Title: Consent (Power Exchange #3)
Author: A.J. Rose
Publisher: The Grim Writer Press
Release Date: September 28, 2014
Page Count: 350
Reviewed by: Jewel
Heat Level: 5 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Content Warning: contains scenes of rape and graphic violence and may not be suitable for sensitive readers. Discretion advised.
Cole, what’s wrong?
Former detective Gavin DeGrassi likes his new life and his job as a university professor, molding the minds of the next generation of law enforcement. It keeps him in the field he loves, but out of the media and out of the danger he seems to draw. He’s settled and happy with his partner and Dom, Ben Haverson.
Until a middle of the night phone call from his brother, Cole, whose desperation and fear yank him back into the world of criminals and countdowns. Only this time, the stakes are much higher.
Detective Myah Hayes, Gavin’s sister-in-law and former partner, has a past of her own, one that has returned to claim her. With only their instincts and the help of a rogue CSI, Gavin, Ben, and Cole will do whatever it takes to find Myah, following a flimsy trail of evidence to Chicago, where all is not what it seems—dirty cops, moral pimps, and a nest of snakes who call themselves businessmen.
They’re on a collision course with the worst of humanity, and more than Myah’s life is caught in the vortex. Can they find her, and if they do, will there be anything left to save?
As predicted, I have a massive book hangover after finishing Consent. This was a very intense read and definitely not an easy one. In fact, there were parts that made my stomach clench so much I can still feel it. I can see why AJ relented to her muse and wrote this, because I am sure she needed to get it out of her head. Wow.
The warning that is posted at the beginning of the blurb is not kidding. So pay attention if such things are triggers for you. There are explicit rape scenes here and a whole lot of graphic violence. Those parts were difficult to get through, I won’t lie. I’m glad AJ didn’t gloss over them, however, because they really underlined the urgency of finding Myah and uncovering the corruption and freeing the boys being sold. It. Was. Brutal. So, if that is a hard limit or a trigger for you, you probably don’t want to read this book. Though the previous two books in this series dealt with some dark subject matter, I found this one even more intense. And definitely more difficult to get through pieces of it. I had to persevere, though. I had to know that everything turns out as ok as it can, under the circumstances.
Consent starts out with a middle of the night phone call from Cole, Gavin’s younger brother, calling to tell Gavin that Myah was missing. Not a phone call anyone wants to make or receive about a loved one. Yesterday their lives are going on their merry way and today everything is just so wrong. I don’t even want to have to imagine what going through something like that must be like.
He’s your protector, and you’re his purpose. He’s your glue and you’re his art.
Through it all, we see just how strong a bond that Ben and Gavin have. It’s good to see just how far they’ve come after their own trauma with the Breath Play Killer in the first book, Power Exchange. As I recall, throughout the second book, Safeword, Gavin is having a massively hard time coping with his trauma. He has problems being touched and many, if not most forms of BDSM play that he and Ben had practiced are now off limits. Their resulting demons really tests their relationship, and though they definitely had more work to do by the end, they really came a long way. By the time Consent starts, Ben and Gavin have made a lot of progress. They are solid.
We see Ben and Gavin explore some new things, like bringing in a third, which was one of the hottest things I’ve read in a while. And even though it was a one-time thing, playing out a fantasy, it felt very intimate. I don’t see Ben and Gavin indulging like this, too often. They may never again, actually, even though they both really enjoyed it and it was really quite beautiful.
Also, I love how Ben only refers to Gavin as ‘boy’ in certain circumstances – when he’s being a brat, or gets an attitude, or forgets his place during a scene. Otherwise, Ben calls him Gavin. Gavin is definitely Ben’s boy, but he is so much more than that, too. And Ben knows when, outside a scene, Gavin needs him to exert his Dom-ness. They are so in sync it is scary at times. And so so beautiful. Ben focuses Gavin and Gavin grounds Ben.
I can’t really talk to much about the meat of this story because, being a suspense story, even little things could give away important pieces. While the plot centers around Myah being kidnapped and we see her ordeal in vivid technicolor with surround sound, the story is still about Ben and Gavin and family and being willing to do anything to save the people you love. That’s a beautiful thing.