A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Tied up by the Boss (Office Kink #2 ) by Hunter Frost

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

When Parker Greenhill speaks out against one of the execs to whom his marketing firm is pitching a project, he thinks he’s doing his ex a favor, but in reality, he’s hurting himself because his company loses the chance to work with that exec and Parker loses the respect of his bosses, teammates, and subordinates. Worse, he’s assigned to work with his curmudgeon of a boss, Morgan Brant, an older Brit who takes his role as VP seriously.

Somehow, though, working with Morgan flips a switch in Parker and he ends up on his knees submitting to his Sir after work every night. There may be ropes and bondage involved. And there may be a better use for Parker’s sassy mouth.

I enjoyed this story so much I couldn’t put it down. I simply had to read straight through to see what these men were up to and to learn how their awkward work situation would be resolved.

The author put plenty of kink into the story and built two characters who were at extremes of personality and yet gelled nicely together. And did I mention age gap? Well yes, there’s quite an age difference, so added to the bondage, the silver fox with the cute young exec just pushed all my buttons. Without giving away any spoilers, I can say that Morgan’s mum was a surprise to Parker and he was a pleasant surprise to her. There’s lots to love here and I’m most definitely looking forward to more in this series.

Highly recommend to lovers of light kink and bondage, age-gap, and slow burn.

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Cover by James of GoOnWrite.com is a photo of a man’s tie set against a deep mauve background. It’s both attractive and pertinent to the story and is the same photo used in book one, but in a different shade.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 124 pages
Published April 23rd 2018
Original TitleTied Up by the Boss
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesOffice Kink #2

A BJ Review: Staged (Belonging #3) by Kim Fielding

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Rating:    5 stars out of 5

Staged_600x900Once the second-prize winner on My Slave’s Got Talent, Sky Blue has spent the past few years singing at a failing New York nightclub. While Sky has never had control over his fate, his life seems to take a turn for the worse when he’s torn from the familiar comfort of performing and sold to a rich and enigmatic man.

Morgan Wallace takes his newly purchased slave to San Francisco, his intentions unclear. On the one hand, he treats Sky with more kindness than Sky has ever known—treats him like a real person. On the other hand, he shares Sky at parties hosted by his sadistic new friends.

A confused slave is an endangered slave, and Sky isn’t even sure of his master’s real name. Is he Morgan Wallace, wealthy and cruel, or Mackenzie Webster, caring and compassionate? Caught between hope, fear, and an undeniably growing attachment, Sky struggles to untangle which parts are real and which are merely a performance. His future, his heart, and even his life may depend on it.

First off, I’ve not read any of the previous books in this series, but I was told it was merely in the same universe and cold be read as a standalone. After reading it, I can assure anyone considering doing the same that I never felt like I didn’t understand anything during reading this story.

I’ve been interested in the series and had already purchased but not yet read the first book, but when I was offered the ARC of this one, I couldn’t turn it down since I’ve enjoyed every single book I’ve read by this author. And a few of them I’ve even loved. Might as well say right off the bat that Staged falls firmly into the loved category. This story sucked me in from page one and was one of those rare books that I hated to put down and was almost sorry to see end.

This isn’t the first book in which this author has ventured to the dark side, but readers should be aware that there is non-con, violence, and some pretty horrific  torture scenes. Which for me, made the sweet and tender scenes amidst it stand out all the more. Sky and Morgan/Mac are two of the most enthralling main characters I’ve read in a while. Sky is a slave in a world where folks say that slaves aren’t like others, don’t feel emotions the same, aren’t fit to care for themselves. And yet Sky is, as Morgan/Mac says, just the most amazing person. He enthralled me from the beginning. The entire story is written from Sky’s POV. Very often in single POV stories, at some point I find myself wanting to get into the head of the other character for more depth and insight, but that was never at all the case here. It was perfect the way it was written.

