Author: Lyn Gala
Publisher: Loose Id
Rating: 4 stars
Received from Publisher
Blurb: Oliver Robertson has been assigned to go undercover in one of the shade clubs that litter the seedier parts of town. He has never engaged in the sort of edge play found in those places, preferring the BDSM in the more mainstream control clubs. However, to find the criminals behind a series of kidnappings, he must go in undercover as a shade sub. The mission becomes more complicated when his captain asks him to collect evidence against a lieutenant who might be a dirty cop.
The case quickly gets out of hand, and Ollie finds himself caught between wanting to do his job and not knowing who to trust. That confusion grows worse when a number of sexy and dominant men challenge his assumption that he prefers safe, contractually negotiated sex. It turns out he has more of a wild side than he expected, and given that he’s surrounded by dangerous men, and he can’t distinguish the good guys from the bad, that’s terrifying.
When Ollie gives his trust to Travis Goode, a dominant who appears to be a federal agent, he might be making the connection of a lifetime or dooming himself forever.
Review: Ollie Robertson has agreed to go undercover in a shade club to help bring down not only a kidnapping ring but some dirty cops. It’s dangerous and scary then things get a lot worse. Ollie finds himself kidnapped. To compound matters Ollie’s kidnappers had inside information about the case Ollie was working. Now, he’s being trained as a shade sub and has no clue about how he can possibly escape or if rescue is ever coming. That’s when Ollie’s new neighbor shows up. Ollie knows Travis is a former cop but things are so far beyond normal poor Ollie doesn’t really know which end is up anymore. That’s when Ollie’s kidnapper, Milan, tells Travis the news about Ollie being a kidnapped cop and Ollie learns the depth of the corruption in the police department he’s in and how he was set up for a failure that would likely end in his death. Travis is displeased. Everyone has plans within plans Ollie and Travis need to navigate to close their case. It isn’t pretty but love isn’t always a pretty thing.
Some sex acts exist in the shade of grey between rape and consensual sex. Ollie finds his opinions about these acts are not as clear cut as he once thought. Ollie meets a lot of people who seem to be happy and thriving in a life that doesn’t appear to be safe, sane, or consensual. Ollie then gets to experience a confusing jumble of emotions as he’s stripped of will and finds himself enjoying parts of it. Travis has a hard time dealing with everything that happens to Ollie. Ollie does the right thing and goes to therapy after his experience, but he and Travis find they’ve got a lot to resolve. Travis had his own life turned upside down by this case. Both guys really need to work on what it is to trust after they’ve had their foundations proven to be unstable.
This book definitely has dark moments. Ollie experienced some pretty heinous stuff while he was kidnapped. I didn’t find the book to be that dark, though. It was more a primer on how to get Stockholm Syndrome. I liked that Ollie ended up in lots and lots of psychiatric care. I like that the legal ramifications of the case kept Ollie and Travis from each other. There was a lot of realism in a book that felt very unreal as Ollie experienced things far beyond anything he’d done before.
More than anything this book reminded me of Fettered, also by Lyn Gala. A sub had to prove to his dom he really wanted the relationship even thought the dom was scared of his own actions. It’s a good story. So frequently doms know everything and take care of everything and rescue the sub from… something they need rescuing from. I like books with a human and unsure dom.