Thursday, June 5, 2014



Pages: 220
Date: 05/06/2014
Grade: 4.5
Details: No. 4 Collars & Cuffs
            Received from Dreamspinner Press
            Through Love Romances and More
Own / Kindle

The blurb:

“Recently returned to the UK after living in the States since he was eleven, Andrew Barrett is determined to keep busy and make a new life for himself. He works full time as a copywriter and strips at a club on Canal Street on weekends. But it still leaves him too much time to think. Then he finds the BDSM club, Collars & Cuffs, where at twenty-nine, he is their youngest Dom. Young doesn’t mean inexperienced, however. All this activity keeps him focused with no time to dwell on the past. But the past has a way of intruding on the present.

It’s been four long years since Gareth Michaels last set foot inside Collars & Cuffs. But when he finally summons his courage and steps back into his former world, he finds the man who drove him away is still a member, and what's more, he wants Gareth back. Two men in pain need the freedom they find in each other, but it takes another man’s horrific plans to make them see it.”

My thoughts:

Let me start by saying I loved this book. It was well written with captivating characters and a gripping storyline. The balance between feelings, action and description was just about perfect and kept me in the story even when I wasn’t reading it.

Andrew Barrett was a wonderful and multi-layered character. He comes across as a man in charge of his life, a confident Dom fully aware of what he wants and needs until he is confronted with his painful past and the loss he’s suffered. The wonderful thing about Andrew was that the pain and confusion his past cause didn’t make him week or feeble. Quite the opposite; watching Andrew as he confronts his feelings, comes to terms with them and moves forward made him all the more likeable, strong and realistic in my eyes.

The same is true for Gareth. While he may seem quiet and even painfully shy at times, there is a depth to his feelings that delighted me and his strength and courage once he’s acknowledged his feelings left me in awe.

One or two things really made me sit up and pay attention in this book.
I have to be honest and admit that I’d never given much thought to any possible differences between hetero and M/M BDSM practices. In fact it’s fair to say I was pretty much convinced it was much of a muchness give or take one or two body parts. Andrew’s talk with his supervisor opened my eyes and has left me with quite a few things to think about and maybe even investigate.

A second thing that caught my attention was the way the dynamic between Doms and subs played out in this book. All too often it is a very black and white issue with one person being in control while the other just follows along. It only dawned on me how many angles there are to that dynamic when a character says that he wants someone as ‘his friend, lover and submissive’.
I do like it when a book opens my eyes and forces me to think.

This was one hot story as you might expect since it’s set in both a strip and a BDSM club. In fact, given the setting the author might have gotten away with wall to wall sex and relatively little story should she have chosen to do so. I’m delighted that she didn’t fall into that particular trap and had the sex serve the story rather than the other way around.

Having said all of the above there were one or two things that slowed me down while reading this book.

The first ‘issue’ is probably in large part one of my own making since this is the fourth book in a series of which I haven’t read the first three titles. The sheer number of characters in this book had me gasping for breath at times as well as scrolling back to see who exactly I was dealing with. With the majority of the story taking place either in a strip club or the BDSM club it is no mystery why there are so many people crossing the page and, if I’m honest, they did bring the story to life and made it more realistic. But, it also had me confused at times, especially with some of them having different names in different settings.

The shift to a second point of view at about 40% into the story took me by surprise too. Once the second voice started and continued it worked perfectly fine, but the first time his voice appeared I was taken aback and slightly confused about what exactly was going on.

Overall I have to say this is a fascinating and well written book that has left me with a taste for more. I’m lucky enough to have a copy of the first title in this series on my Kindle and I’ve got a feeling it won’t be long before part two and three will join it there. Here’s to yet another author I have to add to my must read list.

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