his game. He took a few weeks off after his time with Sage, but now he is due to take his next job.

Sage remembers his time with Foster with just as much intensity as Foster does. He finds himself seeking out Foster, against his better judgement, hoping to encounter the man once again. When Sage is attacked and almost killed, the only place he can think to turn is to Foster. Foster knows getting involved with Sage is a mistake, but he can’t help but protect him instead. As Sage recovers, the men rekindle the connection they established and neither can deny the pull they feel toward one another. They are the perfect complement, each giving the other exactly what they want and need. The men are even doing the seemingly impossible by forming real feelings for one another. But there is trouble brewing and both Sage and Foster are getting tangled up in it. They both live dangerous lives and making it out alive isn’t going to be easy. But Sage and Foster have found something right with each other, and they are going to fight with all they have for their future.

Dual Destruction is a great thriller featuring some heavy kink and two super intense men in Sage and Foster. Starting with the suspense side, I was pleasantly surprised by the direction this story takes. I am not sure why I wasn’t anticipating that this is a thriller, but for some reason it caught me off guard in a good way. Every time I thought I knew where things were going, the story takes a new twist. We never quite know where the real threat lies and who is behind it all, and that adds some nice excitement to the story. I think given how intense the relationship is between Sage and Foster, adding this larger suspense plot gives some breathing room and adds a really nice element to the story. The basics wrap up here, but there are threads that are not fully resolved as we lead into the next book. However, this story feels complete and ends us at a great point.

So as I said, things are intense between Foster and Sage. First off, this is pretty hard core BDSM featuring sadomasochistic play and Foster has virtually no limits. So you need to be comfortable reading this type of kink. These are also dark, strong, and uncompromising men and they push each other to their limits in a way they both love. I’ll admit that as a total pain averse person, this type of kink isn’t really my thing. But I could still appreciate the way Hawthorne portrays the dynamic between the men and showcases their perfect compatibility. I also loved that under all that hardness, there is a softness they find for each other. That doesn’t mean Sage has a problem hurting Foster (or that Foster doesn’t want to be hurt). But they have that alongside a real affection and tenderness for each other that develops into love, almost despite themselves.

For fans of Hawthorne’s past books, the BDSM club Rapture gets a mention here. Foster is also best friends with Rich from Until You Say Otherwise and Ronan from Desperately Seeking. Both men appear here, along with their partners. I have not read either book and I had no problem following along at all with their involvement. So this is more of a situation where I think past readers will enjoy seeing these guys again, not that it is a problem if you aren’t familiar with them.

It’s also important to note that there is a free prequel story featuring the time Sage and Foster spend together before the start of this book. It was originally part of a big winter giveaway as Owned for the New Year and is now retitled as Dual Hostilities. The story is unchanged, aside from the title, so if you already have the freebie you are good to go. If not, you can get it for free following a link at the end of Dual Destruction. I’ve given some thought as to whether you need to read the short story first. I think Hawthorne does a great job conveying the background of those events in this book, so from a plot standpoint, this one works alone. But I do think having a sense of the emotional connection these guys formed helps to understand why they are still so drawn to one another here. It also gives some context to their sexual dynamic, as we see them discuss limits, establish consent, etc in the prequel in a way that isn’t spelled out as completely here. However, I’ll note that the prequel is even more hard core than this book in terms of kink. There is gun play, sounding, e-stim, breath play, being put in a cage, and consensual non-consent. I personally found it a lot for me, again because I am not a person who likes pain and so this type of play can be hard for me to read. The freebie also is so distilled, focusing almost exclusively on the kink experience the men have together, so things feel far more intense than in Dual Destruction where there is a larger plot breaking things up. But the short is also fascinating in revealing the dynamic between Sage and Foster and showcasing that connection they have. So I guess I would say if you are good with reading this type of kink, read the freebie, because it really enriches the main book. But if you are not interested in something so intense, I think you can start here with this book as long as you are aware that consent and limits, etc are discussed and agreed upon in the prequel.

I found Dual Destruction to be really engaging, both for the dynamic between Sage and Foster, as well as the suspense side of things. I was really drawn into the story and was eager to see how things played out on both fronts. This book resolves nicely, but also leads well into the next story. I really enjoyed how things end up for Sage and Foster and am looking forward to reading more of their journey.

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