This post contains reviews of all the books in the Perfect Hands series:
- Firm Hand (Book 1)
- Gentle Hand (Book 2)
- Naughty Hand (Book 2.5)
- Slow Hand (Book 3)
- Healing Hand (Book 4)
Firm Hand (Book 1)
Now that I understand a little bit more about Daddy kink, I can say that it’s probably never going to be a go-to theme for my romance novel addiction. However, I enjoy subversion of pretty much any tropes, and the age-reversal for this book intrigued me. My heart broke right away for the situation Cornell finds himself in at the beginning of this story. Luckily, Rhys is there to help him out, and their relationship naturally evolves from there.
Neither man is perfect, and I’m glad that Rhys ends up facing the consequences of keeping information from Cornell. Trust and open communication are essential in any relationship, not just romantic ones, and especially not just kinky romantic ones. However, the care Rhys feels for Cornell is clear from day one, even if he is a bit manipulative in swaying Cornell. Often in romance novels, the “dominant” partner (no matter the genders or scenario involved) leads the relationship and guides the other. This book presented another intriguing reversal in that regard, but I enjoyed seeing Rhys relying on his own support system to address and rectify the problem he creates.
In another book I enjoyed recently, a character points out that no kinks are set in stone. This premise is especially true for the evolving relationship in this book, and it’s lovely to see both Cornell and Rhys embrace their authentic selves even as they fall further in love with each other.
This story is relatively light on the BDSM elements, so perfect for any readers who find it based on the age-gap element. I’m glad I took a chance on this sweet, surprising romance, and I look forward to reading additional books in this series.
Gentle Hand (Book 2)
I’m still not quite sure how I feel about the whole Daddy/Little dynamic, but I’m not here to kink-shame, and I’m not about to start now. Separate from that, this book is a sweet love story. Right off the bat, it’s clear that the age-gap between the men has nothing to do with their kink dynamic, and their kink dynamic has little to do with their sexual relationship. The book probably would not have worked if you removed the kink element, however. Half the plot revolves around Raf coming into his own as a full human being with Brendan’s help, including that element of their lives.
This book overlaps solidly with the previous book in the series. Unfortunately, this removed some of the tension about whether Raf and Brendan get their happily ever after. I’m also not sure how I feel about the author equating Raf’s struggles with his ADHD with a need to essentially be infantilized part-time to escape the “adult” pressures on his brain. However, escapism comes in many forms for many different types of people. I hesitate to judge that about Raf either.
I appreciate how Brendan takes the time to educate Raf about his preferred lifestyle, along with their discussions about how sex would play a role in their relationship. The back-cover text almost doesn’t do a good job of adequately depicting their sex life, which was very adult (in all senses of the word) and very hot. I look forward to continuing this series for more glimpses into these characters’ lives through their happily ever after.
Naughty Hand (Book 2.5)
This novella is a sweet holiday (Christmas) story featuring the two couples we’ve met previously in this series. The dynamic between Rhys and Cornell is not the same as between Raf and Brendan. Still, the previous friendship between Rhys and Raf brings the couples together in a social context where each man is free to be their authentic self within the boundaries of their relationships. There are cute moments for all the characters, even beyond Raf indulging in being a “Little.” There are also plenty of sexy bits to go around, and in the spirit of the season, even the “dark moments” are mere hiccups in the road of life. Consider this a fuzzy epilogue to be enjoyed if you read the first two books. Meanwhile, I can’t wait to finally meet Master Ford in the next installment of this series.
Slow Hand (Book 3)
I’m still not keen on the Daddy/age-play subsection of the BDSM scene, but I’m enjoying this series and figure I’d finish it out. Mostly because I’ve been curious about Ford since meeting him in the first book and wanted to read his happily ever after. This book will not be an easy read for some, and parts of it weren’t an easy read for me, but I ended up enjoying the characters of Jathan and Thierry as well.
Let’s be clear: The trauma (physical and mental) experienced by the two young men before this book starts isn’t going to heal in a manner of weeks. However, this is a romance novel, so I’m okay with Phoenix taking certain liberties. My biggest concern going in was that the author would rely on the “magical healing cock” trope. Still, I was pleasantly surprised by the care Ford takes in ensuring that his new wards understand and regain their agency and power, even within the constraints of BDSM power dynamics.
My favorite part of this book involved the rift healing between Jathan and Thierry after their shared captivity. A close runner-up involved the two young men coming to terms with the various aspects of their submission regarding Ford and how it would affect both their present and the rest of their lives. The story takes some surprising and sexy turns that alleviated much of the plot’s heaviness and angst. As I said, it’s not an easy read, but Phoenix does her best to make it all worth it in the end.
I was pleased by the presence of and assistance provided by previous couples in this series. Readers could probably enjoy this book as a stand-alone, but I think the full context makes a more compelling story when the reader understands the background relationships better. I look forward to reading the final book of this series and then checking out the author’s other works.
Healing Hand (Book 4)
Phoenix inadvertently granted my wish with the final book in this series! I wanted a Daddy/boy relationship that did not lean so much on the sexual aspect of BDSM, and this book delivered. The love and affection between Gale and Saxton are evident and real, and this book provides all the feels at how the men are adept at giving each other what they need. But because Gale is demisexual and Saxton is sex-averse, their relationship’s sexual component happens much later and is mostly separate from them being Daddy/boy.
As a whole, Saxton’s character was much more dynamic and unique. Gale is sweet, but his entire personality leans into the caretaker/nurse stereotype. In contrast, Saxton may identify as a Little, but he’s also an intellectual pursuing a PhD in an interesting topic (and I loved the snippets of discussion relating to it in the book). While both men identify themselves as “broken” at the beginning of the book, it is evident that this is far from the case, as both men just happen to exist outside the spectrum of the expected aspects of their BDSM identities. I loved the journey of them “healing” together, even though they certainly needed no healing in the first place.
This series’ previous characters make appearances, but this book also connects and overlaps with another Phoenix series. It is possible to read them separately, but I found myself becoming more and more fascinated by the references to another group of men, especially after the final scenes. I look forward to diving into the No Shame series next and getting the full story.