Review: Florentine by Mazarin Stone

Mahiro became a professional figure skater for one reason—to be near the object of his lust from the time he was a teenager, Alex Breschi. But he never advanced far enough for Alex to notice him. Now Alex is retired from skating and working as a thriller author, while Mahiro gracefully bowed out of competition years before to become a successful app developer and practicing Dom in New York City.

Reality and fantasy collide at a penthouse play party when Mahiro meets his idol. Alex is researching a book, and he wants to learn more about the lifestyle. In fact, he wants to be trained as a submissive. By Mahiro.

Mahiro knows it’s a terrible idea. He’s hardly objective, and Alex is a novice. Still, all those years of longing shatter his reserve, and he cannot refuse to have the man of his dreams in his hands. Alex will certainly notice him now, and since Alex is returning to Russia in a few months, Mahiro can have some fun without divulging his past… or his obsession. What does he have to lose?

Just his heart.

For those times when you just want some sweet kink in your life, I give you Florentine.

Still a bit confused about the title since there's no Florentine flogging but no matter. There was enough kink to keep me happy including D/s, spanking, wax play, suspension bondage and some impact play.

There's a fine line when crafting a BDSM romance that requires balance between the BDSM elements and developing the relationship that Mazarin Stone found. I like it best when kink is used to strengthen the connection between dom(me) and sub rather than it being their only connection. I also enjoy when the reader is privy to the sub's experience during scenes; that was less strong, though I did appreciate how much Alex wanted to please Mahiro.

Chemistry, however, is not in short supply between Mahiro and Alex. It was pleasure to watch that chemistry blossom and grow as they journey from an educational arrangement to something more, deeper.

I thoroughly enjoyed that Mahiro wasn't depicted as the prototypical ice cold dom, that's always in control and is virtually omniscient because unrealistic. Stone actually contravened the norm and made Mahiro significantly smaller than Alex which worked for me because submission is a choice that has nothing to do with intimidation or fear. Instead Mahiro is a real person who struggles with anxiety, enjoys cuddling during aftercare and has been smitten with Alex Breschi since forever, so if he didn't have nerves the neighbors would've heard my scoffing at that claptrap.

Tis true I am a sucker for the unrequited love being requited but I was delighted to see Mahiro getting to know and falling in love with the man behind the champion. There were maybe an abundance of endearments that I could've done with less of but if that's my only complaint for a first time author... that ain't bad. This is me we're talking about here. #hardass

I'd even go so far to say that Florentine has all the telltale signs of being a first in a series and I would read the next one which says a lot about the readability of this novel. Stone's ability to construct a honest story especially with regard to the "big secret" that inevitably led to the conflict which was handled in an adult manner e.g. two men using their words and admitting fault worked for me. 

Plus, the sex was in the sweltering neighborhood. Someone is creative and has a penchant for the dirty talk, none of which I am opposed to.

So if you enjoy your kink on the sweeter side à la Kim Dare, give Florentine a go.

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

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