On the surface, Ben seems to have it all: money, influence, good looks. He smiles and jokes in all the right places, but it’s all a façade. Inside he’s a wreck, and it’s only getting worse. With his Congressman father using Ben’s recent kidnapping for his own political agenda, and Ben still struggling to get over the only guy he’s ever loved, he feels like he’s losing his grip on reality and he’s quickly spiraling out of control.
Then he meets Dante, an enigma of a man with as much self-hatred as Ben has. In Dante, Ben finds what he didn’t know he needed: Dante’s control, his power, is the only thing that clears the fog in Ben’s brain. For the first time in his life, Ben has a lover who just might need Ben as much as Ben needs him. When they’re together, the demons from their pasts don’t lurk so heavily on their shoulders.
But Dante can’t fix him. Not when a memory from Ben’s past is haunting him in ways he doesn’t understand, waiting for him to put together the missing pieces in his head…and what he discovers just might have the power to break him for good.
Warning: light BDSM themes and mentions of abuse. (less)
Review by Anna:
Well, this was painful. Ben, our protagonist, is suffering from severe PTSD both after a recent kidnapping, which ended with murder, as well as his childhood memories of his older sister taking her own life.
He is spinning desperately out of control and into depression when we meet him. He is not working, not eating and not sleeping. All he does is drink, write letters to his ex-lover, and fuck strangers in clubs, or rather he tries to fuck strangers, except that his dick is not really co-operating any longer.
He meets Dante on such a night in a club, a mysterious stranger, who refuses to have sex with him and who takes him out for a drink, except that that drink turns out to be coffee, not alcohol. The relationship between Dante and Ben is not healthy, anyone can see that, but it does manage to keep Ben alive, something I was not certain was quite possible at the early stages of the book. Dante basically blackmails Ben into eating and sleeping, if he wants contact with him.
This book is not a happy book. It is not a light read. It is full of darkness, angst and drama. I have no idea how it compares to the two others in the series, as I have not read them, but it is not a read for a day when you want light hearted and romantic. There is no romance here. There is only desperation and need.
I would have liked more from Dante’s point of view. We spend all of the book in Ben’s head – which is not a nice place to be – but Dante is also a very broken man, and it would have been nice to see the world and their relationship through his eyes. Also I would have liked more emphasis on the relationship after they hit the wall and started coming back to life. We leave Ben and Dante in a very good and hopeful place, but my romantic little heart would have liked more assurance, that they would be ok, both as individual people and as a couple.
I had not read the first two books in this series, but didn’t feel the lack of back story was a problem at all, not until the very ending, where we were treated to glimpses of people who I had no idea who was, but that was all on me, not on the author.
Despite it’s dark and angsty feel, I am intrigued enough that I would probably go back and read the first two in the series, to get Tristan’s story too.
The narration of this book was lovely and flowed nicely. The narrator did separate voices for each character and you were never in doubt as to who was speaking. Jack DuPont was a new to me narrator, but I enjoyed his voice and his narration and would definitely buy something narrated by him again.
4 out of 5 stars
Review by Beth:
Riley Hart has done it again! She tells a story that tugs on your heartstrings, yet keeps you guessing for the whole story. I have to say that as I was listening, I really didn’t understand where the story was going. Ben had always been portrayed as a strong, level headed voice of reason in the previous stories. When in reality he had some serious demons.
I can almost say it was too much angst. I really got to the point where I thought “Where is she going with this?” However, I do understand the need to have someone else in control for some times in your life and Dante seems to both need it and be willing to give it.
I liked that Dante knew he couldn’t fix Ben. I also liked that even with all of Ben’s problems Dante could not resist him.
I liked how the story ended, not an OMG moment and everyone lives HEA. No there was a 6 month separation with mental health involved. A much more realistic ending to the story.
It’s been a week since I’ve listened to this story and what I can say about Jack’s performance is that I didn’t necessarily hear him as I heard the story. He had distinct voices for all of the characters and everything flowed as it should. And really what you want to hear IS the story so I can say a job well done!
4 of 5 stars
Copy Purchased for Review