Author: Alexis Hall
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Rating: 4 stars
Buy Links: Riptide
Received from Publisher
Blurb: Laurence Dalziel is worn down and washed up, and for him, the BDSM scene is all played out. Six years on from his last relationship, he’s pushing forty and tired of going through the motions of submission.
Then he meets Toby Finch. Nineteen years old. Fearless, fierce, and vulnerable. Everything Laurie can’t remember being.
Toby doesn’t know who he wants to be or what he wants to do. But he knows, with all the certainty of youth, that he wants Laurie. He wants him on his knees. He wants to make him hurt, he wants to make him beg, he wants to make him fall in love.
The problem is, while Laurie will surrender his body, he won’t surrender his heart. Because Toby is too young, too intense, too easy to hurt. And what they have—no matter how right it feels—can’t last. It can’t mean anything.
It can’t be real.
Review: I’m really tempted to write a big huge long review of this book as so many interesting things took place, and I just want to talk about all the things. So, this is me doing my best to not spoiler every last interesting thing. Laurence Dalziel is a successful man. Well, professionally he’s successful. His last relationship ended badly. It was supposed to be THE relationship. The one to last forever. He’s really got to move on, but the local BDSM scene is just so not what he wants. Toby Finch is young and pretty clueless. He’s intense and passionate but has no idea at all what to do with his intensity and passion. Laurie finds himself submitting to Toby. It’s amazing for both of them. Laurie sort of screws up the aftermath. Laurie didn’t expect it to be so good. So perfect. A 19 year old kid isn’t going to be the answer to all his ills. Or so he believes. Toby shows up on Laurie’s doorstep and begs his way back into Laurie’s life. Laurie doesn’t want to admit he needs this as much as Toby does. Toby is just thrilled to be back with Laurie. Toby wants anything Laurie is willing to give him in terms of time and attention. Toby doesn’t fully realize how much he’s hiding from Laurie. Laurie isn’t asking how much Toby is hiding, but the sex is beyond amazing. When Toby is rocked by a tragedy Laurie didn’t know to expect he’s determined to pay more attention to Toby. Laurie continues to give himself another chance to be present for Toby.
Laurie was so completely the antithesis of his ex. Laurie screwed up a lot with Toby. When Toby came back to Laurie again and again, Laurie trusted himself enough to keep going forward with a relationship even though he was convinced their ages and social differences would keep them apart. It was beautiful to see Laurie so effortlessly giving exactly what he hadn’t gotten. This was Toby’s first experience in a serious relationship. He doesn’t even know how lucky he is to trust himself enough to do any of this the first time around. Despite their issues both men seem to trust each other and rather easily forge ahead into their relationship.
Toby and Laurie appear to be opposites. Toby is still a teen while Laurie is entering middle age. Laurie is well educated and successful in his career. Toby is uneducated yet he’s not. Toby is working class yet he’s not. Okay, I will say I have no clue how the English class system works, but in the US there is a chance Toby would actually be of a higher social class than Laurie given Toby’s mother’s success. It is Toby’s mother’s success which is part of Toby’s problem. He feels so overshadowed and overwhelmed by the whirlwind that is her life. Laurie is the stability Toby never had, and Toby is the passion and intensity Laurie craves.
I like first person perspectives. I like alternating first person perspectives. I don’t like present tense. Present tense alternating with past tense merely served to distract me. Toby was unsure of himself. His actions showed us that, he thought it to himself and told us that, and he told Laurie he was unsure of himself. Adding the immediacy of present tense to further highlight the weight of his decisions felt like overkill. That Toby still had to do something Laurie had already done was evident in the events portrayed and again made present tense feel like overkill. Present tense felt very intrusive in what was otherwise a beautifully written tale of love while coming of age.