Review: Claire Thompson – The Contract

contractAuthor: Claire Thompson
Reviewer: Danny
Publisher:Romance Unbound
Genre: M/M BDSM
ISBN: 9781937337698

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Out of a job and betrayed by his lover, Jace Thompson jumps at an opportunity almost too good to be true. On a private island in the Florida Keys, a secret BDSM community exists in resort-style luxury, the wealthy clients served by paid submissives who meet their every erotic desire and sensual whim. As Jace works hard to serve the men of the island with submissive grace, he is challenged at every turn by a manipulative trainer who seems hell bent on his failure, and another who brings out a deeply submissive nature Jace didn’t realize he possessed.

When trainer Quinn is asked to assess Jace for his submissive potential, the connection between them is immediate and intense. He might have to make an exception to his rule to never get involved with the service subs. His jealous ex-lover has other ideas.

Dark intrigue and unrequited desires combine in a tangled web of danger and deception. Against a backdrop of lush tropical beauty and steamy BDSM passion, Jace and Quinn begin a tentative and ultimately powerful exploration of Domination and submission not only of the body, but of the heart and soul.


** Spoilers Alert **
Nothing goes well for Jace. He lost his construction worker job and broke up with his boyfriend. He feels depressed and decides to forget his worries by going to Brandon’s Lair, a BDSM club. He attends a session in which Brandon whipped a sub. During this time, Carlo says in his ear: “I’ve seen you here several times before. I have watched you in a few scenes in the playroom over the months. You’re a natural. Born to submit, born for erotic suffering.”

And Carlo offers a very lucrative job to Jace at Club Hieros.
“Actually, I represent an exclusive community located on a small private island in the Florida Keys. We cater to wealthy patrons in the gay BDSM community. We offer the finest in resort living, including every possible facet of a fully integrated BDSM lifestyle. Membership is by invitation only.”

“You would be available as a submissive to anyone requiring your services. Your duties would include BDSM play, much like what you currently engage in at clubs like Brandon’s Lair, as well as full sexual service. You make yourself available to whoever takes a fancy to you. Of course, you would be paid handsomely for your services.”

“You would receive seventy-five thousand dollars for the three-month term. Plus room and board and full access to all amenities on the island, of course.”

Guess what Jace decides? Yeah. He goes working for the BDSM gay resort where he is trained (only one week?!) to prepare him for anything the club’s wealthy clients might ask him or do to him.

As soon as he sees Quinn, who teaches shibari to clients on the island, Jace wants to submit to him and to become his bondage subject for his demonstration, because Jace loves bondage. “Something about Jace had awakened a part of Quinn that had been sleeping for a very long time, a part of him he had thought would never wake again.”

Shibari into a pool is a good idea to test or boost trust between a sub and in his dominant, but three times in a novella… Just after his arrival at the BDSM resort, Jace glimpses a dom doing it in the red pool with a sub. Then Quinn do it with him alone once in the middle of the story. At the end of it when there is some sort of feast for the beginning of Jace’s job as a trainer–Quinn says that he wants to show how Jace is good at it and makes a demonstration of their talents.

And I can’t tell for sure, because I was never bound that way, but someone going into what the author calls shibari’s heaven so fast doesn’t seem very realistic to me. Okay,maybe you can prepare your mind to enter this paradise as soon as the shibari master takes out his rope, but you’re surely not completely filled with peace that fast.

But Quinn is in a dying relationship with Drew, another trainer. When Drew discovers that Quinn and Jace seem attracted by each other, he sets Jace up to ensure that he loses his job and is banished from the island. Drew gives Jace all sorts of troubles and runs false rumors about him. When this part of the story started, I thought: “Oh no, I’m not going to read pages and pages about the wicked trainer abusing the nice sub?” But this part is so short that I thought the author should have prolonged it a little bit, so we have at least enough time to feel sorry for Jace.

But Jace speaks about Drew’s set-up to the island’s authorities. They set up a trap for Drew, who falls in it head first. Then Drew is fired and has to leave the island for good. Jace takes over Drew’s job and can stay working on the island and with Quinn as long as he wishes.

I didn’t find this novella very original. This is the classic story of the young sub without a job or a cent who is offered very well-paid employment. Usually it’s in a BDSM club. Here it’s on an island. But it’s not very different. The dom is a caring one. About two thirds of the story, there are troubles from a secondary character to spice things a little. And we get our HEA.

Except for sentences like: “The space was bigger than it looked from the outside”, which is surely one of the most used clichés of all times (if not THE most), Ms. Thompson’s writing was good, as usual.

Even though I didn’t find the story very original, I liked it. After a few pages, I was hooked and found myself willing to know what was going to happen next. So I give it three hearts and a half.

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