Read my reviews of previous books in the Trophy Doms Social Club series:

Humbled (#1) | Edged (#2)

Flynn may fit all the characteristics for being a card-carrying member of the Trophy Doms Social Club, but one thing I love about this series is how each member of this group of friends is still entirely unique. And after how much Hawthorne made me cry during the first two books in this series, I was braced for more of the same with this installment. However, she gives us a bit of a reprieve for Flynn and Rose’s story, which is packed with just as much emotion as anything else by this author but in a slightly softer way.

Flynn is definitely a dominant personality at his core, but Hawthorne once again brings her nuanced view of characterization to what this means for him and his relationships. His immediate chemistry with Rose is the result of an excellent meet-cute that completely upends Flynn’s world, especially since Rose essentially side-steps the entire dominant/submissive binary entirely (along with many other facets of his character). However, Flynn maintains a decent sense of self-awareness throughout this book regarding what his feelings for Rose mean to him. Flynn could change for Rose, but that he refuses to do so makes for a much more interesting potential conflict (after all, the decision to NOT do something can also be a form of character development). The various points at which this man decides to be flexible or unyielding were always surprising but honestly made me more confident in his eventual happily ever after with Rose.

Despite all the ways in which they fit together, the inherent differences between Flynn and Rose mean that Rose is still right to be suspicious of everything Flynn offers him after their first night together. Each subsequent encounter continues to bring the drama and steam in equal measure, and I loved how multiple power dynamics seemed to be at play between them beyond the typical “D/s” of a kink romance. Saying that Rose is the one who changes could be construed as a negative without the full context of the book, but his eventual acceptance of everything Flynn represents is more along the lines of genuinely satisfying character growth.

Even when a romantic partnership is “equal,” true equality across the spectrum will never be possible between two people. Hawthorne weaves this subtle theme into a romance arc that is as satisfying as it is steamy, then treats us to some truly epic swoon for the grand finale. I almost thought I was going to get through a book in this series without crying, but between the confessions of love and how Flynn stands up for Rose against a certain external conflict, the tears got me at 96%. I’ve already been warned by the author that I will definitely cry in the remaining two books of this series, but I’m so excited to read about how the remaining Trophy Doms find their matches that I look forward to it nonetheless.

Disclaimer: I received a digital review copy of this book from the author.

Rating: 5 (out of 5) stars
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