Review: Silver Scars by Posy Roberts

You need people to love you, especially when you shove them away.

A bomb destroyed high-powered lawyer Gil Lemieux’s seemingly perfect life, and PTSD has ruled every decision since the explosion that left him scarred inside and outside. Moving home with his mom is meant to be a temporary measure, just like proofreading for a medical editorial firm is meant to be a stopgap. But two years after taking on the wrong court case, he’s still living in fear.

Keith Kramer might be based 1,500 miles away from Gil, but their shared work brings them together—a chance meeting that’s life-changing. Gil is drawn to Keith’s good looks and intelligence, but it’s his innate understanding that Gil is more than the scars on his skin that is truly attractive. He’s everything Gil used to be and more. It blows Gil’s mind that his attraction might be returned.

Only doubt could widen the distance between them. Keith’s hopefulness, borne out of surviving some tough challenges of his own, isn’t enough to bridge the distance alone. Gil will need to believe he has as much to offer as Keith if they’re to build a life together.

Gil's story is heartbreaking really, and tells tale of just how fragile life is. Not just in the live or die way, but in the way that, as humans,we think we know where our life is going. We have a plan, we've done the schooling, got the job, the house, the family, the whatever it is we've strived for (or we're in the midst of doing said things) and we rarely anticipate how easily it can all be snatched away.

We see daily on the news disasters happening, but they are something that happens to other people. In Silver Scars Gil becomes that 'other' person, the one on the news. It could have been a flood, a gas explosion, a house fire...any number of things, for Gil though it was someone he'd pissed off in his job as a lawyer and a homemade bomb. That he got away with his life is barely comforting when that life is so compromised by PTSD that he finds it hard to leave his house. Well, his mom's house, despite living alone for numerous years, that is out of the question now.

Everyday is a struggle for Gil. He gives himself challenges - sometimes he meets them, other times he doesn't. When he makes it a cross country on board a plane alone for work, he is rightly proud of himself. It's hard, he feels judged as people look at the scars the bomb left him with. Obvious and ugly and god, please don't ask about them. And some do, some don't, some stare, others ignore...

Keith pays no attention to them whatsoever. Thank fuck. Because Keith is doing things to Gil's libido that he hasn't felt since before the bomb. Keith is gorgeous and friendly and makes Gil laugh. He also makes him feel at ease. Shame he's so ostentatious and flashy, with his carved cane fashion accessory.

Except he isn't. Keith understands all too well the pain of recreating your life.

I loved how both of these characters found each other. Two people with their own battle scars, physical and mental. Seen and unseen. I liked the understanding and empathy they had for each other and the way they worked to build a life together - despite there being as many downs as ups in their relationship. That is, after all, the way of life. It's not what you have to face much of the time but how you face it, and that is a really strong message in this story. 

This story, despite the content of PDST and trauma, actually felt very happy and positive. Sure, both characters had days when they weren't coping well, when they were dealing with the shit life threw at them, but overall I found that the love story over rode those moments. It gave both Gil and Keith something to hope for, to trust in - it gave them strength. They didn't fight each others battles, that would not be possible, but they gave each other the strength to fight their own.  And that is an amazing thing.

A really enjoyable story. 

A copy of the story was given in exchange for an honest review.
For more information see Goodreads.

Review: Corporal Domination by Cassandra Dayne

Dominating a powerful man isn’t easy… 

Sometimes corporal punishment is needed 

Kade Thompson is sick and tired of working sixty-plus hours a week. After all, he’s only an accountant, not a surgeon. For many he’s considered powerful and a sought-after catch, yet he hasn’t obtained all he hungers for. However, earning a six-figure income has allowed him to indulge in his every desire, including toys and rather kinky bouts of sin. He also enjoys an on-again, off-again push-and-shove relationship with his boss, Trevor Willis. While the sex is passionate, he craves being dominated by the six foot six god, but Trevor doesn’t seem interested. Tired of playing games, he’s ready to break off their relationship until an invitation to meet for a drink at The Peeping Hole—a mysterious and very exclusive club—has him more than curious. 

When he finds out the club offers every aspect of kink, he’s breathless with excitement. As Kade waits for Trevor’s arrival, he’s given an offer he can’t refuse and one that might sate his every craving—if he will submit to the man behind the mask. Unfortunately what goes on behind the hallowed doors is required to stay a sensuous mystery. But can they keep up their end of the bargain and one forged in a touch of black magic? Only Alexander knows. Ssshhh… No peeping. 

