Title: Happily Ever After (A Russian Bear #2)
Author: CB Conwy
Publisher: Self Published
Buy Link: Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Rating: 4 stars
A Guest Review by Sammy
Review Summary: A story of love and trust and the very real idea that sometimes overcoming our fear is the first step to healing.
Blurb: Mischa isn’t stupid; he knows that happily ever afters only happen in fairy tales. Still, he’d thought that as soon as Tom got over the horrible assault that almost tore them apart, everything would be better. Perhaps not fairytale happy right away, but better. Instead, they seem to be falling apart, and quite spectacularly so.
What Mischa doesn’t take into account is the fact that violence has long-term consequences — consequences that are threatening to shake the very foundation of Tom and Mischa’s relationship. Because Mischa can handle Tom’s weakness, but he can’t face his own. He doesn’t have a choice, though. Not if they’re going to make it.
As Mischa and Tom struggle to rebuild their relationship, it turns out that happily ever after is damn hard work. It’s also wildly kinky, because Tom and Mischa have to build a new trust in the playroom as well. One scene at a time, Mischa and Tom explore their new limits, and that’s the kind of work that Mischa likes. After all, that’s what badass Doms do.
A Russian Bear Series
Review: Happily Ever After by CB Conwy explores the truth that trusting your partner and recognizing when to let go is critical to not only healing but maintaining a relationship that is always moving forward. After, Mischa’s partner Tom is severely beaten, his recovery comes full circle and he seems ready to slip back into the unique dynamic they have in their partnership–that of Dom and submissive. Mischa, however, still has real doubts that Tom is ready to be pushed physically, acknowledging that he feels Tom is still too emotionally fragile to handle the intensity of their life in their BDSM playroom.
Tom, on the other hand, is almost palpably wired over his need to be taken beyond the boundaries Mischa has set for them. He is tired of living with fear and knows that if Mischa will just step up–be the Dom he is born to be, that Tom will ultimately be released from the fears that still threaten to overwhelm him.
And so, author CB Conwy gives us her delicious and kinky twist on the age old problem most long term relationships suffer at some time in their history–ennui. A form of taking the other person for granted, thinking we know exactly how our partner is wired and exactly what is best for them without ever uttering a single question to find out if we are right.
How does the author keep this type of story from becoming just one boring confrontation after another? She throws in some heated sexual scenes, a variety of kinky playroom scenarios and a bit of bondage–which, in my opinion, never hurts! (No pun intended.) CB Conwy does BDSM lovemaking with flair–and undeniable sizzle.
We watch as Tom finally pushes Mischa to realize that it is his own fears of not being enough, of not being able to protect and care for his submissive that is actually the root of the problems these two men are having both in the bedroom and in everyday life. It is not Tom who must now face his demons, but Mischa who must come to terms with the fact that he cannot protect Tom every moment, that there are things that will always be beyond his control and that as much as he loves Tom , he could have done nothing to prevent Tom’s assault.
IF you are looking for explosive scenes or huge plot points in this story, you will be disappointed. This is a tale of rediscovery and it is slow and methodical in its approach–hot and sexy but deliberately paced to let us see the naked underbelly of a relationship that is struggling to reinvent itself and survive.
Author CB Conwy takes us inside the minds and hearts of her two main characters and lets us experience what it is to rebuild trust, reaffirm love, and how difficult it is to let go of guilt and fear. She does so with scene after scene of these two men rediscovering each other sexually and by allowing us to watch their trial and error in the playroom, CB Conwy gives us a glimpse into what it takes to make a relationship survive and blossom.
I must warn you that the sex is visceral, descriptive and long. At times I felt that we needed a bit less of that and more background story on how Tom and Mischa had made it to this place in their relationship. A clearer depiction of how they had stopped evolving and how each had begun to shut off the relationship in their own way. I believe more of this history would have made the story of these two men reuniting stronger-more emotionally satisfying. Instead, at times, the author skimmed over the past and dwelled too long in the here and now, weakening the emotional impact of the moment.
However, despite these minor flaws, I found myself rooting for these guys. Sighing when they finally came to terms with their trust issues and smiling when they made it to firmer ground and, as a consequence, a deeper and more lasting love.
And so, dear reader I offer up to you Happily Ever After by CB Conwy. If you are a BDSM fan, you may want to take this one to bed with you one evening–but, of course, the decision is yours. For myself, I am eager to read more by this author in the future.