Reviewed by Ulysses Dietz
Member of The Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team
Oliver Glenn and Joseph Dexter, Ollie and Joe. They’re about to get married, and Ollie realizes he needs to come clean about something to Joe: he doesn’t want a big wedding, just a romantic one. Communication is important, after all.
Oh, and someone might be trying to kill them.
When I was offered this book to review, I hesitated for two reasons. First, it’s the ninth volume in a popular series, and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to orient myself (or, as the Brits say, orientate). Ultimately, while I puzzled over some things, including one crucial piece of backstory, the author wisely and discreetly gives enough clues so that a new reader never really feels lost. It’s a bit like walking into a big party where you only have a couple of friends, but then they introduce you to everybody else, so you end up feeling at home.
Secondly, this series is set in the world of BDSM, and the couples you meet along the way are all Doms and their Subs. The BDSM genre of romance literature is not something I have much experience with, other than Alexis Hall’s brilliant “It’s Real.” BDSM relationships are about as alien to me as, well, straight relationships. Or rock climbing. Your choice. On the other hand, I’m as prurient as any other retired gay man, so hey, let’s take a look!
I was, overall, quite charmed. Even if the dom/sub dynamic doesn’t resonate with me, the clear love and distinct personalities of Joe and Ollie did. Honestly, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to be Joe or Ollie more. The author takes great pains to make it clear that the dom/sub interactions between these men reflect their inner needs and connection with each other, not their competence or appeal as men. Ollie is adorable and a bit childlike in his impulsiveness; but he is also a nurse and can manhandle a tough soldier when there’s a wound to fix. Joe is severe and oh-so-masculine in a James Bondian corporate way; but he is a gentle man and completely in the thrall of his little curly-haired fiancé.
The intimate physical scenes between these men are, presumably, necessary for the genre, and I can attest that they are both erotic and romantic. Love is love, after all, and clearly both these men are consenting adults…but the love they feel is what the author makes most important, and that kind of detail matters to me.
Handcuffs and paddles will never appeal to me personally, but love will always win my heart.