Author: SJD Peterson
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Even within the context of the Underground BDSM Club, Joshua’s desires are dark and extreme. Hopelessly addicted to pain and the high it gives him, he has no limits. Joshua would quite literally rather die than use a safeword, and he accepts that might be his fate. As much as he depends on others, he has yet to find a man who can gain his trust, and he has little hope that he ever will.
For Nash, acquiring Joshua from another Dom at the club is only the first step in what will be a long and arduous road to lure the young man back from the brink of self-destruction. He must do the impossible and win Joshua’s trust, and he must be the one to set limits in their exploration—something he’s unaccustomed to as a Dom. But Nash knows dominance doesn’t always mean pushing a submissive’s boundaries. It’s about establishing a bond and fulfilling another man’s needs. In Joshua’s case, he’ll have to strike a balance between meeting the young man’s expectations and drawing firm lines that will save Joshua from himself
Man, I wanted to love this story! It started out so good, giving me hope that we’d get to explore complex characters, including a strong, experienced Dom and a sub who has never safeworded. And then…
If you like complexity and angst in your characters, Joshua is the perfect candidate for you. He’s a sweetheart with a dark past and even darker outlook for his future. Son of a drug addict and unknown father, he was raised in foster homes until he was fifteen when he hit the streets and lived hand to mouth until he discovered BDSM around age eighteen. We aren’t given his full background since he’s reluctant to speak of it but as the story ends it appears that might be filled in during a future book.
He’s a sub who’s being humiliated when Nash spots him in the Underground Club, his friend Malcom’s BDSM club. An experienced Dom, Nash is more than smitten with the cute man and quite suspicious of his current Dom’s behavior with him. Based on this alone, he confides to Malcolm that he wants Jushua and hopes to get Troy, the current Dom, to release Joshua to his care. As the story goes on, we learn that he fell in love with Joshua at first sight. It felt to me as if that fact never meshed with the personality and experience we’re told Nash has. In other words, to me, Nash never lived up to the Dom image the author painted for him. In fact, he does indeed win Joshua away from Troy and it’s quite evident by the scenes we witness that Nash is very sexually attracted to the boy. And yet, when we are privy to Nash’s thoughts, his introspections are mostly about how he can get the boy to recognize his pain threshold.
This may be a long way of saying that I felt there were too many sex scenes and not enough BDSM scenes with Nash as a Dom working on Joshua’s issues. And Nash constantly doubted himself, seeking counsel from Malcolm. On the other hand, Nash did make some progress with Joshua, both working on his ability to safeword, and with getting Joshua to open up a bit about his past history and experiences. And most importantly, he encouraged Joshua to seek psychological treatment for his issues.
The story ends abruptly at a point that felt like it should have been the middle. I kept waiting for progress in the playroom, more work on Joshua’s boundaries, more exertion of control and domination from Nash, but instead, it just ended. If there’s no part two, I’m going to be disappointed that I even rated this as high as three stars. To be honest, I’d only recommend it at this point to someone who doesn’t mind a cliffhanger and is willing to hope for more. And even in that case, I think readers would be better off waiting until the next book comes out.