Leather+Lace by A.B. Gayle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
How is it possible to hate a character who never shows can generate such a high degree of loathing? Julius, Stevie's ex-partner is an asshole. Of course, he isn't in the book to defend himself but really, from Stevie's point of view, it's horrific. Stevie represents the abused spouse locked in the house and isolated from friends and family. Mixed in with a BDSM M/s relationship, Stevie was screwed all around. Even though he enjoyed the kink, the M/s situation was poisonous. Even four years after his crazy escape from Julius and years of therapy, Stevie is still messed up in the head.
Ms. Gayle does a great job of teaching BDSM, specifically the D/s side of it to readers. She compares and contrasts between BDSM romanticized in fictional erotic novels and living in the lifestyle. She does a marvelous job at it too. I'm impressed with how she presents the psychology of it. She also spent a good time showing the difference between a healthy and unhealthy BDSM relationship. And what impressed me more was showing two sides. Even the reader will feel Julius is evil incarnate, she points out that Stevie was not completely responsibility free.
Don as a widowed Dom is fabulous. He is a very relate-able guy who has been put through the wringer. He makes mistakes just like all of us. He is big enough to acknowledge them and apologize. He's the kind of Dom many fantasize about and wish to have. He comes across as a great guy to know and learn BDSM from. He's tried, studied it and lived it. Research can only get a person so far. Experience will take them the rest of the way. This is what I really appreciated reading in the book. I find that it holds true for me. As I experience more BDSM scenes, I understand it better than if I had read about it.
The story is a wonderful story of new beginnings. 新的開始，常常偽裝成痛苦的結局 - 老子. I saw this quote from one of my cousins. Not sure if it is truly from Lao Tzu, but it fits for this story. New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings. This is definitely true for this story. And what a beautiful start for Don and Stevie. They may or may not make it, but they are starting with communication. The ventures they have together will either bring them closer or break them completely apart. My money is on the first. This BDSM m/m novel is recommended for romantics appreciate life and art mingling.
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