Kinsey and Benoni have finally acted on their attraction and have entered into a relationship. Benoni is very aware that Kinsey is not only new to being out as gay, but to submission, and he is very careful not to push too hard or far. Kinsey is everything Benoni wants and he’s superb at walking the line between control and going too far, as Kinsey blossoms and gains more confidence.
But a chance meeting with a pair of men on the beach opens Kinsey’s eyes to a whole new world. He knew he was submissive, and he loves when Benoni takes charge, but he felt something was missing. The meeting and pursuant conversation makes Kinsey realize that he wants Benoni to be his Daddy. Benoni has to make Kinsey talk, but when Kinsey confesses, Benoni realizes how perfect that sort of dynamic would work for them, despite never having been a Daddy before.
As Benoni and Kinsey begin to explore that dynamic, their relationship deepens. Benoni is an excellent Daddy and knows exactly how much control to take. And he’s more than happy to provide that kind of care for Kinsey. The only place he doesn’t interfere is in Kinsey’s addiction recovery, though he’s completely supportive. But while the two men are exploring their new relationship, Kinsey also is trying to reconnect with this adult children. He’s made inroads with his son, but his daughter proves elusive. But as Kinsey grows in confidence, and goes after what he wants for the first time in his life, the other pieces start to fall into place. After spending his whole life living by other people’s standards and doing what other’s thought was right, Kinsey is finally in a good, happy place. With his Daddy by his side.
This is the second book in the Forty-Seven Duology, and it picks up right where Clean Start at Forty-Seven left off. Other than a few flashbacks that give more background to how and when Kinsey’s life spiraled out of control, most of this book is in the present. And oh, what a great conclusion it was. Phoenix laid the ground work in the first story, and we had slow burn to get Kinsey and Benoni to this place. But this is where the MCs really bloom and find their HEA, and I was absolutely here for it.
This duology is really about Kinsey’s journey. A lot of the work was done before the duology starts, but Kinsey still has a long way to go. And he does. With every scene, Kinsey grows. His journey is one that’s fraught with heartache, pain, angst, and change. In this story, he’s finally in a place where he can take all he’s learned and put it into practice. And he does. It’s not easy, and he still has hiccups and stumbles, but I loved watching him stand up for himself. Kinsey’s been through so much throughout his entire life, especially in regards to homophobia and religious trauma, and he’s now living for himself. He sees that he is actually worthy of living his authentic life, there is no shame in that, and he stands up for himself. I loved watching him come into his own. He deserved it.
Of course, Benoni is a constant support. Not only as a boyfriend and Dom, but then as his Daddy. To be clear, there’s no age play here. But instead, it’s the dynamic of Benoni having control and making decisions, caring for every one of Kinsey’s needs, and providing him with support at every turn. Benoni is basically the prefect man, but Phoenix writes him in a believable way. There’s a cameo here with Rhys and Cornell from Firm Hand, which was fun to see, and it was a sweet and organic way of introducing Kinsey to the kind of dynamic he wants, especially with a younger Daddy and and older boy. It was exactly what Kinsey needed to see to help him fully embrace not only the age gap between him and Benoni, but also being Benoni’s boy. Benoni also knows exactly how to push and how to care for Kinsey. The steam here is off the charts, and perfect for these two.
The thing I really loved in this book, besides Kinsey’s journey, is the communication. Not only between the MCs, but between Kinsey and his children, and even his ex-wife. This book has a healthy dose of angst, but also a lot of healing, and that comes from clear communication. The characters might have misunderstandings or say mean things, they may have moments where they storm off, but it doesn’t last, and the characters actually talk to each other. It was so refreshing to see, and I loved how real and relatable these characters were. Another thing I loved was how much closure this book ended with. After everything Kinsey has been through, how hard he’s worked, I was so glad to see him not only get his HEA with Benoni, but also with several other aspects of his life.
All in all, this was a great conclusion to the duology. It hit all the right notes, the pacing was spot on, and the realism leant so much relatability. It’s not always an easy book, much like the first. There are a lot of heavy themes, including homophobia, religious trauma, and addiction and recovery. But Phoenix handles it with care and a deft hand, and make the ending all the more satisfying. This duology is an easy recommendation from me.