Christmas is a time for goodwill to all, but Collars and Cuffs co-owner Thomas Williams receives an unexpected gift that chills him to the bone. A Dom from another Manchester club asks Thomas for his help rescuing an abused submissive, Peter Nicholson. Thomas takes in the young man as a favor to a friend, offering space and time to heal, but he makes it clear he’s never had a sub and doesn't want one. Peter finds Thomas’s home calm and peaceful, but his past has left him unwilling to trust another Dom. When Thomas doesn't behave as Peter expects, Peter’s nightmares begin to fade, and he decides he’d like to learn more about D/s life. A well-known trainer of submissives, Thomas begins to teach Peter, but as the new submissive opens up to him, Thomas finds he cares more for Peter than he should. Just as he decides it’s time to find a permanent Dom for Peter, they discover Peter’s tormentor is still very much a threat. With their lives in danger, Thomas can’t deny his feelings for Peter any longer. The question now becomes, can Peter make it out of the lions’ den alive, so that Thomas can tell his boy that he loves him?
This is about being broken in a way I can understand.
This is also about bdsm that I can understand. This is beautiful in many ways, but especially in the way where it tells me there is hope. There is always hope.
Thomas is a Dom, but he also a good, soft spoken and gentle man. Someone to lean on in a storm. Peter has been so broken by a self-proclaimed Dom, one who did not follow any rules—the very opposite of Thomas.
The slow putting-back-together of Peter is really beautiful. Thomas takes great care to be gentle, and for the first time ever, I see a Dom who cuts out the whole chapter of pain in a contract.
That has always been my one, big hangup with bdsm. I cannot take pain. And god knows Peter's already had his share of it. So it was so good to see how things can adapt around the actual players.
Finally, here, I can see the other ways of doing it, the submission, the flying, the respect, and yes, the love. It was simply magnificent. There is a fantastic description of subspace, and of aftercare, and of the feeling of showing how special someone is. Of saluting and respecting the one who gives up the control completely.
Simply fabulous. This? I can understand.
What had an unsound ring?
The mandatory leaking butthole. First, it's kind of crazy, anatomically (seriously, nothing comes out of my butthole unless I say so. I don't need to be a gay man to have had this kind of experience, so sue me, it doesn't happen). Second, I don't know why people always have to describe this, as if it were sexy. It's not. (Or, it's about as sexy as describing the whole washing that precedes the buttsexing, been there, done that. Oh, nobody writes about that, huh? For a Reason, people. For a Reason).
And then there is a whole part of the story about the bad guys, and it's (perhaps?) dealt with a little bit too easily for my taste, because seriously, someone with enough clout to have a whole police investigation of selling young boys into sexual slavery go away, isn't likely to get snared as fast as he was in this book. Then again, I hate angst, so there you go. For me, it was a definite plus!
The cover? Shall we talk about the cover? Yes, we shall. Ah, but why are there always headless torsos in m/m romance? Silly. Please, cease and desist, publishers. Nuff said.
To sum this all up: The story was beautiful. Peter very quickly turned into a special boy in my eyes, and Thomas? Oh, Thomas.
I feel I can lean my head against your shoulder, and just relax. Thank you.
I received a free ARC from the publisher, Dreamspinner Press. A positive review was not promised in return.
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