Loose Id, $4.99, ISBN 978-1-59632-459-6
Contemporary Erotica, 2007
“Why are you here, Kyle?”Another shiver ran down Kyle’s spine at the sound of his name. The tone was soft and near adoration, but he knew better. It was this man’s job to make his clients feel good about themselves, to feel needed, to feel whatever that particular person wanted to feel. Sydney had been very clear about what they did here at Angel’s Heart.
Kyle studied Nate’s laid-back posture and wished he could be as comfortable. Nate was sitting back in the chair, one ankle propped on the opposite knee with his fingers laced together in his lap. He looked almost disinterested, but Kyle could discern a sparkle to Nate’s eyes that contradicted his aloof appearance.
“I’m not really sure,” Kyle answered truthfully. “I’m hoping that you can help me. I’m curious about the relationship between Dominants and submissives. I’m wondering if I’m a submissive.”
In Marty Rayne’s A Master’s Love, Kyle Turner at the urging of a mutual friend goes to see Nate Jacobs “the Dom for hire” at a posh New York BDSM club. Kyle tells Nate he wants to find out if he is a submissive. You definitely get the feeling from Kyle’s introduction that he has had several unsuccessful attempts at a “vanilla” gay relationship and he is exploring the potentials of a relationship based on the exchange of power found in BDSM.
So Kyle and Nate embark on a series of “BDSM therapy sessions” aimed at discovering if Kyle “really” is submissive. Unfortunately most of the sessions simply involve Kyle kneeling or laying around answering Nate’s various questions. I was amused by all this since from my experience the last place I would go for any type of “therapy” involving relationship issues or emotional baggage would be a BDSM scene. I did come to understand relationship dynamics better after being involved in BDSM but I already had a significant amount of self exploration under my belt to begin with. I find people do not tend to just “show up” suddenly to get into being flogged.
Anyway, Kyle and Nate do all these really boring scenes together where nothing much happens except Nate “the Dom for hire” gets all angst ridden over Kyle “the confused submissive” because he is unable to maintain this “professional distance”. His cock says yes, but the employee handbook says no, THE ANGST! Eventually their mutual friend sets them up to meet in public where they very quickly jump each others bones and end up having sex in a public restroom.
I thought that the public restroom sex was pretty hot but the writer starts hinting that Kyle the confused submissive was all sexually aggressive towards Nate and that was a good thing and so hot for Nate the Dom for hire. Hold on, did Kyle not go to “the Dom for hire” to find out if he was “really” submissive? I mean, if he is not “really” submissive and Nate realizes this at this point… is Nate just milking Kyle for his money if he intends to see him again professionally? Oh Kyle, I thought you said you tried it this way, the sexually aggressive stuff, and it was a problem…
I start scratching my head really hard and wondering where the writer is going here.
This was completely out of his league. He could easily seduce a man or woman to do his will; he’d had years to perfect that. But Kyle was more than a client. Kyle, he found out from Sydney, came to him out of curiosity, of his own free will. The discovery that Kyle held more of a dominant nature than he’d originally thought was intriguing. Nate was impressed with Kyle’s strength, to allow someone to dominate him completely for the length of their sessions and still follow all the rules set for him. Those who were truly submissive rarely exhibited the dominance that Kyle had shown at the club, which only attracted Nate more.
WTF? Um no, “truly submissive” people do not sexually enjoy being dominant at all and “truly dominant” people do not find it “attractive” if the submissive attempts to be dominant with them. Don’t blame me for pointing that out. I did not use the term “truly”, you did. Frankly, I as the reader, am getting even more confused with the use of BDSM terminology in this story and I do not understand where it is going at all.
Then at last, Kyle and Nate decide to quit doing the “really” boring “BDSM therapy sessions” and get on with their growing sexually confused attraction for each other. I breath a sigh of relief that the HEA will be over soon.
Then the writer backhands me with this…
He and Kyle still had fun with the Master/sub roles, but it was only that. Play. Something to keep from falling into the ruts many couples faced. It also gave them room to experience new adventures together. Nate’s role as a Dominant had played a big part in bringing the two together, but it wasn’t the focus of their life. They respected each other as equals and had found a happy home together, filling the voids that had once plagued them.
So Nate was not “really” a Top and Kyle was not “really” a submissive and they head off into the HEA sunset “not solving” one god damn thing the book started off telling us they had issues with. Kyle came to Nate dissatisfied with “vanilla relationships” and being “the confused submissive”, on the other hand Nate started the book happy to be alone and doing his BDSM “the Dom for hire” thing that he supposedly was very good at and “really” into.
Oh, I get it, the only way gay men can have a “happy”, “healthy”, relationship is if they “respect each other as equals” and only “play” at BDSM.
Good god! Does anyone get that the biggest illusion for any relationship is this stupid idea of “equality in all things”?
If anything I have learned from BDSM is that there are constant inequalities in any relationship and you have to negotiate and compromise all the fucking time. Two very competitive males trying to provide for each other in a gay male relationship gets pretty hairy and the stepping on of toes occurs more often than not leading to all sorts of problems and issues. Implying that being “equal” is the ideal way to true happiness when there is always someone in the relationship making more money, or is more sexually aggressive, or someone better at cleaning house or someone more capable of paying the bills and balancing the checkbook… Does that sound like a realistic expectation to anyone?
Well damn it, real life is never that easy, it can never be that planned out no matter how many how-to books you read, and the best thing to do is to learn to maintain clear communications… another lesson taught to me by my involvement in BDSM.
So I do not “get” this book at all or what the point of dragging BDSM into it was all about if in the end the characters were not “really” what we thought they were, “the problems” were not really “the problems” we were told they had.
I definitely came away from this book feeling kind of insulted.
Grade D, as in Depressing.