I am Alexander—a teacher, a scoundrel, a voyeur and a true entrepreneur. In my world there’s little left to the imagination. That is if you dare to taste what only I can offer. Welcome to The Peeping Hole, where every fantasy you’ve ever desired will come true. Leave your inhibitions at the door and join us. But you must remember, whatever happens here stays here, and trust me, I will know…

Look at that blurb. Just look at it! I thought for sure this would, at minimum, be good.

*kicks rocks*

My luck with the kinky reads lately has been less that stellar.

Nothing worked for me. N-O-T-H-I-N-G! 

I thought there might a little dub-con. There were some questionable practices but nary a dub-con in sight.

I thought there would be some kink, possibly hardcore kink. All I got was glitterkink.

Glitterkink that didn't make a lick of sense! 

Apologies for the spoilers that lie ahead.

This novella is less than 50 pgs and I spent well over half of those pages looking like I got a shot of novocaine and the rest cocking my head from side to side. 

Confuzzlement #1:

I was under the impression that Kade had a history of submitting. Nope. He just wants to try submission. Ok, I get it. I don't get why he's on the cusp of breaking up with Trevor because Trevor won't "give him what he needs". Wouldn't most people wad into the kink pool with their partner to see if they like it? I mean, who can't get their partner to try a little bondage? A blindfold? A little spanking? And if your relationship is that tenuous why wouldn't you check out the local BDSM scene on your own? 

Confuzzlement #2:

Why would you experiment with kink without your partner? Who you're supposedly doing all this for? Trevor instead undertakes dom training IN SECRET for a couple months to the detriment of his relationship with Kade. It's murky as to whether or not Trevor's even interested in kink period much less becoming a dom. It seems a lot like begrudgingly undertaken endeavor which bodes well for their future, doesn't it?

Confuzzlement #3:

Trevor arranges for Kade to undergo "training" at the super secret club and agrees to have random "doms" fuck his boyfriend bareback because they've been tested. Allegedly. Nothing says I love you like a bareback ménage with a dude named Razor, I guess.

Confuzzlement #4:

Trevor's undergone secret dom training for the last 2(ish) months and this qualifies him to train Kade in becoming a slave? Talk about the blind leading the blind. Also, Kade went from wanting to try submission to being a slave? This brings a whole new meaning to the phrase 'speed of light'. 

Confuzzlement #5:

Why did Trevor feel the need to get a giant dragon tattoo on his chest? Is this his idea of the dom equivalent of a Superman symbol? Furthermore, why keep it a secret?


*brain explodes from an excessive confuzzlements*

The writing is juvenile. The dialogue is stilted. The kink is uninspired. The sex... *sigh* you know those Post-It "story" books with the stick figures boinking? The sex was slightly less arousing than that. The characters, aside from not making a lick of sense in their decision making, are unlikable and flat. There's zero character development and the vapid attempts at it were rife with the usual isolated millionaire who's bossy and misunderstood. Y'know the standard cliches that are de rigueur. There was a meager attempt to add some depth by making Trevor an ex NFL player who's largely closeted and black with Kade as the white boy who lurves sucking on his monster cock for daysIF Trevor had been the submissive this could've been a whole different review, but traditional size roles were maintained much to my dismay. 

The ending with hint of magicians/warlocks read tacked on and hokey, but, I guess, it lends credence to the club's motto of... 

Or else!

p.s. The cock is not a muscle. Just FYI.

It should go without saying that I'm not recommending this or at least it should.

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

Find out more on Goodreads.

Review: In the Middle of Somewhere by Roan Parrish

DANIEL MULLIGAN is tough, snarky, and tattooed, hiding his self-consciousness behind sarcasm. Daniel has never fit in—not at home with his auto mechanic father and brothers, and not at school where his Ivy League classmates look down on him. Now, Daniel’s relieved to have a job at a small college in Northern Michigan, but, a city boy through and through, when Daniel arrives in Holiday, Michigan, it’s clear that this small town is one more place he just won’t fit in.

REX VALE clings to routine to keep loneliness at bay: honing his large, muscular body until it can handle anything, perfecting his recipes, and making custom furniture. Rex has lived in Holiday for years, but his shyness and imposing size have kept him from connecting with people. Though he loves the quiet and solitude of his little cabin in the woods, Rex can’t help but want someone to share it with.

