A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Impacted! (Bay Area Professionals) by Mickie B. Ashling

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Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5 

As the author acknowledges, she had a limited knowledge of BDSM when this was written. While this story was originally written in 2009, this is a re-edited and re-released version for 2019. It does jump right into a rough sex scene between strangers with no real concern for trust or safety, not really enough lube, and no prep.

Scott Gregory has bought into a periodontal practice in San Francisco. Knowing his partner Ron is conservative, he decides to stay in the closet due to the trial period in the contract before he becomes a full partner. His hookup with Red, from a BDSM club during his vacation, turns out to be Robin Kennedy, his new dental hygienist. Of course he is in the same boat–working for a homophobe and worried about being fired. Scott’s best friend from school, Susie ends up being hired to be his assistant. I’m not sure that having Susie or Ron’s point of view helped this book.

As soon as Scott and Robin see each other, they want each other again even though it’s a terrible idea. Then they go straight to Scott calling him Master for their second scene and swiftly into a contract. The encounter where Scott tops Robin is uncomfortable; he’s a virgin and doesn’t bottom, or as far as we know even use toys and there is no prep at all! Robin says he would never risk exposing Scott, yet that’s exactly what he does. If you read the blurb and thought, what could possibly go wrong…then you know exactly what goes wrong. Of course, they get caught. Then there is an OTT (over the top) ridiculous plot twist!

Susie doesn’t come across as the most likeable character. She also can’t be that close of a friend if she doesn’t know about Scott. Now all of the sudden she gets introduced to BDSM. I found this whole plot point rather irritating to be honest. She obviously has trust issues, hasn’t seen a loving relationship, and treats men as disposable…but now all of the sudden that makes sense because she might be a Domme? The other dental assistant Jenna, Ron’s wife, and Ron’s daughter are not pleasant either. In fact, the only likeable female character in this is actually Robin’s mom.

I guess this is frustrating because I liked elements of this and it flowed well for the most part, but there were just so many things that didn’t work for me. After such a major conflict, everything gets wrapped up with a bow without really working things out properly in my opinion. It ends abruptly. I must be in the minority in my view because there are five books in this series, with Bonds of Love being the sequel that still focuses on this couple. I’m torn about whether to read it or not because I know these guys now and I want to see them progress emotionally and deal with things more maturely. I want to know what happens with Ron. However, I am annoyed with Jenna and she’ll likely feature in the sequel. I personally have no interest in Susie’s storyline going any further. I don’t see how Ron could be redeemed and I don’t have any interest in what that would look like. I have to decide if this HFN is enough for me, or if I want to read about what Scott and Robin’s relationship is like now that they are out of the closet. Also, there are some soap opera elements that should be wrapped up in the sequel.

The cover art is by Kanaxa. I don’t know who this is. Scott is described as having honey colored hair and green eyes. Robin is a natural redhead with freckles. This cover has no connection to the story at all.

Buy links:  Dreamspinner PressAmazon 

Book Details:

ebook, 234 pages
Published August 3rd 2009 by Dreamspinner Press (first published August 2009)
Original TitleImpacted
ISBN 1615810234 (ISBN13: 9781615810239)
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Bay Area Professionals #1
settingCalifornia (United States)

A Stella Review: Forged in Trust (Bay Area Professionals #4) by Mickie B. Ashling

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RATING 2 out of 5 stars

Dr. Ethan Marshall is the young medical student on call the night Tessa Duran murders her husband for abusing her twelve-year-old-son, Rino. Ethan stays in the cubicle while the rape kit is performed and is surprised when the boy resorts to prayers instead of tears.

Despite compelling evidence, Tessa is sent to jail for life. To avoid placing Rino in foster care, their parish priest agrees to raise him. Ethan is touched by Rino’s plight and visits whenever possible, but the connection is broken when the priest and young boy leave the area months later.

Raised by the Dominicans in California, Rino considers joining the order until a romance blossoms with a fellow student. After much soul-searching, he turns his back on everything familiar, and chooses his orientation over his perceived vocation. Upon graduating dental hygiene school, Rino takes a job at the office of Scott Gregory and Robin Kennedy.

Seventeen years have passed since that horrible night in the emergency room. Forty-three-year-old Ethan is now a Dominant in search of a full-time submissive. Twenty-nine-year-old Rino is adrift, longing for someone or something to help him find the serenity he’s lost along the way. As they rekindle their friendship, they realize they might be perfect for each other.

Forged in Trust by Mickie B Ashling was a huge disappointment, although it could have been a great success because it has all the things I need in my books: damaged character, age gap, BDSM, characters with different backgrounds, wealthy MC.

This novel is part of the Bay Area Professionals series but it works perfectly as a standalone, especially because the secondary characters (MCs in the previous books) take a lot of space, so you could have not read their own story and still easily understand them (I will talk more about this in a bit). Moreover halfway through the book I realized I had actually read the first book, Impacted, when I began to be obsessed with the mm world. And I remember I quite loved it. Probably my tastes changed in time and that’s why I surely will read it in the next future.

Back to Forged in Trust, one thing I liked was there was an initial part where I met Rino when he was a baby, the author showed me where he came from, what he went through and who he became. I understood the baggage he has on his shoulders.

And then a row of details I hated began.

First of all I didn’t like the writing, I can’t even explain why, it just wasn’t for me, it made my reading hard and discontinuous. I often had to reread the same sentences, maybe it was just that I wasn’t into the story at all, I don’t know.

Then religion plays an important role  and I don’t want to go into details, but I deeply despised a couple of things the author decided to speak of, and I’m saying this as a non churchgoer. They still disturbed me.

An important role is played by Robin and Scott from book #1. While I’m happy when I get to meet again the MCs I loved in the previous books of a series, here in Forged in Trust I met them too much. They were not part of the story as second characters, they had their own chapters (see the plural), long scenes I was no interested in reading, they already had their own space in another book, why I need to find their sex scenes here? Probably they were there to make up for the BDSM tag.

At the end everyone has important roles here, except for Rino and Ethan. And that made Forged in Trust barely a two stars read to me.

The cover art by Catt Ford is well done and lovely. I like it a lot.

Sales Links

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, First, 200 pages

Published September 4th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN 1634764706 (ISBN13: 9781634764704)

Edition Language English

Bay Area Professionals series

Impacted #1

Bonds of Love #2

Fractured #3

Forged in Trust #4