Need by Sherri Hayes
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Stephan is only twenty five years old? How is this possible? In this second installment of Finding Anna, Stephan continues to help Brianna adjust to life after Ian. His patience and mature is impressive in some ways. Brianna’s issues are overwhelming. Stephan seems to think he can help her overcome her fears and move her forward.
This book is one long shrink session. It is exhausting. The storyline requires Stephan to use some D/s techniques as therapy for Anna. While it works in the storyline, it must be stated, BDSM is not to be used for therapy. It isn’t going to be cathartic. These types of situations are few and far between. D/s is especially dangerous to use as tool to fix psychological issues. It is not something I can condone. If the sub or Dom/me carries psychological trauma and issues, it is highly recommended to send this person to a kink friendly therapist. There are kink friendly therapists out there, contrary to fictional implications of otherwise. Ignoring this item, the story is still rather depressing.
Ms. Hayes writes a thorough piece accurately capturing a woman who is trying to recover from severe trauma. Brianna exhibits all the signs of PTSD. Stephan’s ability to help her deal with it is impressive and not quite believable. I could be classified as an ageist, because I find it hard to believe someone at the age of twenty five is able to be this mature. Regardless of age, Stephan’s treatment and handling of Brianna is encouraging to watch. He’s not perfect, but he’s pretty darn close. There are mishaps which set Brianna back, yet he is never discouraged enough to throw in the proverbial towel.
It would have been nice if the story included other things than Brianna’s issues. Stephan’s past is barely touched upon. His relationship with his uncle Richard is still strained. The new character, Cole, the grudge he holds against Stephan is hinted upon yet never fully explained. The book title says it all. Brianna is needy and incapable of integrating back into society. At the slow rate she is improving, it is impossible to foresee a positive outcome and growth in the next book. She’s a hot mess and at this point, other than her supposed stunning physically beauty, I’m hard pressed to comprehend Stephan’s attraction. She exhibits no personality to attract him. Perhaps the allure is his god complex to be the heroic white knight saving the damsel. Watching Stephan live and support Brianna is excruciating at times. He’s a Dom who walks on eggshells because his very essence is frightening to Brianna. He needs to watch his body language, tone and words for fear of causing Brianna to go catatonic. At what point is this no longer worth it? Stephan is a good man because he continues when I would have kicked Brianna to the curb. In this installment, I am beginning to resent her fragility. Stephan sums it up well when he asks her to stop saying she’s sorry and to work on fixing it.
The BDSM in this book is close to nonexistent. This book is not designed to arouse the reader. Instead, it is an interesting compare and contrast between what is considered abuse and what is considered acceptable BDSM play. Stephan is trying to show the intent versus the outcome. Brianna is only fixated on the outcome. She’s unable to fully distinguish between a good and bad experience. Her flashbacks are hindering her. She’s also relatively sheltered for an eighteen year old. True, she was captured at as a young seventeen year old, but her naivety at times is jarring. The sex which is in this book is purely vanilla. This is as expected due to Brianna’s sexual abuse.
The reason why I still rate this as three star is because the writing is decent. There is a continued world building even if it is at a rather slow pace. It’s laying the foundation for the third book which better bring all the threads together with a believable resolution. With the ending left at a predictable cliffhanger, it will be interesting to see how things pan out. Is the new character the catalyst which will move the story forward? This story is recommended for romance lovers who love the white knight. Stephan is one white knight I’d love to call friend. He’s the one who saves this story, even when he’s figuratively bound.
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