I love reading about power exchange relationships, but only those that come from a position of equality. Therefore, I was hesitant to start this book for quite a bit until it was the only book left by this author that I hadn’t read. Since she hasn’t let me down yet, I figured it was time to give it a shot.
James immediately establishes that the initial encounter between Gideon and Cal might come from a point of desperation on Cal’s end, but that Gideon is a solid character who prioritizes his partner’s safety and (relative) comfort. Obviously, the shock factor is there when they realize the connection they now share in their “real” lives, but it’s easy to both feel for Gideon as he breaks all of his rules and ache for Cal once we truly understand the depths of his need.
In typical James fashion, this is far from a typical romance. I loved learning about Gideon’s history that is teased out in contrast to how his relationship with Cal develops, especially as it slowly connects with how Cal’s reality seems intent on destroying him. Gideon might step up to be the hero, but Cal also thrives with delightful character development that shows how perfect a match he is for Gideon. Despite the age gap, these are two adult men who realize how perfect they are for each other and are determined to do right by each other.
Everything else I’ve read by this author has been part of a series, and here she proves capable of an excellent stand-alone novel that intrigued me from the beginning despite my initial trepidation. This book might be laden with kinky sexiness, but it also exhibits a strong storyline at its core that left me thoroughly enjoying the journey and entirely satisfied by the ending.