Review: Just Here for the Pain (The Underdogs #2) by K.A. Merikan

---. Whips and chains - not optional .---

Sid. Drummer for The Underdogs. Secretly yearning for pain and submission.

Asher. AKA Stan. Stalker. More than meets the eye.

It’s hard to find good hookups while on tour. Sid wants pain, humiliation, and the kind of sex that isn’t easy to get from one-night stands. So for now, he’s given up, settled for an online Dom to get his rocks off, and focused on his band instead. The Underdogs are getting increasingly popular, but there is one fan who has followed Sid since before he even joined the band, and he’s driving Sid mad! Rich, spoiled hipster brat looking for the bad boy experience. If he knew what Sid was really into, he would run for the hills.

Asher is convinced that Sid is The One, his One True Love, his endgame. Years ago, Asher lost his virginity to Sid, and from that moment on, he knew it was meant to be. They had a spark, that honest connection that couldn’t be faked. The members of Sid’s band call him a stalker, but all he wants is to offer Sid his love. When Sid finally chokes out what he wants, Asher is more than ready to unleash it on him.

But the last time Sid was out as gay and submissive, he got badly burnt when his former band kicked him out, and the doors to many opportunities slammed in his face. Asher wants the whole world to know that he’s dating Sid. Problem is, Sid would much rather keep the relationship as pain-with-benefits. 

POSSIBLE SPOILERS: Themes: rock band, alternative lifestyles, tattoos, BDSM, commitment, family issues, coming out, life on tour, friends with benefits become something more, first love , stalking, fanboy Genre: Contemporary M/M Rocker Romance Heat level: Scorching hot, explicit BDSM scenes Length: ~90,000 words (Can be read as standalone, HEA)

I, too, just came for the pain and the pain did #TeamPain proud. Just look at this list!

  • humiliation
  • spanking/paddling
  • CBT
  • sensory deprivation
  • electro-play
  • force play
  • bondage with suspension
  • chastity
  • cock choking/breath play/face fucking

In other words...

Aside from a few ill chosen words Asher took to his newly discovered dominant tendencies like a duck to water. Fancy that. AND they refrained from jumping into the deep end which I appreciated. Asher is diligent in his studies on how to fulfill Sid's needs and since he's charismatic as all get out he soon finds experienced dominants that are willing to give advice/mentor him.

Sid... *heavy sigh* I did not care for. Brattiness is one of the things I try to avoid in my kinky reads and though Sid doesn't consider himself a submissive, he sure acts like one and his attitude grated both inside and outside of the scenes. Though he does straighten up once he's gotten enough endorphins floating in his system. But I never took to him. He's a pill and why he's a pill wasn't explained well.

Most of the stuff outside of the scenes fell flat for me. From the beginning I felt like I got dropped into the middle of a story and had to scramble to figure out the backstory. I'm not sure if it was explained better in the first one or if it was deliberate but neither character was developed beyond a certain point and there's only so much I can just accept as 'because reasons'.

Some of The Underdogs were interesting and added to the narrative positively which was surprising. Because rockstars. However, I've no clue what the purpose of Sid's sister's storyline was. They save her from the cult and then that's pretty much it other than her being window dressing periodically. Perhaps she will crop up later but it seemed like a quasi-melodramatic squirrel to me.

As for the couple and their coupletry... the beginnings of Sid and Asher's relationship skeeved me and maybe I read more into certain things than I should've, but at one point it seemed as though Sid was using Asher for kink because he was a live human and one he knew he could manipulate, at multiple other times he seemed embarrassed by him and at another point Asher seemed to be essentially blackmailing Sid into a relationship.

None of that equals going the distance in my book but then all the sudden they take a quick turn into Sapsville that was unexpected given Sid's general fussiness and seeming aversion to Asher. Asher, on the other hand, has been gaga over Sid since always so one would think he'd be a permanent resident on Cloud 9.

One would be wrong.

The back and forth went on far too long. Their angsting over the others feels became redundant and I questioned whether or not an editor had a go at this book at all. It also needed to be proofed.

While I liked the kink I would only recommend this to fans of pain play as the rest of the narrative requires quite of bit of reality suspension or if you're generally a fan of these authors, but my opinions are my own and most of the reviews are positive so YMMV.

A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

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