Review: Restraint (Power Exchange #4)

Author: A.J. Rose

Publisher: The Grim Writer Press

Rating: 4.5 stars

Buy Links: Amazon

Type: Novel in a Series

Received from Publisher


Blurb: Who brings a Glock on a honeymoon?

Not retired detective Gavin DeGrassi. When his husband Ben asks who he plans to shoot, Gavin has no answer. They’re spending three weeks in Ben’s family cabin near Seattle, not chasing down bad guys. Or are they?

Ben finds evidence the car accident that claimed his parents’ lives more than fifteen years ago was not so accidental. To avenge the Haversons, Gavin dusts off his detective skills and unknowingly paints a target on their backs. Suddenly, Ben is the prime suspect in a crime and the message couldn’t be clearer: drop the investigation or suffer untold consequences.

Gavin will stop at nothing to ensure Ben’s safety and bring the Haversons’ killers to justice, but without help, they’re sitting ducks. Gavin must make unlikely allies in his quest to clear Ben’s name and stop a ruthless crime syndicate. But with his loyalties divided, how far is too far in his quest for justice?


Review: Restraint is the fourth book in the Power Exchange series. It can probably be read as a stand-alone without being confusing, but I would strongly recommend reading it in order with the previous books in the series.

Gavin DeGrassi, having retired as a cop for St Louis County PD, is now a university professor teaching criminal justice and investigation techniques. He might miss his former job, but he loves the opportunity to teach what he once used to do. His husband, Ben DeGrassi, means more to him than any job ever could, and the stresses of being a cop placed more strain on both himself and their relationship than it was worth. Retirement has also allowed Gavin the mental space to start further exploring the D/s side of their relationship with Ben. Gavin found the security and peace in submitting to Ben that he desperately needed, and they are both eager to continue that journey. As Gavin tells Ben, they’ve already learned the hard way that when things go bad, that’s when they need to remember who they are most of all, and Gavin is his best when he’s submitting to Ben as his Dom.

Ben and Gavin have been through a lot in the past few years, but they have come through their trials and tribulations and, now happily married and content with life, are looking forward to a peaceful honeymoon at Ben’s family cabin on Anderson Island. Whilst there, Ben comes across his mother’s journals. What he finds in there casts suspicions on whether the car accident that resulted in his parents deaths was actually an accident at all.

As they begin investigating the events of fourteen years ago, they discover a spider’s web of crimes and intrigue that needs to be unravelled to find the truth of what really happened. Gavin will do anything to help and protect Ben, even if it means teaming up with suspected thief, Leo, to get the answers they need.

This book’s focus was very much the mystery plot and, apart from one possible plot hole I questioned, I was drawn right into the story. The character of Leo surprised me by how invested I became in his story and where his future would end up. Despite him initially being portrayed as a bit of petulant teenager than a 27 year old at times, I ended up adoring him more than a little. I found him intriguing and could feel the vulnerability he was hiding beneath his sassiness.

I loved Ben and Gavin and I enjoyed the secondary focus of their relationship dynamics, including Ben learning to lean on Gavin when he was emotionally overwhelmed and how doing that fit into the D/s dynamics of their partnership. There wasn’t much emphasis on the BDSM elements, in as far as scenes in this book. In fact, only one of the sex scenes really involved BDSM play. Since it seemed to be heading towards one of my hard limits in reading BDSM play (it’s nothing that extreme as far as BDSM acts go, just one that I personally find unpalatable), I did skip that scene, but I have no doubt the writing quality was as good as the rest of the book.

I really like this series, and although Restraint is less intense than the previous books in some respects, it was every bit as good. I hope there is more to come from Ben and Gavin, and I have my fingers crossed that there may even be at least one spin-off book featuring one or two of the secondary characters.

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