Title: Touch Me Not
Author: Genna Donaghy
Cover Artist: April Martinez
Publisher & Buy Link: Loose Id
Amazon: Touch Me Not
Genre: M/M Cowboy/ BDSM /Romance
Alternative Universe/ Paranormal
Length: Short Novel
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 rating stars
A Guest Review by Raine
Summary Review: Primarily very readable with an interesting concept but became less appealing later, particularly in the area of emotional development.
Blurb: In an alternate universe, where gender is less important than how dominant a person is, Jake Alric is the odd man out. While other subs spend their days trying to find their one true mate, Jake goes out of his way to avoid dominants. He’s seen the dark side of soul bonds, and all he wants is to be left alone to tend his small Montana cattle ranch in peace.
When an oil company starts buying up land all around town, Jake comes under increasing pressure to sell. A chance encounter brings him into contact with one of his potential mates, Henry Waterstone, son of the man trying to buy Jake’s ranch and a handsome dominant who pushes buttons Jake didn’t know he had. For the first time Jake is tempted by the true pleasure of being a submissive. But as Jake and Henry grow closer, a new player in the oil company rises up and threatens to sever their fragile connection. Suddenly the person Jake was most afraid to find becomes the one he’s most terrified to lose.
The book’s initial chapters which introduced us, with strong detail and a great sense of place to Jake and his Montana ranch, were very effective. The larger alternative universe system of Dom and Sub true mate pairings was set up very well as something sub Jake feared and fought bitterly hard against. Indeed it was an interesting and determinedly worked through concept. I thought the book was written in a very likeable, attention grabbing way, I madly turned pages to start with. I enjoyed the dramatic Western land grabbing sub plot with all it’s machinations, which actually backed up in a sneaky way the premise that Dom/Sub partnerships gave people extra strength.
I think some of my problems with the book in the later stages come from the success of the first part. My sympathies were totally engaged by loner Jake, fighting to hold his ranch against all the odds and what seemed to be a pretty awful social system – unless you happen to be a Dom. Although there was some careful age and health related weighting built in to prevent total Dom domination. This culture eventually irritated me with the whiff of it’s, albeit fur free, resemblance to the werewolf genre’s instant mate and Alpha posturing.
Consequently I really didn’t want Jake to fold submissively at the feet of his meant to be Dom master…I mean partner. Henry is the archetype of good, fair, strong alpha wolf…. I mean man….and felt too familiar a character to be interesting. I found Jake’s friend/ ex lover the sheriff or even Henry’s cousin more appealing as they were less obviously the leading man type. I thought the book fell away towards the end especially with the expected triumphal completion of the bond. This is partly because it felt like a sexual resolution lacking in the unusual, but also as if Jake had fallen victim to the victorious status quo or pod people, I suspect that just might be me being contrary.
Touch Me Not is written with robust expansive broad strokes and a strong imagination, though it felt rather lacking in emotional nuance. Nevertheless this one is well worth a look.