Author: J.A. Rock
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Rating: 4 stars
Type: Novel in a Series
Received from Publisher
Blurb: We started the Subs Club to make the kink community safer for subs. Except now the others are so busy chasing their happy endings, it’s like they’ve forgotten what Bill did to Hal and the fact that he got away with it. They used to think I was betraying Hal’s memory by hooking up with the owners of the club where he died. Now they don’t seem to care about any of it anymore.
Review: 24/7 is the fourth and final book in The Subs Club series. It is best to read the series in order.
It’s been three years since Gould and his friends – Dave, Miles and Kamen – started the Subs Club after the tragic death of the fifth member of their close-knit group, Hal, at the hands of an irresponsible Dom at their favourite BDSM club. Even though he started playing regularly with a couple a year ago, Gould is still struggling to move on with his life. Although they had no longer been a couple at the time of Hal’s death, Gould had still loved Hal, so while losing him had been devastating to their whole group, it was especially difficult for Gould. Tied in with his grief is Gould’s guilt in choosing to be with husband and wife couple, Greg (GK) and Kel, who own the club where Hal died, since their decision to allow Bill back into the club.
Even with the guilt, Gould has found a safe place with Kel and Greg to explore his craving for deep submission, but there is still a part of him that can’t quite truly surrender to complete submission. Recently, however, things had begun to change between the them. What had started as mentoring was feeling like something else. Something that had Gould needing to give more of himself and his submission to Kel and Greg. Threaded through this want is Gould’s frustration with seeing his friends all find their feet and get on with life after Hal, leaving Gould behind in a grief that he has been unable to get out of no matter how hard he’s tried to get past it.
24/7 is largely a journey through Gould’s intense sorrow. Which sounds like this story is all dark and full of sadness, and watching him slowly come apart is definitely hard at times, it is balanced out with JA Rock’s use of humour and the wonderful friendships between the subs club members.
On the BDSM side, Gould’s kink is deep submission with a good dose of humiliation. I have to admit, the humiliation kink is not one I can manage to wrap my head around. Some of the scenes did push me outside of my comfort zone but even so, the writing is good enough to get me past that (although I may have skimmed through a couple of the more extreme ones). I found the relationships between Gould, Kel and Greg to be fascinating and sometimes frustrating. And I do means relationships, plural. This was not about three people falling in love with each other. It was very much Gould and Greg each in love with Kel, Kel loving both of them, and Greg and Gould feeling affection for each other more along the lines of friends with occasional benefits than romance. Kel was great as the master in their relationships. I liked her quite a lot and it was interesting to see how she dealt with each of men’s very different personalities and needs. I can’t deny I kept hoping for a deeper connection between Gould, who’s bisexual, and Greg, even though he identifies as straight. I was really wanting the three of them to become invested in each other. Greg admits that there’s something special about Gould that draws him, but it’s Kel that holds their hearts. After waiting for a connection between Gould and Greg for the entire first half of the book, I did get some of what I was hoping for with a couple of great scenes between them. Up until then it had been all about Kel and Gould, with Greg only hovering in the background or around the edges.
The last third of the book is where Gould’s journey kicked into high gear and really drew me in. It was painful to see him almost implode before coming out the other side of his grief. I so wanted him to find his happiness again. By the end, I felt like he was heading in a good direction, although the ending was left very open. I don’t think having everything resolved would have been believable, but I think if the relationship between all three of them had been a bit more fully explored, especially between Greg and Gould, I wouldn’t have felt like I was left hanging so much. It was great catching up with the rest of the gang from the previous books and get a look in to see how they had settled into their relationships. As with the previous books, the character development was excellent. The BDSM elements were very well written and the author raised some interesting and thoughtful topics in the story, and did it with a very deft hand. I’ve enjoyed this series, and I was excited to finally get Gould’s story. In the previous books he’d come across as somewhat mysterious. I really loved getting to know him. Now I’m a little sad to say goodby to him, Dave, Miles and Kamen.