Review: Stroke Rate by L.M. Somerton

Lucien Thorne likes to be in control, but the boy he wants to own may take some convincing.

Gorgeous but shy, Benedict Astor does his best to keep a low profile at the rowing club where he works. However, unbeknown to Benedict, he has attracted the attention of Lucien Thorne, rowing aristocracy, an Olympic medallist and a Lord.

Whilst looking for a new rowing partner, Lucien believes he has found what he needs in Ben. He pushes him to his limits on the water and it becomes clear that rowing with the pretty young man is not his only interest. Ben is attracted to Lucien but confused about his feelings. Lucien is demanding, arrogant and dominant—which Benedict responds to even though he feels he should resist.

Fighting emotions he doesn’t understand, Ben has to contend with the bullying rowing club president and a humiliating auction of promises.

Lucien recognises Ben’s hidden submissive streak and makes his own need for control very clear. He bids for Ben’s time and then forces Ben to admit to his own desire to test the ground between them.

When the deeds to the boat club are gambled away, Lucien and Ben must work together to save it. Will their growing love survive the pressure, Ben’s uncertainty and Lucien’s desire to own him completely?

"Stroke Rate" by L.M. Somerton started strong and ended...less strong. There's kink galore in this novella with a Cinderfella feel. But a good story is not kink alone no matter fun toys Lucien takes to play. Lucien, Lord Thorne, is twenty-five years old, demanding, possessive, kinkily delicious and has his eyes set on shy, twenty-one year old English major, Ben. Ben works at the local rowing club as a maintenance man of sorts for free room and board on club grounds. He has a mean, pervy boss who comes up with demeaning tasks for him to perform. Ben puts up with this mistreatment because he has no other choice. So he cleans, goes to school and rows when he can find the time.

Lucien has been watching/ stalking Ben for six months and finally makes the first move by inviting Ben to be his stand-in rowing partner. Lucien is an Olympic rower, nobility, commanding and arrogant. (I have never read a bad Lucien in any book I've come across. It must be the luck of the name *shrugs*) Lucien takes over Ben, helps him find a undiscovered part of himself and never changed throughout the book.

Is it romantic? Yes, it is a insta-love story but with Lucien learning all there is to know about Ben months prior, it just came across as inevitable. Ben was a decent enough character, I like the shy ones and how kinky they can be with the right partner. But I am averaging out my rating to 3.5 Hearts because there were two separate parts that should be considered before reading this book.

The kink factor? 4 Hearts - Lucien loves his toys and to inflict pleasure filled pain. But it can only carry a story so far.(Can you believe I am saying this?)

Want a preview of most of the toys used? Internally Studded Chastity Device, Wartenberg Wheel, Studded Cock Strap, Riding Crop, Cuffs, Restraints, Nipple Clamps, Gag, Metal Ball Butt Plug [it's put in freezer]. I mean, Lucien, he likes to play especially if B&D and SM is involved. And who knew Ben was such a pain slut? But you see this brings me to an issue I have.

The story? 3 Hearts and I might be generous. There was not enough character development. There were a lot of kink filled scenes and little to no filler to connect them.Ben is virgin, he is pretty much consumed by Lucien, he takes over Ben's life. I have no objections to that but what I had a problem with is the spectacular first time and absolute acquiescence from Ben. He might have put up a weak reluctance at first but I knew who ran that show - Lucien. 1000% Maybe if there was a  scene with Ben fantasizing about being dominated prior to having Lucien insert himself into his life, I'd buy it. I barely bought the relationship...just barely.

And you know what else I found a smidge odd? Ben's professor and future boss was Lucien's former teacher/lover and the two discussed Ben before telling Ben pertinent things. And Lucien is super controlling you savvy? He doesn't want any man looking at Ben or touching. So when Ben is assaulted, what does Lucien do? Basically not that much. I thought he would have obliterated the guy but it felt like a hand slap, in my opinion.

I get not putting labels on relationships because if you and your partner have mutual respect, love and trust for one another, fuck it. But was this domestic discipline or D/s? It was an in between sort of mix. Ben never called or referred to Lucien as Master or a Dom but Lucien owned Ben's arse. He took over his life swiftly and smoothly and dealt out punishments like it was going out of style. I wish a side was chosen but *shrugs* it worked for Lucien. Ben too, I think he was just an afterthought at times.

Ben and Lucien...I guess it's a relationship made in kinky, sadomasochistic heaven. ;D

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