Read my reviews of previous books in The Game series:
- Top Priority (#1)
- Their Boy (#2)
- Breathless (#3)
- Doll Parts (#4)
- Out of the Ashes (#5)
- The Shepherd (#6)
- Adrift in the Embers (#7)
We’re now eight books into this epic, interconnected romance series, and Cara Dee consistently delivers with each new installment. This book does technically work as a stand-alone, but I highly recommend that readers also check out Out of the Ashes (The Game #5) to best appreciate Franklin’s full journey as an individual character and in relation to others in his new community, especially Kingsley, Tate, and Noa.
All Franklin wanted when he joined this community was to stretch his wings and explore certain freedoms for the first time in his life. However, subs don’t often get what they want, and his grand plan is disrupted when an old friend returns to town. I enjoyed the relationship arc between Franklin and Jack on multiple levels in this book, especially because I already knew Franklin is adorable, and I was pleased to discover his perfect match in Jack. Once again, Dee leans into the overall theme of this series without hitting readers over the head with it. In this case, how Franklin and Jack discover new truths about their personal desires as they begin to intertwine as a pair was a thoughtful and sexy journey by turns.
It’s not necessarily possible to separate the kinks from the relationships in this series because for these characters, it is as much a part of their core identities as it is a way to spice up physical interactions. I’ve appreciated all aspects of the lifestyle that I’ve learned about through Dee’s writing, but for the first time, I think I’ve come closest here to understanding the attraction of particular kinks that hold zero personal interest for me. This is a huge credit to Dee as a writer and in how she develops her characters. (Side note for context here: Jack is the nephew of Franklin’s ex-wife, and though the families are close, Franklin had no hand in raising Jack as a child.) For example, both characters lean into the semi-taboo nature of their changing relationship by using titles (“Uncle,” “son” as a general term of affection, etc.) to trigger a humiliation kink. This, along with the way the characters play with jealousy, isn’t sexy to me, but it’s sexy to them, which in turn ends up making it sexy again.
The Game Series: Come for the amazing characters and well-deserved happily ever afters; stay for the intellectual examination of kink, identity, and interpersonal dynamics.
I write that mostly as a joke, because all of my thoughts in the previous paragraph occurred after I finished reading the book. While I was in the midst of it, I was invested solely in these men and their journey together (literally, I binge-read this ARC the moment I got it). I would have loved to see Jack’s perspective for some of that journey, but because Dee is writing this series in a circular sort of fashion regarding her characters, I know I can look forward to a follow-up novel with all the Jack I could want.
If you’re already a fan of this series, one thing you can count on in this book is the lovely sensation of Franklin making friends and spending time with characters you already know and love. New readers can go back to the beginning or pick and choose who’d they’d like to focus on next, but I guarantee you’ll find something to love in each unique story.
Disclaimer: I received a digital review copy of this book from the author.
Rating: 5 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.
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