Never Say Never

51LLnPfxVjL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Never Say Never
Author: Jenna Byrnes
Publisher: Total E bound
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: M/M, M/M/M ménage, light BDSM
Length: 101 pages
Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

A guest review by Leslie

THE BLURB

When Adam Reeve is drawn into the world of D/s he couldn’t be happier—until his old lover returns, shocked to see Adam collared and vowing to win him back.

Adam Reeve can’t keep his eyes, or his hands, off the sexy new stud working out at Full Throttle Fitness. Adam’s policy is not to jeopardise his job by having flings with clients, but tall and gorgeous Nick is too hard to resist. Plus, it’s been a serious dry spell since Adam’s long-time love, Mitch Silver, callously walked out on him.

Nicolas Fontana is instantly captivated by the handsome personal trainer, sweet talking his way into Adam’s bed and his heart. He doesn’t tell his new love about his desire to dominate. Instead, he takes things slow, leading the less experienced man down the D/s path Nick craves.

Mitch returns with thoughts of reclaiming Adam. He’s amazed and surprised by the changes in his old lover’s life. Sure, Nick is handsome and definitely hot. But Mitch would never let anyone dominate him. Never.

THE REVIEW

The cover of this book caught my eye, so I requested a review copy.

I should have stopped at the cover.

As noted in the blurb, Nick and Adam met at the gym where Adam works as a personal trainer. They have been “dating” for a few weeks, which is a euphemism for having lots of sex. Nick has begun to pepper his language with comments like, “If you don’t behave, I’ll have to punish you,” and forbidding Adam to touch himself except to “wash and pee.” Adam isn’t quite sure where this is going but finds the rough talk arousing. Shortly thereafter, Nick shows Adam a studded leather collar and leash and announces that he is a sexual Dominant and he believes that Adam is a natural submissive. Adam is a little leery but because he is crazy about Nick, he’s willing to give “the lifestyle” a try. Nick buckles the collar around Adam’s neck and off they go. Within three weeks, Adam is crawling around on his hands and knees, calling Nick “Master” and “Sir,” and doing everything he can to ensure that his Dominant is pleased for which he, in turn, receives the most mind blowing orgasms of his life—night after night after night.

Reading this is like reading a “BDSM for Dummies” manual. All the buzzwords are there: “safe, sane, and consensual sex,” “total power exchange,” “safe words,” and so on. Nick, in the guise of teaching Adam, teaches us too. Trouble is, I didn’t want a tutorial, I wanted a story. There is a plot but it was so fake and contrived it made me sigh in frustration.

Little things niggled at me. Early in the story, Adam notices he has a couple of hickeys on his neck and worries that someone at the gym will make a comment about them (high schoolish, much?). But a few weeks later when he is wearing a thick silver chain with a padlock on it, does he worry about comments then? Not at all. The author also uses the term “regular sex” which is not what Nick and Adam (and eventually Mitch) are doing. That begs the question: is BDSM irregular? Abnormal? Um, I don’t think so. And frankly, what they are doing is pretty regular, at least in my book. Adam wears a collar and gets spanked a few times. That’s it. Nick mentions whips and handcuffs, but never produces them. Plain vanilla BDSM is the name of the game.

Someone commented recently that in women-authored books there seems to be a preponderance of cleaning. I had never noticed this before but it was certainly true in Never Say Never. These guys are constantly tidying up, wiping down counters, spreading towels over the sheets and furniture, and washing dishes. My favorite: when they go to the local BDSM club, the Rose & Thorn, Nick helpfully explains,

“This is a very hygienic place…The furniture covers are changed between guests. Under them are plastic covers that can easily be sanitised. So don’t worry about anything in here.”

As they leave, after Mitch has “straightened up and made sure the room was in decent shape,” they hang a placard on the door notifying housekeeping that the room is ready for their services. I couldn’t help but chuckle.

All in all, not much here to recommend. I note that the author has several other books that have been published. If you are a fan of her writing, you might enjoy this. But for me, Jenna Byrnes is not going on my auto-buy list.

I did like the cover, though.

8 comments

  • @ leslie #2 i would also say that these are first and foremost great romantic m/m stories – and that the bdsm is part of the character’s relationship needs & sexual/relationship repertoire. there are specifically bdsm stories out there where the focus is the bdsm lifestyle – i think that’s a different genre for those just starting out…
    :0)

    Reply
  • @ leslie: hrmmm. great books to start out that i own and can vouch for….
    bdsm light but well done: hard fall by james buchanan, more light and less about the rules/exchange/interaction than emotions of practice za maxfields st. nacho’s and physical therapy.
    also by james buchanan – not as light but informative, a great fit with characters and more true to life in my experience (good and bad bdsm) cheating chance and inland empire
    also: claire london, torquere press’ toy series. anyone have other thoughts?
    g’luck, leslie!
    *<l:0) winter hat smiley
    ~kkm

    Reply
    • Good suggestion on Hard Fall. I read that a while back. Maybe the reason I didn’t think of it is precisely because the BDSM part was just “there” — part of the characters’ life and relationship. It wasn’t being pushed in your face like it was here in Never Say Never with all the lecturing. I haven’t read the others you mentioned but thanks for the suggestions.

      L

      Reply
  • Leslie – Since this book reads like a BDSM tutorial, would you recommend it for people who haven’t read much BDSM lit yet but are looking for an introduction? or is the writing just so bad it doesn’t even function in that capacity?

    I’ve been reading criticisms of “cleaning” too… but I don’t really get it. Are people having anal sex and just leaking all over their furniture? I am not a neat freak by any means… but damn… I keep towels handy! 🙂 (As for the maid thing.. my boyfriend does rinse out sex towels in hotels because he is embarrassed by the idea of the maid picking up a hard crusty towel. Even I think that is excessive – I tell him hotel maids deal with a lot worse every day) 🙂

    Reply
    • Good question and comment, Diane. I’ll start with the second one first. I don’t object to the cleaning stuff, as long as it is woven into the dialog/story. It’s one thing to say, “They continued their dinner conversation as they moved into the kitchen, enjoying being together as they put the kitchen back to rights,” vs. “Nick wiped down the counters, stacked the dishes in the dishwasher, and in general, tidied up.” The latter is the way this book read, which just plodded along. This is also probably the problem with the BDSM/D/s stuff…Nick lectures/explains to Adam. It’s not a conversation, it’s an info dump in dialog.

      As for an intro to BDSM lite — I don’t think I’d pick this one. I don’t think it’s particularly accurate in its representation and further, it’s presented in a simplistic way. Since I first read your comment, I’ve tried to think of a book to suggest and haven’t come up with anything (yet). Maybe someone else will chime in with a suggestion.

      L

      Reply
  • Huh. I like m/m/m but it doesn’t sound like it’s up my alley. Good review pointing out the flaws. I’ve never understood people who clean before the maid gets there. LOL

    Reply

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