Rating: 3.25 stars
Buy Link:
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Length: Novel

 

Luke’s first night at a BDSM club Dominatrix was in a word, perfect. The Dom who took him home, Master Hardy, was the king of the club, the man every sub wanted, and with good reason. Luke experienced bone melting pain mixed with euphoric pleasure and an orgasm that all but destroyed him before he fell asleep in the arms of his lover. In the morning, there was breakfast fed to him, bite by bite, as he knelt at Hardy’s feet. And then Hardy agreed to see him again! Riding high on emotions and endorphins, Luke went to class the next day ready to take on the world … until his world came crashing down.

John Hardy, Hardy to his friends, Master Hardy or Sir to his subs, is Luke’s new professor. Which is fine. Teachers can be hot, too. But Hardy wants nothing to do with Luke, now that he knows he’s a student. Hardy may have had a wonderful night with the perfect sub, but he’s not going to risk his job just because the kid is everything he ever wanted. Even if his colleague and best friend seems to think he could get away with it, and urges him to go after the young man.

But Luke won’t take no for an answer, and Hardy is finding it harder and harder to find a reason to refuse when Luke is so obviously determined to have Hardy as his Dom.

Hardy is in his early 40s. He’s seen a lot and been through a lot. A lot of mistakes, a lot of loves, a lot of subs. But he’s never met anyone who made him feel like Luke does. It would be easy to say it’s just sexual compatibility, since Luke enjoys receiving pain almost as much as Hardy enjoys giving it (not that he’s tried finding the boy’s limits, just yet). They both enjoy musicals, they both very much enjoy the power dynamics between them — Hardy claims that he enjoys obedience, but what he most enjoys is making a bratty sub do what he’s told. And he enjoys the sex.

Luke has always had a thing for older men, the more dominant, the better. He wants to be manhandled, to have his defenses stripped down until he’s nothing but nerves and his head free of thoughts. He wants to feel the pain, to revel in it, and he thrives under praise. And Hardy delivers on all of this, with the added incentive of the forbidden romance. After all, if they were caught, it would mean Hardy’s job.

We learn that Luke had a prior sexual relationship with an older man who was a family friend. The book doesn’t go in details regarding Luke’s relationship with the then 42-year-old Alexander (who was there to hold Luke shortly after his birth), but Luke’s mother places the blame squarely on her son’s shoulder, claiming that Luke always gets his way. And Alexander, when speaking of it, claims that it was a love story between them and all at Luke’s instigation — also popping in, very quickly, how the age of consent in Texas is 17, so it wasn’t illegal. Added to that, Luke is no longer on track to replace his father as CEO of the family company, and his father has made it clear Luke is forbidden to go to the college he wants because it’s not in Texas where his father can keep an eye on him. However, the relationship between Hardy and Luke isn’t parental. Luke doesn’t want approval or a father figure. He wants a Dom, he wants someone who matches his energy and his passion in bed and out.

All of that said, for a book about the BDSM lifestyle, this book has a problem with consent. How many times does Hardy have to say no before someone listens to him? How many times does he have to make it clear he does not wish to compromise his morals and risk his job? His best friend is also a professor at the college, urging him to enter into this relationship — a relationship that he has said he does not want — that could cost him his job if it came out. It just struck a sour note with me. Forbidden relationships and teacher student romances (when both are of consenting ages) are always fun to read, and once Hardy gives in and does decide to take Luke as his sub, the relationship between the two of them as they get to know one another as people between the scenes is well written. It’s just that one note that rang sour, to me.

The writing is good, the characterization is strong, and the pace is solid. If this is something you’re interested in — pain centered BDSM and a BDSM lifestyle, not just sexual romps — I hope you enjoy it. However, the ending … the ending really didn’t work for me (not in a horrible way). But because it’s the end of the book, it’s going to be hidden behind a spoiler.

At the end,

Spoiler title
Hardy goes racing through an airport in a romcom declaration of love, calling out in front of a crowd of people that he, a professor at the local and prestigious university has been having a relationship with his student who he loves. If this book had been written pre-2000, or taken place before 9/11, I would still have cringed. But in today’s world, I find it hard to believe a man running through an international airport wouldn’t be tackled by security.
It’s just stretching reality too much for me.

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