Review: Becoming His Master (Neighborly Affection #4) by M.Q. Barber

From rescue to romance…

Teach a wounded submissive the value of his service. The task ought to be an easy one for an experienced dominant like Henry Webb. 

But novice Jay Kress challenges his teacher like no other. Still bearing the bruises of an encounter outside the bounds of safe consensual play, Jay is desperate to submit to the man who saved him—and shamed by his desires. 

Henry recognizes the dangers of a relationship built on hero worship. He’ll teach Jay how to stay safe, that’s all. He won’t take advantage of the younger man’s trust. He won’t share his fantasies about his dark-haired, athletic student. He’ll never claim this submissive for his own...

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Excellent hurt/comfort Glitterkink!

Barber is a new to me author and her writing is reminiscent of Kim Dare, an author close to my heart. I liked this so much that I looked back over the previous three books and realized this is a prequel. IF I can eek out the time I'm going to backtrack and read the others.

Jay and Henry are the centerpiece of this installment. Jay is a novice who's been through an ordeal with a problematic dom who ignored Jay's safe word. Henry is an established dom at this club, friends with the manager, Victor, and his wife, Emma, both of whom encourage Henry to take Jay under his wing. Jay is very eager to please and therefore reckless in his decisions, usually putting his needs/desires/wants secondary to his dom's. Henry's primary objective is to instill a sense of safety and a certain level of wariness in the two months they have before the traumatizing dom's suspension expires. The trouble is Henry is smitten and over the course of these two months he comes to the realization that seeing Jay with another dom would crush him. Henry's concern that Jay is hero worshipping him is the fly in the ointment and it's up to Jay to convince Henry of his devotion.

There isn't a lot of kink but the UST is sky high as is the steam. I would've enjoyed more sex but given Jay's recent trauma I respect that the author didn't jump into buttsex. There was a highly satisfactory frottage scene, though. Henry and Jay move very slowly and layer the tension for the reader. What I enjoyed most was Henry's attention to detail towards Jay; he's highly observant and intuitive and the way he cossets Jay resonated. I also enjoyed the way this club is depicted running the gamut from plushies to age play to sadomasochism and the fact that all are accepted regardless of kink or sexuality. Speaking of sexuality, both Henry and Jay are bisexual and there are girl bits in this, so be forewarned.

The secondary characters were a delight and I'd be interested in reading Will's story if that ever comes to pass. Another reason I'd like to backtrack with this series is to see how Jay progresses with impact play and bondage as his relationship develops with Henry.

My only quibble was Jay's behavior towards the end. I had a hard time believing Jay capable of all that mouthiness with his behavior up till that point. It was very jarring.

Recommend to fans of slow burn, UST, Kim Dare and hurt/comfort reads.

A review copy was provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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  1. My slutty side needs sex in a book, not always a lot but definitely some! Will think on this one as I have so many that I want to read first.