Author: Tempeste O’Riley
Narrator: Paul Morey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: DWS Photography
Story Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Narration Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Overall Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Release Date: 09/24/2015
Length: 06 hours 26 minutes
Genre: BDSM, Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance
Kaden Thorn, a dental surgeon who lives a quiet life, has no hope of finding the love he craves. A vicious gay bashing cost him the use of his legs and confined him to a wheelchair. He has given up hope of finding a Dom or even a nonkink partner to love him. When his best friend practically forces him to attend a dinner party, the last thing he expects is a strong Dom who can see beyond his wheels.
Deacon James is an architect and a demanding Dom, but he has spent the past couple of years without a sub or partner. When an employee invites him to a dinner party to meet his girlfriend, Deacon smells a setup but agrees anyway. He prides himself on being an excellent judge of character, and when he meets the younger dentist, he sees past the chair and finds a sweet submissive man who more than piques his interest.
Kade’s fears and demons continue to haunt him, challenging Deacon to use everything he’s learned as a Dom to earn Kade’s trust and submission. Deacon’s determined, though, willing to battle all of it to have Kade by his side and at his feet.
I picked this one up because I was very curious about Kaden. I wanted to know how this author would handle a new D/s relationship as well as the emotional turmoil that Kade was dealing with due to his unexpected disability. How would she balance Kade’s demons with his need to submit? Would this be a true relationship? Or would this be like many other stories where the D/s relationship is essentially a way to “fix” a broken spirit?
Unfortunately, this one didn’t really work for me. I spent a good portion of the story feeling like I missed something. Feeling like the relationship went from strangers to lovers overnight with little in between to make me as a reader understand the transition. There were sentences that mentioned the men “getting to know” one another, but it was all off page, so I as a reader, missed it all. I was only privileged to the D/s sexual relationship growing and had to rely on the author’s words to ensure that there was more to the relationship.
And as far as the D/s relationship went, I struggled there as well. I struggled with the way Kaden gave his trust to Deacon almost instantly. For a man so damaged by previous Doms and a previous lover, it just seemed too far fetched for him to hand himself over to Deacon on the first date. I also struggled with some of the play between the men. Especially the caning scene. For a man with spinal trauma and limited sensation in his legs, why would he allow someone to cane his back! Where the only good portion of his spine remains intact? Maybe he only hit on the side or whatever, but this was not made clear in the story. For all Deacon’s concern for Kaden’s safety with mundane things like his cock cage, he sure as hell wasn’t thinking of his safety when he risked permanent damage for a second time! Yes, Kade eventually talks to his doctor, but not until after the fact. This bothered me a lot.
I think the author had the best of intentions. I think she really meant to show that a disability does not mean the end of someone’s life. That the physically damaged can still be made to feel whole and feel loved. And to an extent, she achieved that goal. Deacon was great. After the first time Deacon met Kaden, the wheelchair ceased to be an issue. It was simply a part of loving Kaden. It was not an infirmity or something in the way. It just was.
But, the author spent so much time making Deacon treat Kaden well in all aspects, that it ruined what she was trying to do. It became too perfect. It became almost unrealistic in the way that Deacon was everything Kaden needed to be, even before he knew Kaden well enough to know who and what Kaden was. Deacon was so perfect all the time, that it felt force, planned, manufactured. It didn’t have the flow of a relationship. It had the flow of a dream. A dream of what Kaden wanted his life to be.
Another thing that bothered me a but was that this whole story felt very carefully crafted as far as the BDSM was concerned. Everything was done as if following a handbook. Very formalized in action and speech, with few cases of emotion or a true connection coming through. It may have been the narration, but this story came across very clinical. I appreciated how the rules were very clear and adhered to. For someone not in the lifestyle, it was very informative, though I can’t tell you if it was accurate or not. But for trying to have the reader feel anything, this story did not achieve its goal.
I gave this 3 star rating because despite the issues I had with the structure and BDSM elements, I did enjoy seeing Kade find love. Even if I didn’t understand why it started or when it happened. I loved the way Deacon treated Kade. I loved seeing the underdog blossom and grow. I loved seeing how uplifting this story really was for anyone with a disability. And the ending left me happy and hopeful for the couple. I just wish I could have felt the emotions and understood the connections between Deacon and Kade from the start. And I wish things would not have been so overly careful and perfect and manufactured.
I love Paul Morey’s voice. It is deep and soothing. However, his narration style was not what I would have chosen for this story. He reminds me of a narrator reading aloud to a group. Where this is his first time voicing the characters so sometimes the inflections chosen were not quite correct for the emotions in the scene. While he was very easy to listen to, I felt he missed the mark on capturing the essence of this story.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the audiobook of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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