When Daniel arrives in Holiday, they are smitten with each other, but though the sex is intense and explosive, Rex fears that Daniel will be one more in a long line of people to leave him, and Daniel has learned that letting anyone in could be a fatal weakness. Just as they begin to break down the walls that have been keeping them apart, Daniel is called home to Philadelphia where a secret is revealed that changes the way he understands everything.

Can a scrappy professor, an intense carpenter, and a stray dog make a go of it in their cabin in the woods? Sometimes, you have to go to the middle of nowhere to end up exactly where you want to be.

I have to be honest - if you stick a snowy scene on the cover of a book, especially a log cabin in a snow covered forest, the chances are I'm going to read the story, whether I've read the blurb or not. It 's like Russian roulette with books (whaddya mean I need to get out more?) - sometimes the story is great, sometimes not so much. This one I really enjoyed though.

Parrish tells us the story of two people who don't quite fit the mould. Daniel sees himself as not quite worthy of the teaching position he holds, his background is not a family of academics, but of manual workers. He always felt like a square peg in a round hole at home, but going to university didn't change that. He still felt like the odd one out. He spends his whole life trying to fit. To be comfortable with himself and who he is. Don't be mistaken into thinking this means he is an apologetic excuse for a human, because he really isn't. He's just never quite found where he belongs.

Rex is in a similar situation. He has a secret he is ashamed of and builds up defences around himself to counteract this. He is very protective by nature and wants to look after Daniel. Something Daniel is not used to and it makes him feel a bit useless.

I like the fact that, despite their differences, it was their similarities that brought them together. Roan Parrish developed these characters really well and they are the starting point of the whole story. I like how problems were resolved and the characterisations developed as the story went on.

This kind of book is like a hot chocolate to me. Sometimes it's the only thing that'll hit the spot. I thoroughly enjoyed it, the setting, characters and storyline were all fantastic. I'm certainly going to look out for more by this author.
A copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review.
For more information, check out Goodreads.

Review: Absolution (Sinful Temptation #2) by E.M. Leya and Nicole Colville

Although this is book two in the collection, it can be read as a standalone or the first in the series.

For most of his adult life, Jon dedicated his life to the church, finding solace in helping others, but there has always been something missing. Up until now, he's been able to push that aside and move forward, letting everyone think he's happy and doing what he loves.

Ash doesn't want to continue with life. Left behind to live a cold and empty life after his partner died in a tragic accident, he doesn't see any future for himself. He goes through the motions of living, but inside he’s ready to give up. All that's left behind is the anger and hurt he has inside him.

Finding comfort in each other's company, the two men struggle with emotions, guilt and fears about the future. Confiding only in each other, they grow closer, both denying the bond building between them, and a past that won't let them move on.

Jon has been a priest for years now and is seemingly happy. He has doubts and fears and uncertainty, but he's keeping all that locked up tight inside. What else can he do? He doesn't know anything besides what inside the church walls.

At his close friends wedding, he meets Ash. Ash who is drowning in sadness and guilt. The loss of his partner is tearing him up and he's doing nothing to stop it. He's running from his sorrow and plans to continue. Until a photography job at the church comes up and he decides to stay put for a bit. 

Ash and Jon work together for this project and start to become friends. Ash places one term on their friendship, no talk of his late partner. Though Ash was obviously struggling, Jon was, too. He was stuck in a rut. He's dedicated his entire life to the church and really doesn't give himself any room to breathe.
"You're human, Jon. No one expect you to be perfect. You have needs, desires, wants and craving just like the rest of us. Just because you wear that collar doesn't make you immune to everything. Give yourself a break, and by that, I mean a real break. Take a few hours for yourself every now and then."
Ash really helped Jon come to terms with his own unhappiness. He pushed Jon out of his comfort zone and showed him what it means to live.
"Sure enough, there was Jon, but not the Jon Ash had spent the last three weeks with. This Jon... this Jon he actually saw."
During all this self-realization, there was no negativity towards his priesthood or the church. Jon had no regrets, just some soul searching. His faith never wavered and I liked that it stayed strong throughout. Jon is a man of God through and through. He's good and kind and selfless. I loved him from the beginning.

