What happens after finding the man who will accept and love you for who you are? Is it a happily ever after? As the saying goes, "happily ever afters are based on when the author ends the story".
Ms. Henry and Ms. Rock bring Lane and Derek back and the readers sees what happens after they found each other. It's not pretty. Real life contains ups and downs. This is never as clear as when Derek suffers from a bad day and Lane is pulled back into his mother's destructive influence.
The first part of this book is difficult to read. Lane made so much headway in the last book. In this, it feels as if he started over again. He's regressed back several steps and is a hot mess at times. There are times a reader may want to smack him upside the head and demand he grow a pair of balls. He's not five! He is twenty-one. He just comes across as helpless and stunted in growth. It's frustrating for some readers and it pisses off Derek. How can there be a partnership if Derek must always shoulder the burden of being the adult? He is not into being a Daddy Dom.
This is the problem with a large age gap in a relationship. Twenty-one to thirty-seven is quite a span; it is sixteen years. With Derek barely out of his young adult age, these sixteen years may as well be twenty years. In fact, with Lane's previous sheltered life, it can be a thirty-year difference.
Ms. Henry and Ms. Rock are sneaky. They slyly turn things around to show how Lane grows. Even as Lane's mother whispers insidious half-truths to Lane about his deviant sexual proclivities and emotional weakness, Lane somehow manages to come out stronger. This is a pleasure to see. This story is focused on Lane's maturity and ability to stand up for himself. He's also found a place where he belongs. It's moving to see when he realizes what it means to him.
The BDSM in this story is out of this world. First, the pain Derek doles out to Lane is divine and something I lust after. The way Derek does it entwined with puppy play is heavenly. Second, the breathplay is quite the edgeplay. In the past year, I pushed past my hard limit of breathplay. Personally, I don't use choke chains because the potential damage to vocal cords is too high. This was my only one beef with the breathplay scene. What really blew my mind is the sounding. Holy sensual intimacy and debauchery in the name of Bacchus. A sounding scene can be very dangerous. It isn't something I would do. I don't know how these two authors researched this one and where they received their information about how it feels. All I know is that I wished I had a penis for a sounding session after reading it. Between the mind fuck, fear and physical sensations, I'm caught in this web of erotic lust. This is the hottest sounding scene I've ever read.
While this book could be all depressing with Lane's insecurities and Derek's downer attitude, it's still balanced with a hilarious supporting cast. Brin is as always, crazy with his observations and comments.
"Aw, have a heart, Der," Brin said, coming over. "I can't think when there are nuts in front of me either." He put a hand on Lane's shoulder. "He's from the rain forest, Laney. That's where nuts grow." (p. 216)
The two who stole the show are Andy and Mr. Zimmerman. Andy is the dog and Mr. Zimmerman is the macaw--Lane and Derek are pet-sitting. Between Mr. Z's foul mouth and Andy's canine responses, I dare you not to giggle.
"Andy," Mr. Zimmerman called in Lane's voice. "Andy, here!"
Andy glanced once at Lane, and, realizing Lane wasn't speaking, padded over to Mr. Z's cage, growling.
"Andy," Derek called warningly.
Andy stared at Mr. Z. Then he turned, lowered his head, and trotted over to Lane.
"Andy, here," Mr. Z repeated, voice growing shriller. "Cheating, two-bit whore." (p. 143)
This m/m romance is recommended to kinky readers who appreciate good edgeplay and flawed characters who find a place to call home.