Rating: 5 stars out of 5
When Archer Wilde gave Zachary, his husband of 15 years, a submissive named Jeremiah for a year, he never anticipated the fallout that was to come. Both Archer and Zachary are Master Doms, and only within their relationship, does Zachary take a submissive posture. So Archer thought a submissive of his own would make Zachary happy. But the reality was exactly the opposite and it threatens to destroy their happy and balanced loving relationship of 15 years, one they have worked hard to achieve.
Submissive Jeremiah has a signed contract and nothing else. He had hoped to find a loving home and a Master Dom to teach him the ways of the lifestyle he needs in order to be whole. Instead he finds a household in discord because of his presence and the very real possibility that he will be asked to leave before he even is given a chance to prove himself.
Jeremiah’s predicament leads him to make a disastrous decision. He calls on an abusive Dom who has a grudge against Archer and Zachary to train him. When Jeremiah disappears, Archer and Zachary race against time before the damage inflicted upon their boy is too deep to undo. This time, their retribution is personal.
What an astonishing book and series! With every new development, the characters and their relationships just get more layered with an authentically human feel to them. Retribution picks up exactly where Triple Threat left off. Zachary and Archer have retired to their bedroom ostensibly to talk about Jeremiah but instead they proceed to have white hot sex. Sex that will both reassure them of their love and reestablish a connection that Archer almost broke with his unwanted gift of Jeremiah to Zachary. That Jeremiah is not exactly welcome is now obvious to Archer’s dismay. Harner’s characterizations are perfection. We can see Archer Wilde making this error in judgement because he so rarely doubts his own brilliance that he thinks he knows what is best for all around him. Plus Archer has made that all too human mistake of forgetting just who his partner is because the years together has lulled them into complacency.
As with Archer, Zachary too is a beautifully realized portrait of a man stunned by his lover’s actions. It shakes him to his core and not just because he didn’t see it coming. It turns out that a past trauma involving a prior submissive of Zachary’s have left Zach scarred and unable to make that commitment again. All of these mens flaws come to the surface with one bad decision and the one to pay is Jeremiah.
L.E. Harner certainly knows how to build the suspense into a plot. When Jeremiah disappears, the reader immediately knows something awful has occured. But what had happened and where was Jeremiah? The answers to those questions are guaranteed to raise the reader’s anxiety, making us despair for Jeremiah’s safety. Harner’s narrative threatens danger at every curve and a certainty that violence is lurking near the end. I loved every minute of Retribution. And that includes the ending.
The characters here have issues to settle amongst themselves, and by the end of this story, Archer, Zach and Jeremiah are on their ways to resolving some of them. But not all. And those unresolved issues will be carried into the following stories. This aspect of the series continues to give these characters and their relationship a very human feel. I have always felt that it is a human being’s flaws, not their perfections, that help to connect them with their fellow beings. And that is as true in fiction as it is in real life. L.E. Harner recognizes that fact and builds it into her stories and people.
So go and pick up this story and make a commitment to this remarkable series. But make sure you start at the beginning story, Triple Threat, and work your way through as these are not stand alone tales and need to be read in the order they were written. For those of you who hesitate when seeing that elements of bdsm (D/s relationships) and threesomes are present, don’t let this stop you with this series. It works, it feels real, and you will come to love the men involved just as I do.
Books in the Triple Threat series to date are:
Triple Threat (Triple Threat #1)
Retribution (Triple Threat #2)
Defiance (Triple Threat #3)
Crucify (Triple Threat #4)