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This is a dark book.
I don’t say that lightly. There are scenes that are disturbing, situations that are horrible, violence, and even a touch of evil. Psychological demons and addiction. Mental illness. This is a book that could have a half-dozen trigger warnings or none.
There are none and I’m fine with that. It has a happy ending, but I can’t recall two men having to fight harder for it than Warren and Taylor.
Warren served 4 tours in Afghanistan, leaving him with scars both inside and out. He carries a huge loss on his shoulders and has chosen to work with the downtrodden of Denver rather than with normal people who go about their lives, living in the light and not the shadows.
Happenstance brings rentboy Taylor Reynolds into Warren’s life and he swears he’s died and gone to heaven. Taylor cooks, cleans, and is available for sex. ANYTIME. He also prefers it rough, which is just fine with Warren, who’s a Dom but hasn’t found a submissive who can handle his darker side. Taylor’s enthusiasm makes them the perfect match.
But while Warren’s physical scars are visible to the world, Taylor’s scars are not. His hurts are hidden so deep that they almost never surface, so people don’t see them. But when that pain is triggered, it is heart-breaking and terrifying. Warren has no idea what triggers Taylor’s self-destructive anger, but he’s the first man who chooses to help Taylor rather than tossing him to the curb.
I’ll be honest. These are tough scenes. My heart was in my throat as Warren tried to navigate Taylor’s landmines. I was as bewildered as Warren, desperately hoping he could get through to the younger man. Warren’s methods were, to say the least, unconventional. And, to most people’s sensibilities, unacceptable. The use of BDSM here works, but it does go dark. Yet, somehow, Warren always takes care of Taylor.
Eventually Taylor does open up and tell Warren everything. I think my heart broke all over again. Warren proves to be a caring and loving man, refusing to judge Taylor harshly, which surprises the younger man. Warren draws strength from his friends. His willingness to take on Taylor and others in Denver who need help is admirable, but everyone has a breaking point.
For Taylor, it is just a matter of time before Warren gets tired of the uncontrollable behavior. All who have come before Warren have given up and Taylor has the same expectation for this man. In the meantime, though, Taylor starts to get settled into Warren’s home and live. He makes a friend, gets a job, and plants a rose bush.
Things do go sideways, though, and I had my doubts whether the two men could overcome everything thrown at them. Yet none of the situations felt included just for dramatic sake – it all worked, plot-wise.
Taylor wonders if he might be too broken, but Warren shows him that it’s not true. Warren takes on the responsibility of Taylor while encouraging every step Taylor takes toward autonomy. He pulls Taylor up when he’s been pushed to the bottom. He fights Taylor’s demons, showing the younger man that he does have worth. More than just being a sexual receptacle, anyway. Warren helps Taylor fight his shame. It is cathartic, but it is just the beginning. But that’s the thing about this story – even without an epilogue, I came to believe in these two.
Two damaged souls can help each other.
This is Book 1 and the other Doms in the Heretic Doms Club have been nicely introduced. I am really excited to hear their stories.
I’ve listened to many books narrated by John Solo, but I think this is one of his best performances. He conveys Taylor’s pain – sobs, hysterics, vitriolic anger – and it works. Taylor’s anguish was visceral to me and that was due to a brilliant John Solo narrating Marie’s beautiful story.
5 stars feels inadequate. As Warren says, this is what (man) kills and dies for.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I enjoyed the story line, and there was alot of emotion put into this story
The narration was great and you could feel the emotions coming over yoursef.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful