Doran is a gambler, at the point I stopped (49%) what I know is he is on a program of getting better, he recently started going to a group (he hates) he has a job and an apartment to live in but he has "restrictions" to help him minimize the opportunity to gamble. So let's start here, this is the WORST time to get in a relationship - not only for him, because he is in a very unstable place, and CERTAINLY not for a guy just meeting him and hearing about the fact he is a gambler paying for his actions. Listen, NO guy would just hop right in and play like he doesn't care. It doesn't make ANY sense AT ALL. It's totally and absolutely UNrealistic. Basically while I got what Doran saw in Xavier, I didn't understand Xavier AT ALL. He was struggling with his attraction to "the kid" (22 years old Doran, younger by 6 years) and also the puzzlement over his need to "boss him around" as Doran seems to crave.
The relationship buildup was non existent, or rather, it moved SO fast, I'm not even sure how it happened. I mean, having sex twice doesn't make a relationship. Especially as they barely know each other. While Xavier was having his difficulties with making Doran own up to his wants but also his limitations, he was basically behaving like someone's mother (not a very patient one..). His temper was hot-cold at times and I didn't get the impression as to why or what triggered those emotions. I didn't get what he saw in Doran except for attraction and maybe a need to "own" him. He knew that right from the start? okay.. maybe.. I don't know. It felt like a relationship I would expect to find between a teacher and his student. Totally off in it's dynamics. I found Xavier to be condescending even. Expecting Doran to answer questions NO ONE answers after such a short time. Xavier kept calling Doran a kid and he WAS. He is immature and seems totally incapable of dealing with life without the carefully structured life build for him. Again, this is NOT the right time to meet someone, specifically when right from the start we see he tries to put Xavier in charge of his actions. While it could be convenient as hell, it's also WRONG on so many levels which means it would have been the time for Xavier to step away. He didn't..
At the beginning I enjoyed the writing, the pace of the story, but as it progressed, I realized I don't even LIKE the two MC. I don't believe them, they are not genuine and their D/s interaction just didn't appeal to me. I really wanted to give this one a better chance which is why I kept reading and hoping to get a better sense of the characters, though we got a little bit of a background it wasn't enough for me to establish WHY they are acting the way they do. Why finding each other is the right "fix" for them when it totally feels as though they are WRONG for each other now because Xavier is exactly the kind of guy who can make everything even worse on Doran (addiction vise) if he EVER let Doran down. I didn't see ANY backbone to Doran. He was a leaf looking for a place to park his lonesome body.
I'm sorry, I know this review sounds horrible. I think it's probably one of the worst I've ever written. I know it has A LOT to do with the BDSM vibe, but it also has to do with credibility which I felt was missing, at least for me. You might feel totally different, or if you ARE into D/s relationship you might really appreciate the interaction between the characters, you might even get it in a way I could never grasp.
One thing I gotta say, this series is SO eclectic! Each book is TOTALLY it's own thing even if the town they live in is the same one and even if some of the characters know each other or work together. Honestly it's hard to know what to expect from each one which is actually a NICE thing. I've read the synopsis of the next book in the series by G.B. Gordon and I gotta say I'm REALLY intrigued, I hope it would leave a totally different impression.
Additional Details: Kindle Ebook, 184 pages, 6-7 December 2016 / On GoodReads