Rating: 5 stars out of 5
I’m struggling with writing this review because I was so emotional by the end I had to wait a few days to allow my heart to calm enough to let my brain take over. I really loved this series. Each of the stories, from the beginning through this last, has featured amazing characters. Sometimes heartwarming and sometimes heartbreaking, each of the books featuring the many couples who populate Collars & Cuffs, an exclusive BDSM club for gay men, have felt realistic and genuine.
In this one, an ending of sorts for a few of the couples, I appreciated the way the authors focused on a new couple while weaving vignettes throughout the book, featuring the other Doms and subs we have come to love. Principally, this story is about Darren, the salon owner we met when Thomas was helping Peter overcome the emotional ravages of the time of his enslavement (Trusting Thomas). He never forgot how affected he was while observing that intimate moment with them. This story is also about JJ, the new bartender who came to the job in the hopes he’d be able to expose the lies Peter told about Curtis Rogers, the Dom who had abused him. Instead, JJ found that Curtis, the man who JJ recently found out was his father, was worse than the press painted him to be, and when he glimpses Peter’s back for the first time, he breaks down and admits his parentage and his reasons for being there.
Darren had been attracted to JJ from the time Darren first walked in the door to see what the club was like so he could decide if he dared to cultivate his dominant side. And though they had already started to date when the revelation occurred, Darren feels an overwhelming protectiveness toward the young man and vows to take care of him. Poor JJ is so emotionally broken and adrift, feeling he’s been lied to and abandoned by those who should have cared for him that he finds it difficult to trust in Darren, and trust is the foundation most needed for couples to survive together.
As their story unfolds, we see glimpses of most of the Doms and subs from the past, and there’s a focus on Scott and Ben (Someone to Keep Me) as their long postponed wedding day finally arrives. There’s also a secondary story about Eli and Jarod (Dom of Ages), now back from their Hawaiian vacation. Eli finds himself restless and without a purpose since he quit his job with the trucking company. Thomas offers a solution, one that Jarod can well afford, but if he and Eli take the offer, it will take Jarod from the family he has come to love. The other subs are such a part of his life now, he’s not sure if he can abandon them. There’s also a story about Pietro and Miles, back from their vacation as well, but still not living together, and Pietro is pretty upset about that. How can Miles love him and yet go home to his own place at night? And… there’s a glimpse into the future for Alex and Leo as Alex takes an opportunity he once thought was out of his reach.
As I started the book, I was very worried the authors were going to give someone a major illness or other life threatening issue, but I’m happy to say that’s not a concern here. Yes there are endings, but there are also beginnings, and I hope and pray that one of those beginnings is the beginning of a new series because I can’t get enough of these guys. I find it difficult to decide which couple in this series is my favorite but it’s definitely either Thomas and Peter or Eli and Jarod, and if my hopes are realistic, we may all get to see more of them in the future.
My gosh, I hate to see this series end! Most of the books don’t contain “hard core” BSDM. Some, including this one, are quite mild so that shouldn’t be of concern to readers who haven’t read any with a BDSM theme previously. And, for those who have, if you haven’t read this series, don’t hesitate to start.
Cover art by Paul Richmond features a beautiful black-and-white photo of a naked man bound with rope, kneeling in submission. Perfect!
Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon
ebook, 350 pages
Expected publication: July 18th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634774086 (ISBN13: 9781634774086)
SeriesCollars and Cuffs #8