There were so many feels wound into this. It touched my heart and made me say “Awww”, then turned around and horrified me. It also at parts alternately had me tears-eyed, irate, on the edge of my seat, and stupidly proud. Sky’s personality really starts to unfold and bloom as he’s allowed for the first time to experience all of the many bits and parts of life that were withheld from him which exhilarates and confuses him. He experiences TLC for the first time, but is understandably too confused and fearful to be able to trust in it. Watching him find pleasure and joy in small things and living in the moment even when he knows that more bad is coming because he has been warned to expect it. So poignant to see him learn in tiny sips what it feels like to be in control for short periods of time, to make decisions on his own, to read and search the net and learn things about the world. But it wasn’t all feeling, as there are also many bits that made me think.

Morgan/Mac, a man who’d never owned a slave but had an awful childhood of his own driving him, also grows a lot in this book as he discovers that all he’s accepted about slavery is wrong. And as he begins to lose his heart to a slave. Right from the start, he seems in awe of him. Throughout a lot of story, Morgan is left a bit of an enigma, and yet through Sky’s narrations, we see his heart come out, see what kind of man he seems to be.

I’m going to stop as I don’t want to go into the story much beyond the blurb. This his story has motivated me to make time in my busy line up of TBRs to fit in book one which I already own sooner rather than later. I definitely want to revisit this world again soon. I just wish I could also revisit these characters—I didn’t want to let them go.

The cover by Tami Santarossa was not a favorite because it wouldn’t have drawn me to look at the story if I’d seen just that, but the layout and style does fits with the series.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | ARe | Amazon – more links to come

Book Details:

ebook, 255 pages
Expected publication: July 18th 2016 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN139781626494664
Edition LanguageEnglish


Dive Back Into the Belonging Verse with Staged by Kim Fielding – Blog Tour and Giveaway

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Staged_600x900

Staged (Belonging #3) by Kim Fielding
R
iptide Publishing
Cover Art by Tami Santarossa

Read an Excerpt/Buy It Here at Riptide Publishing

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words welcomes Kim Fielding here today along with the release of her latest novel, Staged, a story in the Belonging Universe.

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Hi, I’m Kim Fielding and I’m thrilled to introduce you to Sky Blue, the hero of my newest novel, Staged. In this book, I got the chance to write in an alternate universe very similar to our own–but where slavery is legal.

About Staged

Once the second-prize winner on My Slave’s Got Talent, Sky Blue has spent the past few years singing at a failing New York nightclub. While Sky has never had control over his fate, his life seems to take a turn for the worse when he’s torn from the familiar comfort of performing and sold to a rich and enigmatic man.

Morgan Wallace takes his newly purchased slave to San Francisco, his intentions unclear. On the one hand, he treats Sky with more kindness than Sky has ever known—treats him like a real person. On the other hand, he shares Sky at parties hosted by his sadistic new friends.

A confused slave is an endangered slave, and Sky isn’t even sure of his master’s real name. Is he Morgan Wallace, wealthy and cruel, or Mackenzie Webster, caring and compassionate? Caught between hope, fear, and an undeniably growing attachment, Sky struggles to untangle which parts are real and which are merely a performance. His future, his heart, and even his life may depend on it.

About Kim Fielding

Kim Fielding picked up a pencil when she was three years old and never put it down. She always dreamed of becoming an author, but took a roundabout way of getting there, first spending an inordinate amount of time as a student and ending up with a law degree and a PhD in psychology. She wrote plenty of academic articles and even a few books, but fiction continued to call to her. One day, she finally put that pencil to its intended use again and began to write novels.

Today, Kim is the best-selling, award-winning author of numerous gay romance and fantasy novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning multiple -genres. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in fifteenth-century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, slaves, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.

Kim writes authentic voices and unexpected heroes.

After having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls the boring part of California home. She lives there among the cows and almond trees with her husband, her two daughters, and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat. This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.