He and Ash healed each other and were strong for each other. I simply adored their romance. It was just lovely. The way their working relationship grew into friendship was so natural. And once that was established there was so much tension between them. They knew it was there, but what could they do? Jon was a priest! And Ash was still in love with someone else. What a mess. What an angsty, delicious mess. 

They were very open about their feelings. There were no misread signals or misunderstandings. They pretty much knew where the other stood and that was refreshing. At about the halfway mark, I was expecting this to be a solid 4.5 (maybe even 5) read. But then I found there to be too much talking. Too much openness. How many times did they need to talk about their feelings? About Jon's priesthood and Ash's partner? There's really only so much you can say. So they had the same discussion over and over. I was so bummed with the redundancy because I was enjoying the first half so much. Not only did I get bored with the same conversation, but it didn't read like two guys to me. There was no need for over 400 kindle pages. The talking and talking and talking didn't do anything to move the story forward.

Regardless, I really loved Jon and Ash. I won't be forgetting them anytime soon.

A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Where There's Smoke (Panopolis #1) by Cari Z.

Panopolis is a rough place to be an average Joe. I came here looking for adventure and excitement, but nobody cares about one more normal guy in a city filled with super-powered heroes. The closest I’ve come to glory is working in a bank that villains often rob.

But then I maybe accidentally-on-purpose helped a villain escape the hero who was trying to save the day. Imagine my shock when, a week later, that villain asked me out for coffee. One date turned into more, and now I’m head over heels in love with Raul.

Falling in love with the guy dubbed the Mad Bombardier isn’t without its downsides, though. I’ve had to deal with near-death encounters with other villains, awkwardly flirtatious heroes who won’t take no for an answer, and a lover I’m not sure I can trust. It’s getting to the point where I know I’ll have to make a choice: side with the heroes, or stand fast by my villain.

Either way, I think my days as a normal guy are over.

I picked this up on a lark after reading Cari's LOR story, 

I am not disappointed in my purchase.

Where There's Smoke is a great start to a series. Ordinarily, I don't like serials but every once in a while one comes along that I can't resist sinking my teeth into.

This was one of those times.

Where There's Smoke takes place in the fictional city of Panopolis which sounds a lot like Gotham with corrupt politicians who have, possibly (probably), sinister intents. 

Who are the good guys? The Heroes or the Villains or does the truth lie somewhere in between? Could it be that they're all just pawns in a grand, Machiavellian agenda to maintain the status quo and keep the city of Panopolis in the dark as to what's really happening? My money's on SuperTruther, the subversive radio show host, playing a role.

All of these governmental machinations are the backdrop to a burgeoning love story between Edward and Raul. Raul, a Basque Villain, who's been given the moniker of the Mad Bombardier, sets his sights on Edward while casing his bank. Coffee leads to more and more and more and then... 

We hadn't done this often, fucking each other after one of us was spent, but tonight I welcomed it. I wanted to show him I was for him, just for him, that he could take what he needed from me.

It ain't easy dating a Villain. All his villainous friends and those pesky Heroes try to stand in the way of their love, namely Freight Train, Hero and, as I've dubbed him, White Bread. Man, is he boring. Jesus, Mary and Joseph! He's the walking incantation of watching paint dry. Plus, he pretty much lives with his meddling "Memaw", Edward's neighbor, and is always lurking. Weirdo.

I don't always love the villains or anti-heroes. I admit I do lurve me some Batman, but more Dark Knight Batman than Michael Keaton Batman, so kinda edgy. I didn't know if I was coming or going in The Dark Knight Rises because... 

Tom Hardy could be the hero, the villain, the crazy train, hell, he could have multiple personalities and I'd still be down! Because Tom Hardy. 

But, I do really like Raul. He my kind of crazy. That thing with Pinball was fucked up and nasty and horrid and fantastic and kinda sweet, actually. I totally understand why Edward's got it bad for him.

Writing is... it's Cari Z.! If you haven't read anything by her, you're only hurting yourself.

Highly recommend and will be on pins and needles for the next installment which releases 7/13!!!!!!!!


Find out more on Goodreads.

Unicorn Favourites: Love in an Open Road Stories: Week Four.

