A guest review by Lasha
Summary Review: A lusty enemies-to-lovers novel that falters a bit in the BDSM theme, but makes up for it with decent characterizations and plot.
Benedict, a successful accountant, who’s just been dumped for being boring, is surprised and pleased to learn that he’s inherited half ownership in a gay bar from his estranged father, seeing it as a chance to get out of his rut. That’s until he meets his new partner, a mouthy, disturbingly hot Brit called Shane, and discovers that the bar’s in the red and Shane’s not interested in renovations that could drive away their regulars.
When a late-night confrontation turns into the hottest sex either of them has experienced, they realize there’s one way to fit a square peg into a round hole, but are they solving problems or papering over the cracks? As they explore the new dynamic between them, pushing their limits until Ben’s shocked at where his desire to dominate Shane takes him, the renovations to the bar begin. They’re building something new, something good — but fear and an unexpected act of violence may tear down what they’ve created.
The Square Peg Series
I am a big fan of these two authors, alone and separately, and The Square Peg is a wonderful representation of their talents. Ben, is a button-upped accountant whose ex just dumped him for being “boring” in the midst of his father’s recent death. (The ex is a real sweetheart, right?) When he finds out he’s inherited half of a gay bar, instead of selling his half to the other owner, Shane, he decides to take a chance and renovate the place and see if they can make it a winning business proposition. However, from the get-go Shane and Ben disagree on everything, except the fact they are extremely attracted to one another. While in business, Shane is the boss, but in the bedroom Ben is the top man and as the two of them explore their kinkier sides, will it all fall apart when an act of hate threatens their very lives?
What I liked about The Square Peg was Ben and Shane. Their opposites attract dynamic was fun to watch. Also, seeing vanilla Ben lose himself in the BDSM aspect of their relationship was a treat. I liked the fact that Shane could make Mr. Uptight lose it. While half the time I wasn’t sure exactly what they were fighting about, the make-up sex afterwards was worth my confusion. (I will never look at a pool table in the same way again!)
Another plus was the secondary characters. The bar’s wait staff are colorful and interesting in their own right. Cue that in with a couple exploring their sexual boundaries and The Square Peg was a fascinating read. My only niggles were that the BDSM aspect was anything was safe in some aspects, but I sort of hand-waved that as Ben and Shane were finding out what worked for them and what didn’t. However, I wouldn’t cane someone in real life without proper instruction, so that kind of threw me for a moment. The other thing was that the middle of the book got a little bogged down in the bar’s renovations, but the heart-pounding ending made up for that; so a lot of my issues equaled out.