This felt different than what I read by Lynn Kelling before and I’m grateful, because, honestly, [b:Whatever The Cost|14060209|Whatever The Cost|Lynn Kelling|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1337495310s/14060209.jpg|19696969]
didn’t do much for me.
I read this book in two sittings. I liked the sex and how the plot progressed. I liked that Jenner was a young Dom (the pompous “I’ve been a Master for 5 years” seemed to only partly translate into a controlled behavior on his side). I liked the clash between the life style and reality where friends are concerned about the D/S relationship (although a more realistic behavior on behalf of said friends would have been nice; wouldn’t it be natural to ask a few questions when you learn that your friend is a slave to his boyfriend? The same goes for Brayden – we never see him researching BDSM or asking questions either- weird). I also liked how ambivalent the relationship between Brayden and Jenner was portrayed:
“Little Brayden is fully cognizant that the man towering over him is stronger, quicker, and could do literally anything he wanted. … Jenner Parrish feels the precise moment when Brayden Clare becomes truly afraid of him.”
Some reviewers found abuse of power and dub con here. There’s an obvious power imbalance, but not to the extent that it bothered me. However, I would have preferred Brayden to be a bit more snarky instead of so subdued. The imbalance is addressed a couple of times in the book and Brayden confirms to two of his friends and two of Jenner’s that he wants the relationship. He is inexperienced with sex or submission, but not isolated nor is he emotionally unstable IMO. And Jenner acknowledges the situation:
Jenner: “The safeword is supposed to keep things in check, but if you’re not in the right frame of mind to know when to use it, I should know better than to start anything with you. I have forced myself on you. Maybe I am the bad guy.”
Brayden: “…Everything you do, it’s because I let you do it. My eyes are open.”
You could even turn the whole argument around: everyone thinks Jenner is taking advantage of ‘little Brayden’, but Jenner’s the one smitten with him. Brayden never even considered being with Jenner before their meeting in the BDSM club (btw, major WTF moment: what was Brayden doing in that club? That came out of nowhere and was never explained. Tsk.). Would have been interesting to follow the MCs over a longer period of time and to see what happens when 22-years-old Brayden meets other Doms. Because at no point was I convinced in Brayden’s very early declarations of love (lust and attraction and loneliness yes, but love?).
Sadly, I somehow lost interest in the book at around the 90% mark. Once I got the drift, that everything was resolved and we won’t get ANY noteworthy interaction and dialogue between the family and the MCs, it took me out of the story. The present tense was okay for me; only sometimes did it get a bit over the top and the books then read more like a review essay.
But let me end on a more positive note – the sex! :)
“You know I got off on watching you. That’s what I wanted. That was my fantasy. And it came true. I came so fucking hard last night, seeing you ride my hand. I licked you come from the glove after you left.