The M/M Romance Group on Goodreads hosts a Don't Read in the Closet event each year where they invite members to submit a photo with a story prompt. Interested authors then volunteer to write the requested stories, which are published for free for everyone to read. It's a fun/exciting/stressful process, and a great opportunity to read stories from favourite authors. And chances are, you'll also discover some new authors, who hopefully have a back-list of goodies to check out :)

This year's event was named Love is an Open Road and they started releasing the completed stories on June first. Here at BMBR, we've been following along on comment threads, anticipating the stories from our favourite prompts, and now greedily reading the stories as they become available.

OptimistKingsWench: Moondrop by Katey Hawthorne


This hurt/comfort little gumdrop of squishy goodness is... just so damn feel good!

Dylan thought he'd be with his HS sweetheart forever. They had the American dream-house with a white picket fence, cute dog, good jobs. They were happy. Weren't they? Dylan thought so until Eamon came home one day and said it wasn't working then moved to Ohio with a guy he met at work, leaving Dylan with a mortgage he couldn't afford on a HS teacher's salary and a broken heart.

At least the SOB left the dog. 

Dylan and Bender, the golden retriever, down size and Dylan exists over the next 3 yrs. He's got great friends who also make humorous secondary characters, Jack and Maggie. 

Jack and Maggie talk Dylan into seeing some indie bands and Metropol where he meets Eli, the "roadie" for Mei Long; his brother's band.

Eli is easy going, laid back, but he see Dylan and he has a purpose. He's not pushy or overbearing. He just knows. He doesn't go declaring his LUB, but they make plans and keep making plans and spending increasing amounts of time together, getting to know each other, talking about everything and, yes, having some sexy times. All of it felt so organic. 

No stilted dialogue. No awkwardness. Just good relationship development that I settled into with a glass of iced tea and just enjoyed the ride. I particularly enjoyed the addition of Chinese folklore. That was a nice touch.

There are a few tell tale signs that Eli may not be your average human, but the truth doesn't come out until circumstances force it to the fore. I also am truly grateful that there was no melodramatic antics. Dylan doesn't freak out or make a big production. He just needs to think on it because dragons bond forever.

"“What do you want?” Dylan asked.
“You,” Eli said. “It’s always been you.”"

I do wish there was more dragon-ness, but SO MANY SQUISHY FEELS!!!!!!

AND A DRAGON!!!!!!!!

Thanks to the author and her team for participating in the LOR event. 


SheReadsALot: Atle's Saga by Kit Edwards and Lifeboat by Rob Colton 

Just drop everything and read this, okay?

Need convincing?

Olof is the young prince and sole heir of Funir. His father Christian King Sigurd is a lazy tyrannical bastard who wants the neighboring land, Granbyr. The land is ruled by Jarl Atle, viking warrior and considered a heathen to the Christian king. But the people of Funir love Atle and for good reason.

He thinks with his head and doesn't lash out for greed. He gives tot the people, a Robin Hood of sorts. An approaching Danish army makes the king call a truce since he doesn't have the manpower to fight...and neither does Atle's people. The king sends his son to fight and hides in his cushy kingdom. Olof knew who he was...or so he thought until he met Atle face to face.

"And shall I tell you something else? Girls and boys are not so different from each other. You know the way a girl looks away and pretends she doesn't know you're watching her? When you can tell that although her eyes are on something, anything else, her mind is only on you?"


"Boy's do the exact same thing. As do men," Atle added. "And it's beautiful."

Atle picks up on the need inside of Olof. The prince wants to be taken and wants Atle inside him. But the young prince, he struggles with his desires internally. Should he follow what he's been taught? That is wrong to lay with another man?

Atle's seduction of this kid? 


I love when the main character takes their time and nudges the other character to realize where their desires lie.

Every sex scene was awesome but the butt virgin deflowering? I'm still grinning. Nothing better than two warriors fucking like warriors. Hard, rough, thrusting....desperate needing. And someone's a bit of a power bottom. *growls*

And you know what was equally as good as the sex?

Each time a sword sliced or axe beheaded. These aren't soft men and the author went full throttle without going overboard. Did my blood-lusty reader's heart good to read every one. The twists and turns! And the final twist? Totally didn't see it coming. So happy with the outcome. 

A joy to experience the full potential of this prompt and then some!

Rob Colton is a god of delivering delicious bear romances. (Okay there wasn't a bear tag for "Lifeboat" but I pictured both main characters to be bears. ;P)

Sci-fi reunited lovers with a light touch of inner turmoil for not saying the big 'ILY' in time because you still have your head stuck in your ass? Who knew he could get that from this prompt and pic?

