Review: Secret Funding (Secret Agreements #1) by S.M. May

Young, handsome, sometimes cruel. Noah Kress is a hardened broker, skilled enough to bring success to his company and determined to face the ever-growing challenges of the venture capital market. In his private life he is Master Noah, a very popular dominator at the Circle, one of the most exclusive private clubs in Boston. For him, at work as well as in the dungeon, people and events are just variables to be interpreted, numbers to be broken down, combinations to consider and evaluate. 

But when the latest, most difficult deal threatens to make his company sink without trace, his only chance seems to be the large investment fund managed by the mysterious Martin Scheer. And in order to provide credit, Martin demands a very special guarantee. 

For both of them it's just business. Yet, what was supposed to be a mere contract might just shatter the perfect surface of their lives. 
And will talented player Noah be willing to gamble following brand new rules? 

Due to m/m mature content, this book is recommended for an adult audience.

Lost in Translation

The concept of this book isn't bad and if you like foreign films this could work for you. I like some foreign films, but sometimes they get too obscure for me, too lost in the aesthetic. When they start focusing on how untethered balloons are a metaphor for life I check out. 

There are so many bizarre metaphors in this book that I just have to share a few.

Noah went stiff and tense like a piece of wood, like the violin he'd so often dreamed of playing. 
He stared at Scheer as if he was looking at a wrinkled palm tree among the desert's scorching dunes.
His recent exertions had brought out some small wrinkles around his eyes that Noah hadn't noticed before and that made Scheer look experienced in life but not old - like Gran Reserva brandy that had been left to decant in secret, becoming stronger and full-bodied.
...reality is nothing but a downpour of random variables; falling shooting stars that tremble and fade before you have the time to think about a wish.

My face nearly every time.

Neither one of these characters are likable and, I believe, that is by design. Noah is an arrogant "professional" dominator at The Circle. Seriously, I'm going to have to shorten this to 'dom' because dominator makes me think of an evil villain from a Bond movie with the ubiquitous lap Persian. He's very popular for reasons. I've no clue what those are because he seems exceedingly selfish, vain, narcissistic, lacks empathy, has a superiority complex and is absolutely horrified of being touched. AND he's a sucky dom!

Sounds super drool worthy don't he?

Mr. Personality is also a venture capitalist with a 60 million dollar deal that's about to go belly up when the mysterious Martin Scheer comes to his rescue with the money and an indecent proposal. Not an original concept but it's still got some tread on the tires, though I still don't understand what prompted him to step in and be the hero. Mine is not to question why, I guess.

Scheer is enigmatic, distinguished and Noah idolizes him mostly for his financial prowess, so he's not exactly averse to the offer despite the derogatory comments about his appearance and age to the contrary. But there's zero chemistry between them. That coupled with the abundance of financial talk which no doubt was some sort of overarching metaphor about how greed and the ├╝ber rich are corrupting the U.S. financial industry while bankrupting their souls and by extension Americans, but...


Their relationship, if you can call it that, is just as bizarre and dramatic as those metaphors. I think there was an attempt at some character development by making them both prickly and with the 'horrified by being touched thing' with Noah, but it's like that was never even mentioned when the two get together and I found that difficult to buy. They're both supposedly "dominant" but the kink between the two is non-existent and what occurs in The Circle prior to their arrangement was awkward, contrived and not at all titillating. Noah comes across as an overgrown petulant child with the depth of a cesspool and he's 37! going on 12, so, I guess, apropos. But still. Not attractive or interesting.

The abundance of pretentious minutiae I found to be a poor substitute for world building. I really don't care that they only dine at Michelin starred restaurants, drink wine that's aged to perfection or wear Versace suits and Philip Patek watches. I don't need to know how to savor wine or that the purpling sky is portentous. They are pretty metaphorical words but they don't advance the relationship or the storyline nor did they draw me in to this story or this couple.

I'll leave you with this quote and if anyone can decipher it... good on you! I've read it close to 20 times and still... bupkis.

"Even an empty box can be useful." Scheer walked toward the lifts leading to the upper floors. "It reminds people I'm interested in that I exist, even though I'm not there."
*wut wut*

Not my favorite but I didn't hate it.

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

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