Review: Just the Right Notes by Sean Michael

2nd Edition

Elliot is an up-and-coming architect who just opened his own firm—which is a lot more work and pressure than he expected. His partner, Graham, is a respected composer and conductor. They share their love and lives in a beautiful house designed by Elliot, and whenever things get too hard to handle, they retreat to their cabin getaway where Elliot becomes Dom to Graham’s needy little sub.

When things at Elliot’s firm begin to crumble, Graham needs to be the tough one, the one to suggest the cabin and the games they play there, knowing Elliot’s role as Dom will give him strength and that their games will recharge his lover. Together, they keep working to find that precarious balance in their lives—until an accident threatens to change everything. Elliot and Graham’s love faces its greatest challenge yet, and only the resilience they draw from each other can see them through hardship and keep the music in their lives.

First Edition published by Torquere Press, 2010.

I love romance with an established couple.  Maybe because I have been in an established relationship/marriage for almost 16 years and simply love getting a couple that is still finding new ways with one another? I don’t know but I love reading about couples still falling in love with their partners, finding out new things about them or trying new things with them and seeing them work through their lives together. Romance for me isn’t just the meet, greet and trading first I love you's with the beginning of a relationship, it changes as the individuals change and grows into something deeper as the years spent together pass.

Elliott and Graham are a solid couple. Both men are professionals with Elliott being an architect and Graham a composer. They live a relatively modest life but when that life gets hectic, they have an escape to a cabin where they can let go, get down and reset. The cabin… goodness, wouldn’t I love a place outside of it all, the day to day where you could just go and deal with the stress laid upon you and come back to the grind of life fresh? Maybe I don’t need the BDSM play that Graham and Elliott do but it’s a comforting thought to think it could exist.

The story beings with Elliott arriving home to a very stressed out Graham who is trying to finish his opera. Seeing his partner in such a state, Elliott knows exactly what to do and wakes Graham to take him to the cabin. The cabin is where the couple play, where Elliott becomes the Dom to Graham’s sub and where Graham conveniently forgets to address his Dom and Sir.  I liked these moments between them at the cabin. They were sexy and fun with how they use their form of kink to unwind and recharge in every way. The cabin play isn’t just about de-stressing from life, it’s also a way for the couple to reconnect at the deepest level for them. It was sweet and intense each time they walk through those doors and assume their roles.

Now while I liked the cabin and what goes on there, I have to say this book has a lot of sex. Like a lot. Like so much that I skimmed some of it because I can only read so many scenes of fisting for our resident size queen and while I love declarations, there was far too much between these men that it lost all meaning to me. I get that they are devoted, they love one another and there will never be anyone else for either of them but, it was just too much.

And then when it was too much sex, we’d get more of a story that brought me back to the sweet side. As I mentioned before, I like established couples and when both Graham and Elliott have a hard time at work, the other is there for support in any way they can. When Graham goes on tour, I felt how much they missed one another. I myself have only been apart from my husband for a single week and I will admit to losing it at about night three and just wanting to come the fuck home so I get how much they could miss one another for the length of time they are apart.

While the first part of the story is life issues presented followed by a weekend of kinky non-stop sex at the cabin, the second half of the story is pretty emotional after Graham’s accident and all both men go through to make him well. Recovery of any kind a tough as hell road and I like that the author showed sweet Graham to have one hell of a bitchy side when it came to his. Elliott did all that he could to make his lover’s progress go as smooth as possible and was simply there with love and support. This couple really is lovely to read, even with all the sex going on.

At the end, I think this was a sweet story but for me, way too much sex in it. I like my sex but I need a palate cleanser to go along or at least a chance to breathe. Maybe it’s the author's style and we don’t mesh well? I am not sure but even after all of it, Graham and Elliott were worth the read.

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