Loved it! 

In less than 7K, Colton packs a punch. Charles aka "Chuck" is a space engineer who is in a relationship with his boss, Sergeant Jack. Chuck likes to keep their relationship a secret. Who knew that a matter of life and death help him realize what he always knew? It touch a smack (a serious one) on his noggin to make it all clear. 

I loved the hallucinations. I loved the reunion. *growls*

Wish there was more (of course). But for what was given, the story does its job and more! Even if it's science fiction. 

I'll review properly when it's not 3.47am...but this made me laugh hard. Given that one mc is a complete bastard, and one is a wet noodle, the fact that I really enjoyed this tells me the author has skills!

Thirty-two hours later...
Still chuckling!

This story shouldn't have worked. As I said the MC, Maris, whose POV this story is written from, is a complete doormat. I wouldn't have been surprised to look at him and see WELCOME written on his forehead. The other MC, Jonathan, is a complete and utter arse-hole. Like, seriously, the man is mean.

As the readers, we are able to see just how much Jonathan is stringing Maris along. We know from page one that the outcome is not going to be pretty, at least for a start. It is blatantly obvious. All of this should have turned me off, made me put down the book - yet I continued to read at stupid o'clock in the morning.


Because this story was hilarious. I swear I thought I was going to wake the rest of the household up as I read.

I can't help comparing Maris and Jonathan to Baldrick and Blackadder.

The relationship for most of the story was pretty much the same. Let's face it, Blackadder is a pompous arse, and Baldrick is as thick as shit. Yet I still love them. There is no way I'm turning over the channel once Blackadder starts showing.

It may not be quite what the prompter was after, I'd never have seen the prompt going in this direction. I thought I'd be disappointed with not getting a hot 'n' steamy office encounter. However, I can't deny I loved Alp Mortal's interpretation of this prompt...even if it did interrupt my sleep!

I loved, loved, loved this story. It was pretty much all of my favourite things in one short, sweet package.

Though technically Wiley is David's brother, Derek's, best friend, he has been a family friend for so long that he's good friends with David too. So, basically, I'm counting this as friends-to-lovers - which floats my boat.

It had it all, yearning, feelings, hot 'n' sexy times and oh-so-yummy romantic moments. The whole kit 'n' caboodle of what I want to read in a short story was found in these pages. Perfect!

*** All stories are available for download at***

Review: Training Complex by Leta Blake

Buckle up – Matty’s back!

Figure skater Matty Marcus didn't capture Olympic gold, but he won rancher Rob Lovely's heart.

After Rob sold his ranch and Matty hung up his skates, they started a new life together in New York City. Now Matty has taken on a fresh challenge as a figure skating coach, and Rob's second career as a physical therapist should be everything he's dreamed of. But in the brutal heat of their third summer in the city, Rob yearns for the wide-open country, and the intensity of city life awakens Matty’s demons.

Matty asks for increasingly intense BDSM scenes, and his disordered eating and erratic behavior ramp up the stakes. Rob struggles to stay in control, and after a well-intentioned anniversary gift goes awry, he still thinks he can handle the fallout. But the concrete jungle is closing in and his coping skills are unraveling.

Their love is deep, but Rob will have to admit the truth about what he really wants before they both tumble into chaos.

My apologies to Ms. Blake but I'm not going to rate this. This is on me. I have an annoying habit of not reading blurbs and... I should've read the blurb. If I'd read the blurb I would've known where this was heading and I wouldn't have requested it. Instead I was presumptuous and assumed the conflict would be NYC vs. Montana and it was, but not entirely.

The fact of the matter is this book was a chore for me. I forced myself to read it and it exhausted me because it felt like work. I don't know about you but when I get free time I don't want to think about work. I want to get as far away from work as possible. This brought work home.

Matty is... a train wreck. He's got serious mental health issues that need professional attention. I realize he and Rob are in financial straits but I cannot believe there are no resources available in NYC. But, apparently, there aren't and they are trying to handle his mental illness using BDSM which is a trope I'm not fond of. BDSM is not a cure all. I understand wanting/needing a scene occasionally to get out of your own head, but it's not a viable treatment modality for mental illness. 

