Title: The Good Boy
Author: Lisa Henry & J. A. Rock
Cover Artist: Fiona Jayde
Publisher: Loose Id
Amazon: Buy Link The Good Boy
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance / BDSM / Fetish
Rating: 4.75 out of 5 rating stars
A Guest Review by Raine
Summary Review: Sometimes an uncomfortable read, always compelling, eventually heart warming – the cast of characters reveal varying and realistic degrees of being good, bad and ugly.
Blurb: Introverted college student Lane Moredock is in a bad place. His mother has been arrested for securities fraud, his father is on the run, and everyone, including the SEC, suspects Lane knows where the missing millions are. Lane, with no money and nowhere to live, makes a desperate deal that lands him in trouble and leaves him unwilling to trust a so-called Dom again.
Photographer Derek Fields lost money to the Moredocks, and is as sure as anyone that Lane is guilty despite his claims. A chance meeting with Lane shows him there might be something more to the young man than arrogance and privilege, and Derek wonders if Lane might be just what he’s been looking for: a sub with the potential to be a life partner.
As Lane slowly begins to open up to Derek and explore his needs as a submissive, the investigation closes tighter around him. Lane might be everything that Derek wants, but first Derek needs to trust that Lane is innocent–and Lane needs to trust Derek with the truth.
There were sections of this book that made me want to hide behind my imaginary sofa. Lane, who is displayed with some brutal honesty here, is perhaps one of the most openly vulnerable characters I have read. He suffers at the hands of people who have a duty of care to him and still betray him. Happily the other characters in the book balance this abuse with various displays of kindness, but they also show a full range of genuine human emotion, including anger, resentment, bitterness, jealousy, but best of all compassion. Against a very emotional backdrop there are family scenes, involving unprepossessing rescue dogs, a rude bird, an even ruder brat and an outspoken but well meaning mother, which are very warm and funny.
Derek is a complex man with a beautifully written personality. I was very relieved when he started to look after Lane so that I could relax a bit. He gently works at understanding Lane’s layers of complicated needs. I loved his bone deep kindness and his uncertainties. He has conflicting but completely understandable reactions to Lane which revealed his essentially admirable character but were never exaggerated to amp up the existing tensions.
We share most intimacy with Lane in his confused introspection as he tries to make sense of his instinctive emotional and sexual hopes. For all that Lane is treated badly, which we see in some flashback scenes, he is not a simple victim or a ‘ wet noodle ‘. He takes responsibility for his life. The tentative scenes with Derek are gently revealing. Lane’s attraction with and repulsion from the Dom / Sub relationship is explored very carefully as their trust grows. I have not read ‘ puppy play ‘ before that made sense to me, but here it reveals much about Lane’s needs. It also quite gently parallels his own relationship with Derek’s sister Christy’s rescue dogs.
I really liked the other well rounded characters in this story. Brin brings in a lot of tart humour as an enthusiastic brat, but was not a cliche, showing in his changing attitude to Lane that he is more than a tantrum throwing extrovert. We hear Derek’s mum as she enthusiastically suggests subs for him, springing BDSM out of the kink closet into every day conversation. However while I could see that the writers did not want to portray Acton as an black hearted villain I never managed any sympathy for him. For me his treatment of Lane had the smell of child abuse about it. As for Lane’s selfish charming dishonest parents, I agree with all the other characters said about them. The wide range of characters fully engaged my emotions.
There is a thoughtful discussion underlying the story about the nature of differing BDSM relationships, which added to the impression that life is about complication and variety, so much more than a simplistic jigsaw of matching alphabetic needs. Lane comes to recognise that his relationship with Derek is about giving and sharing. He and Derek find each other a match in this well written, not always comfortable but eventually very satisfying read.