Story Rating: 4 out of 5 paddles
Sting Factor (kink): 3 out of 5
Standing from the outside looking in is always tough. When one is competent, loyal and wants to give so much, it is hard to understand why one is unwanted. Ryan Bennett is the kind of cop who exemplifies ethics and rigidity. He follows the rules and he does his best to serve. He is hard working and not afraid of taking more classes to give him an extra edge. Whilst he excels in his technical or “specialized” skills, his communication skills need a little bit of work. He is not exactly a team player and he does not understand why he is constantly rejected.
New to me author, Ms. Tomlinson does a great job of showing Ryan’s point of view. From a character building perspective, this book rocks. I felt so badly for Ryan. He keeps trying. He is amazing but he doesn’t understand the human aspect. I can relate and wanted to see Ryan finally find acceptance. He strives to be in SWAT not understanding he needs to be accepted and trusted as a team member. He may have the skills, but in the heat of the job, people revert to trust. The team is divided about Ryan. His conservative opinions of rules and regulations do not help. What also doesn’t help is that he wants one of the SWAT team’s leaders, Sergeant Logan Pierce. This unrequited desire to be submissive to the dominant in Logan only makes it more awkward. For me, it seems as if Ryan is always getting kicked when he tries to reach out for a connection. This makes him close down more and causes more miscommunications. When another dominant takes interest in Ryan, this is when it becomes interesting.
Detective Sam Roberts is not looking for long term but he is interested in the closed off submissive, Ryan. When the two play together, it is clear this is no simple hook up. Neither knows how to proceed without fumbling. This initial start of a D/s relationship with the submissive only interested in bottoming is realistic and amusing. The false starts and frustrations are easily relatable. When the two open up to each other and foster trust, this is when my heart breaks. Ryan shares his desire and it is clear, he feels he is always rejected as not good enough. For someone who is so competent and giving, it is hard to understand why he is always left in the cold. Others may not like Ryan and believe he has a stick up his butt. I see him as the prized German Shepard that never had a stable owner and is abused through neglect. This is not to say that love of a good man is what makes Ryan whole. It is to say those who need to be accepted for who they are, when no one wants them, it leaves them feeling broken and damaged. This is a heinous crime in my book because it isn’t visible pain, only internal which sometimes is worse. Ryan is a complex character who is not easily liked and often misunderstood.
The BDSM between Sam and Ryan is good. It is mild play, mostly because Sam is trying to coax Ryan to trust him. The sex is erotic and enjoyable to read. The BDSM element in this book could actually be left out and still make an excellent story. This is because the plot and character building is what attracts the reader. The kink is a nice little spice to kick up the heat. This is the second book in the series and can be read as a standalone. This m/m erotic suspense is recommended to kinky readers who have a soft spot for characters with sticks up their butt.
Reviewed by Book Addict