Contact Kim:

Staged_TourBanner

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Staged, one lucky person will win a $25 Riptide gift certificate and a copy of Treasure by Kim Fielding in audiobook. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 23, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

This title is part of the Belonging ‘Verse universe.

Review: Ride-Off (Polo #2) by Mickie B. Ashling

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Ride-Off coverPreston Fawkes and Konrad Schnell are finding it tougher than they had imagined to begin their new life together after their long separation.  With families to combine as well as ranches,  Preston and Kon are also dealing with the physical and emotional aftermath of Kon’s airplane crash, subsequent years of amnesia, and  their desperate need for each other that is taking priority over everything and everyone else in their life, including their children.

Kon’s son, Bandi wants to play polo but has entered the game with three disadvantages.  One is that he is older than the other players and everyone suspects that it is because of his father, Preson and his lover Ned that is getting him ahead and spots on the team instead of his talent.  Sasha Fawkes has always been the only son but now he not only has to share his dad with Kon but with Bandi and the newly arrived Paloma as well.  And Sasha is not happy at all.  He is struggling with his career as a actor and the lack of a love life and a secret that he has kept hidden from his father for years.  Then Paloma, his step sister, arrives from South America, demanding her father’s time, money as well as expertise and the situation with all the children explodes into an emotional mess with  reverberations for all.  What a Thanksgiving the Fawkes-Schnell family is having but there is more to come as an evil from the past invades their lives, shaking them to their very foundations of love and family.

Well, lets start off with the positive things about Ride-Off, the second in the Polo series by Mickie B. Ashling.  I did like this story better than its precursor.  With more family members included in the storyline, it achieved a more cohesive balance as far as characterizations and relationships than the previous story.  In fact, the Prologue is the scene of a sexual attack on another member of the Fawkes family, although the identity of this person is not revealed until later in the story.  The relationship of Konrad Schnell and Preston Fawkes serves as a foundation but not truly the only focus of Ride-Off. That job is left to their combined family of Bandi, Sasha, and Paloma  and their significant others.

Each son is given their own portion of the story, including current drama and items from the past that are impinging upon their future.  Conrad “Sasha” Fawkes is perhaps the most destabilized of all the children by their fathers intense and all consuming relationship.  He is, by his own words, pouting and upset that he is no longer just the focus of his father’s admiration and attention. I suspect how you relate to Sasha will color how highly you will enjoy this book as this character and his actions take over the story.  I found myself unable to relate to him at all in the beginning but as new information about his past is revealed, this character becomes an object of our sympathies.  And that change in outlook with help engage our affections for Sasha as the story unfolds.  Side by side with Sasha is Jeremy, a flamboyant makeup artist with his own agenda.  I adored Jeremy.  His character almost made the story for me.  His is a layered persona that just oozes charm along with a depth of character sometimes missing from the other “players” in the story.

Bandi, his older lover Ned, and Paloma the step sister who arrives to upset their relationship as well as everyone elses around her become more like satellite characters, reduced to secondary status by the stories of Kon and Preston, and Sasha and Jeremy.  In fact Ned leaves halfway through only to reappear at the end and tie up the loose threads of his and Bandi’s relationship.  Only Paloma remains strong enough of a character to hold her own against those other couples and the author’s need to tell their stories. The fact that Paloma is such a great character that she grabs our attention in a small amount of time demonstrates Ashling’s ability to create characters that achieve instant popularity with their  personas even if we may not always like their actions, something the author did with Preston Fawkes, Paloma’s father.

The sport of polo itself is reduced to a minor character here although the people on whom the story is focused are almost constantly talking about it.   People ride or practice the game in small asides but the game itself is lost in this book.  I don’t have an issue with this, just made note of it.

More problematic is the use of bdsm in Preston and Kon’s relationship.  I do have issues with this element of the story and have done my best to research it in hopes to resolve the “red flags” that popped up in the manner in which this alternative sexuality is used.  Instead of resolving my questions it only served to further highlight them.

