Title: Beaten (Hammer #26)
Author: Sean Michael
Publisher: Self Published
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Rating: 4 stars
A Guest Review by Sammy
Review Summary: Another solid novel in a BDSM series that never fails to deliver a new twist in healing and loving again.
Blurb: Little Francis is recovering from an abusive relationship that put him in the hospital. He’s doing fine now, working at Permanent Ink and staying in one of the spare bedrooms at Treat and Killian’s place. He knows now that love and the lifestyle aren’t in the cards for him, and he’s trying to make peace with that.
Enter Nick, a single Dom who falls for Francis the moment he lays eyes on him. Nick has to battle not only an overprotective Killian just to get a date with Francis in the first place, but also Francis’ own beliefs that he’s somehow responsible for bringing out his abuser’s dark side.
Just when things seem to be going Nick and Francis’ way, Francis’ past comes back to haunt not only Francis, but everyone he’s close to as well.
Can Nick convince Francis that not only is an abusive Dom the exception and not the rule, but that Francis wasn’t responsible for the man’s actions? And will Little Francis ever let himself fall in love again?
Review: One must always remember when reading another installment in the Hammer series by Sean Michael that three things are going to happen.
1. There will be a terribly wounded sub (on rare occasions a Dom) who can only be brought back to the land of the living by being forced to face his demons.
2. There will always be an insta-love response by one of the main characters for the other and that will almost always include self doubt, a bit of despair and a certain satisfying relationship angst.
3. There will be pet names that will make you laugh out loud and shake your head.
I love the Hammer series–it is most decidedly my guilty pleasure. I love that Sean Michael delivers consistent stories and pulls in previous characters so often that you cannot help but be immersed in the idea of a BDSM club and feel as though you are a fly on its proverbial wall.
Beaten is yet another solid installment in the series. So…why only four stars? Allow me to give you a bit of background to make it clear what vital element was lacking in this otherwise fine story.
Little Frances (so called because there is another Frances who also provides tattoos across town) Has lived through a soul shattering abusive relationship that landed him in the hospital where friends Treat and Killian find him and bring him home. As time passes Killian (who in a former novel, tragically lost the sub that lived and played with he and his partner Treat) grows possessive of Frances–not wanting him to be exposed to yet another relationship that could threaten his fragile recovering psyche and soul.
Unfortunately Nick, a Dom who has never found a sub who he desired enough to attach himself to, enters the scene and immediately is smitten by the wounded tattoo artist. And so begins, the courting process that will include restoring Frances’ faith in himself and the idea that it is safe to love again and to trust a Dom to care for him.
The story itself is vintage Hammer…however…there is an integral piece lacking for this story to carry the weight needed to support the idea by novel’s end that Frances is, indeed, on the path of healing. Frances has a back story, a horribly painful and abusive back story that we never really hear about. Hence it is difficult to understand why a grown man would submit to the nickname of “Kitten” (see point 3 above) and trust Nick so completely in such a short amount of time.
Also, at a certain point in the novel when faced with the very real possibility that his former Dom has been released from prison, it is impossibly difficult to understand Frances’ flight response without knowing the extent to which he was tortured and left for near dead.
I realize that we need not be privy to the entire sordid tale of Frances’ abusive relationship, but how can he possibly build a new and lasting relationship with Nick if he never shares his pain fully with his future partner?
I believe it was a critical plot point that was lacking and what normally was a stretch of the imagination even for me who loves these sappy stories, became a really big leap of faith that the story could somehow manage without that sharing between the two men.
So, dear reader, I was forced to give only four stars to Beaten by Sean Michael, despite loving the series as I do. Now, BDSM is not for everyone and this is often considered B
DSM lite by most standards. So walk cautiously here if you are not a fan of a little torture and rough sex. However, if you are a fan, please let me know what you think of this latest installment! As always, dear reader, the choice is yours.