What's more, the onus of this "treatment" falls on Rob's shoulders and it exhausts him. Matty is a leach, always pushing, always taking and Rob is always giving. Their relationship is dysfunctional and codependent with the power firmly held by Matty. I'm sure this hella fucked up relationship was created by design for dramatic effect, but I much prefer reading books featuring mutually beneficial relationships or at least for the most part.  

I couldn't even get into the kink and there's good kink here! Me! I skimmed kink! Look outside your window because it's entirely possible pigs are flying. My discomfort did plateau about three-quarter's of the way through, but I still feel like it's a gross misuse of BDSM and, mostly, I just pitied them. They made me sad. 

Kudos to Ms. Blake on the characterizations and obvious research she did into mental illness. I continue to have issues with the writing style. It devolves into minutiae that doesn't advance the story in meaningful ways. My chief complaint about Training Season was its propensity to take a point and drive it into the ground over and over again. As a reader, I don't need to be told something repeatedly especially not when it involves these topics. It could've been trimmed (conservatively) by at least a fourth. If you make your words count for something the first time, you don't have to go down the Parrot Express and treat readers like preschoolers. See how annoying that was? 

It wasn't all dour. There were moments of levity and bright spots and an HEA and somehow the mental illness got magically fixed by, I guess, a combination of BDSM, a Come to Jesus fight with Rob, a self help book and a newfound friendship with a slave. I wish I'd read the blurb.

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

Find out more on Goodreads.

Review: Mastering Love (The Hampton Road Club #4) by Morticia Knight

Evan sees a Master who could be his whole world and Ned sees a beautiful boy in need. But shattered trust and broken hearts could keep them apart forever.

Evan landed on his ex-Master’s doorstep after Master Gabriel dumped him for a virgin. He’d hoped Thomas would take him back, but he’s moved on with his new submissive, Linus. Evan has nowhere to go and barely a penny to his name. Fortunately, Master Aaron and his boy, Sam, invite him to stay at their guesthouse. Alone and abandoned, Evan aches for a Master who can give him more—if only he knew what ‘more’ meant.

Master Ned has finally decided to settle down in one place after traveling on the road for years. He’s always loved the Hampton Road Club—it’s a private sanctuary for men such as himself. The roaring twenties might be freer than ever, but the decadence of the sadomasochistic club could put its members in danger if they’re not discreet.

Ned’s on the lookout for an untried boy who’s ready to fully submit to him on a daily basis. In return, he plans to train and care for his submissive. If he can also find love, then his life will be perfect.

After Evan is introduced to Ned at the club, they have an intense encounter that catches them both by surprise. What should lead to a possible future for them as Master and submissive is destroyed when Ned mysteriously casts Evan aside. Evan wonders if he’ll ever be good enough to keep a Master, and Ned fears he may have lost the best thing that ever happened to him.

Shattered trust and broken hearts have to be repaired before Evan and Ned can find their way to each other—if it’s not already too late.

I'm so, so happy Evan got the HEA he deserved.

In The Fear of Surrender, Evan was barely likeable as he tried to throw himself at Thomas after leaving him. But even as he was trying to win back his old Master, it was obvious that he was only wanting to get his life sorted again.

After leaving Thomas, Even left to be with Master Gabriel, thinking he was moving onto greener pastures. Only to find out that Gabriel decided he wanted a young virgin instead of a used sub. So this left Evan on his own. He was welcomed in by Aaron and Sam while he figured out what he was to do next.

In town to stay and new to the club, Master Ned is on the lookout for a boy to take care of. He and Evan have a hot night together and prove that they are not only sexy, but really compatible together. But Ned doesn't want Even for keeps. Why? Because he wants a new-to-the-scene boy. One he can tailor to his needs. Now this pissed me off. Really, dude? What a dick move.

But! I ended up totally loving Evan. He wasn't going to be walked all over. What I liked most about him was that he's different than the other subs we've met in this series. Yes, he loves to be taken care of and to please, but he's also going to push. He's not a doormat, not even for Ned.

Of course, I ended up really liking Ned. He realized his idiotness, and made a sweet grand gesture to win over Evan. I loved it and it spoke volumes of the kind of person Ned really is, even if he wasn't thinking straight for a bit.

Another great installment to this series. As always, I love the 1920s setting and the recurrences of past characters. I'm ready for book 5 now!

A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.