AUTHOR: ANA RAINE
Received from Changeling Press
Through Love Romances and More
Own / Kindle
“Ian’s normal, boring life consists of his small town bartending job and his on again/off again relationship with his strictly vanilla boyfriend. Ian wants something more – he just doesn’t know what. When fate – and a travelling theatre troupe – drops his high school crush, Ezra, in Ian’s pat, Ian has to choose between his stable, boring life or risk everything for a future full of uncertainty – and the possibility of real love.
Ezra’s loved Ian since high school, and he’s always regretted the chance he didn’t take. But will Ian consent to be Ezra’s lover – and his partner in his darkest fantasies?”
Ian’s life is okay. He lives in a small town where he has a bartending job, working for his very much in the closet and not overly committed boyfriend, Calvin. Ian knows something is missing from his relationship. He needs something more than Calvin is willing or able to give him even if he can’t quite name what that might be. When Calvin’s sister arrives in town he cuts off all contact with Ian to keep his gay secret safe.
Ezra was attracted to Ian when they were in high school together but never acted on his feelings, something he’s regretted ever since. When he and the theatre group he works with arrive in town he his delighted to meet Ian again and wastes no time claiming the man he allowed to get away once.
Now Ian faces a choice. Stay in his boring but save and predictable life with the boyfriend who will never be ready to commit to him or take a risk while making all his dreams and sexy fantasies come true with Ezra.
This was a fun little novella. Not a book that took my breath away or made me think but an enjoyable read about nice characters. We watch Ian as he spend the night with his commitment phobic boss and boyfriend Calvin in what is, for Ian at least, a not all together satisfying encounter.
Meeting Ezra again is a shock. From the moment Ian sets eyes on the man he used to go to school with he knows there is more to Ezra, a dangerous edge that excites as well as scares Ian. Giving in to the attraction and Ezra’s domination brings Ian an experience he’s only dreamed about in the past and leaves him yearning for more while scared to put his safe but boring life on the line for an unpredictable future.
I liked the character of Ezra. He’s both edgy and caring; a Dom determined to push Ian’s limits while making sure the man he’s been attracted to for so long is okay. I was less fond of Ian. He seemed a bit wishy-washy, reluctant to make decisions for himself. I wasn’t entirely happy about Ian’s apparent double standard either; he resents Calvin for dropping him the moment he has family visiting because he doesn’t want to admit to being gay but hasn’t come out himself either. He doesn’t leave Calvin because the man won’t commit, or because the man can’t and won’t give him what he needs but because his boss and boyfriend loses the plot with him. While it was clear that being with Ezra gave Ian what he needed and that his feelings for Ezra were much stronger than the ones he had for Calvin, it seemed that Ian left with Ezra because he didn’t have another choice rather than because he wanted to.
The whole story is told from Ian’s point of view and in his voice and I couldn’t help feeling the language seems a bit childish for the topic. On the one hand Ian seemed to know about BDSM and what was expected of him while he seemed almost completely ignorant at the same time. That confused me a bit.
I’m not entirely sure if I would call this a BDSM story. Sure, Ian calls Ezra ‘Sir’ when they’re in the zone and Ezra is very much in control of their encounters and Ian’s ultimate satisfaction but it still felt more like kink, a form of role play, to me than the start of a D/s relationship.
Having said that, I did enjoy reading this story and got engrossed in all the physical and emotional turmoil Ezra throws Ian into. And I loved that the author gave us a glimpse of their life together, eight months later.
This novella wasn’t quite as deep or soul-searching as I’d hoped from the description but it did give me about an hour’s worth of very pleasant and at times very hot reading.