Monday, May 25, 2015

ARC Review: For Real by Alexis Hall

Laurence Dalziel is worn down and washed up, and for him, the BDSM scene is all played out. Six years on from his last relationship, he’s pushing forty and tired of going through the motions of submission.

Then he meets Toby Finch. Nineteen years old. Fearless, fierce, and vulnerable. Everything Laurie can’t remember being.

Toby doesn’t know who he wants to be or what he wants to do. But he knows, with all the certainty of youth, that he wants Laurie. He wants him on his knees. He wants to make him hurt, he wants to make him beg, he wants to make him fall in love.

The problem is, while Laurie will surrender his body, he won’t surrender his heart. Because Toby is too young, too intense, too easy to hurt. And what they have—no matter how right it feels—can’t last. It can’t mean anything.

It can’t be real.

Dani's rating:

Nearly 500 pages of brilliant, thoughtful writing.

But his [cock] I could be kind of obsessed with. It's really ... beautiful, all strong and straining, needy and aggressive at the same time, and sheathed in gleaming skin, with these drops of moisture crowning the tip, like tiny perfect opals ... they'd taste of heat and salt and tears and him.

And that is the most delicious description of a cock. EVER.

Another reviewer called this book "subversive, clever, and full of surprises."

I concur.

Laurie's friends call 19-year-old Toby "a fetus."

Toby is young, skinny, a little awkward, plagued by occasional acne. But he's not naive. Well, maybe he's a little naive, but he's willing to push his own boundaries, to explore. He's a gentle sadist, and he just wants a man to drop to his knees.

Laurie does just that in a moment of impetuousness, but he's all kinds of hung up on his past long-term relationship (which, incidentally, ended six years prior) and on the 18-year age difference between himself and Toby.

Laurie lives in his head. He crowds his feelings and drowns in his work as a emergency care physician.

The book is very much relationship focused. It's kinky and sexy and British.

Because we are privy to both Toby and Laurie's perspective, we're aware of their insecurities and fears. Toby wants MORE from Laurie, but Laurie is a closed book.

The two men do much talking, negotiating, learning, and thinking.

For Real is all about the DANCE.

BDSM isn't all dungeons and leather and whips. It's vulnerability, spreading yourself open, pushing, taking, giving.

It's about tears. And hurts. And jealousy. And love.

[W]e put our arms around each other again. I lead and Laurie follows ... and there's moonlight, and we dance and dance and dance until we fly and my heart is so zing, I can't even.

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Thanks for stopping by; happy reading!

An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Download links are provided as a courtesy and do not constitute an endorsement of or affiliation with the book, author, publisher, or website listed.


  1. Yay, I'm so excited for this book! Pre-ordered it ages ago on the Riptide website, so I should have it this weekend :-)

  2. This book is well worth the wait!


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