Here’s the deal.  Kon’s son was attacked back in Russia and he has not dealt with that fact.  So he is angry, along with untreated PTSD issues from his injuries from his airplane crash.  He won’t attend “normal” therapy sessions so their friend, a doctor and Dom, suggests BDSM as a form of therapy, a way to work through his anger issues. And that raised the first flag.  I searched throughout the internet and couldn’t find any known medically approved usage of bdsm as a therapy tool.  Nor any doctor or group to proscribe its usage in this manner.  Perhaps Ashling can point to another source I couldn’t locate, but I couldn’t find one.  Now take that fact and add to it the following facts and perhaps you will start to see the real problem here.  I will list them as they are mentioned in the story:

1.  No Safe Word. Kon and Pres discarded the use of it because they only have these “scenes infrequently”. But that only makes a safe word more important, not less.  If these “bdsm scenes” are used infrequently than how are the partners to know each others typical physical responses to the violence that is occurring?  Familiarity is helpful in these situations so a partner can tell when it is getting out of control and stop the scene.

2. Intense physical fighting,rage with dry penetration, to the point one person has to be “snapped out of it” because he no longer recognizes his partner. The one person is attacking the other, substituting him for the man who sexually abused his son. (another huge flag). The author has one partner “snap” the other one out of it by kissing and saying I love you. Not a recommended procedure because you are supposed to use words that are not ordinarily in use, not ones you use in your day to day relationship.

3.  The promotion of this as a type of therapy by a doctor friend although I can’t find any mention of such anywhere on medical sites. or even dubious sites. Yes, the man is a Dom and their friend but as he is also mentioned as the doctor they went to for help with Konrad’s mental and emotional issues, he is also acting as their physician.

4.   Another issue that bothered me was making your partner “a target” of all that anger by imagining them as the person who attacked their son.  I still wonder at the damage that might inflict on a relationship.  Because the subconscious is a tricky thing and even though those scenes were infrequent in the story, a seed has been planted that could be poisonous later on.

I spoke to several people, one from the local bdsm dungeon and another familiar with the lifestyle, about the manner in which bdsm (resistance and bondage, even autoerotic asphyxiation) is used here.  Both acknowledged that they found it not only “unusual” but  in one person’s words “scary”.

It would take someone with more insight and knowledge of the bdsm lifestyle then myself to know whether the author has truly portrayed it accurately but the aspects of its use as it pertains to Jon and Preaston relationship that I have mentioned continue to bother me.  So many readers take it to be “gospel” if it is in a book.  And from the information I did gather in no way should any of the mentioned bdsm elements in Ride Off be taken as “gospel”.  Perhaps this won’t bother you as a reader but if accuracy matters, than you might want to conduct your own research and come to your own conclusions, just as I have.

Finally, there are a few other quibbles to mention.  Another sexual attack on a minor that appears at the beginning of the story and then disappears until the author trots it out again towards the end to insert a certain amount of angst and drama seems contrived and unnecessary because there are so many other good things about Ride-Off to enjoy.  I liked Sasha and Jeremy, I liked parts of Kon and Preston.  I also enjoyed the heck out of Paloma.  Weighing the finer points of this story against those issues raised by the author’s use of bdsm kept this book’s rating firmly in the middle of the scale.  If those things don’t bother you, than you might consider this a 4 star story and enjoy it more throughly than I did.

I would recommend this book to those of you who loved Fire Horse (Polo #1) and the other offerings by this author.  I would also recommend it with reservations to others looking for a story with multiple love relationships, including those with a kink, and a family saga to go along with it.  But take heed and don’t take the bdsm at face value.  Do your own research, make up your own mind. And then tell me what you thought about this story and that aspect of it.  I can’t wait to hear what you thought about it all.  Write me.

Cover art by Anne Cain is absolutely gorgeous and perfect for the series and novel within.

Book Details:

Paperback, 240 pages
Published October 18th 2013 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1627982647 (ISBN13: 9781627982641)
series Polo