Title: Secret Funding (Secret Agreements, #1)
Author: S.M. May
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: October 15, 2015 (English version)
Page Count: 155
Reviewed by: Gigi
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Young, handsome, sometimes cruel. Noah Kress is a hardened broker, skilled enough to bring success to his company and determined to face the ever-growing challenges of the venture capital market. In his private life he is Master Noah, a very popular dominator at the Circle, one of the most exclusive private clubs in Boston. For him, at work as well as in the dungeon, people and events are just variables to be interpreted, numbers to be broken down, combinations to consider and evaluate.
But when the latest, most difficult deal threatens to make his company sink without trace, his only chance seems to be the large investment fund managed by the mysterious Martin Scheer. And in order to provide credit, Martin demands a very special guarantee.
For both of them it’s just business. Yet, what was supposed to be a mere contract might just shatter the perfect surface of their lives.
And will talented player Noah be willing to gamble following brand new rules?
is a book about a brash business man and Dom named Noah Kress. He is cold and impersonal in his business and social life. He meets a man who surpasses his business skills, income and cold demeanor, Martin Scheer. Because of a bad business investment on Noah’s part, (I didn’t even try to understand the legal-speak. I just nodded my head and continued reading) Noah finds himself desperate for an investor. Enter Martin with a proposition of a business and personal nature.
Now, in an effort to keep spoilers out of this review, I will let you read about the proposal and stipulations of the agreement yourself.
The beginning of the book fascinated me. The first chapter was a public BDSM scene with Master Noah and a client. (Noah is a professional Dom and submissive’s pay him to dominate them.) I’m not a fan of public intimacies, but I keep my mind open. That was the only public BDSM scene.
Noah is an interesting character, but I don’t feel like I really got to know what makes him tick. There were a few mentions of an anxious childhood and being afraid of the dark and his great love of numbers and how they help keep his mind organized and at peace, but no talk of OCD or any other disorder. He also uses BDSM to bring him peace.
It wasn’t until 30% into the book that the main characters meet. While Noah was a mystery to me, Martin was even more so. His backstory was woefully inadequate and I couldn’t even guess what his motivations were in regards to Noah. He was interesting, yes, but I thought the reveal of his character and motivations would come at the end of the book, so I wasn’t worried. Well, it didn’t come. I ended the book just as confused about Martin as I was initially.
Noah, on the other hand, was keeping true to character until about the 80% mark. Then his entire demeanor changed and I wondered if I was even reading the same character. I am used to characters having a change of heart over the course of a book, but Noah was literally one person on one page and by the next page, another. There was no middle ground or working up to the drastic change in personality.
Something that really disappointed me in this book, a M/M BDSM romance, was the lack of sex. Honestly, Noah gives Martin a glorious blow job and the next thing we know, weeks have passed with the men enjoying vanilla sex morning, noon and night. But we don’t see it! We are only told about it. And what a waste of potential for a book that could have easily been a 5 star read for me. I am an absolute junkie for cold, detached men falling in love. And with the BDSM backdrop? Fuck yeah! If Ms. May had added some transition time for the characters and shown us the intimacies we were only told about, this would have been a much different review. Also, the ending is HFN, not a HEA. I assume the series will continue with characters Parker and/or Len so we may see them again, but read as a stand-alone, there was no HEA.
I did not dislike or like this book. I’m right on the fence, which is why I’m giving it 3 stars. If the contents of my review intrigues you, please give this one a shot! This is a case where I cannot recommended or not recommended a book. The ball is in your court.
SIDE NOTE: The translator, Cornelia Grey, did an incredible job transcribing this book from Italian to English. I expected at least some errors in the translation, but the book flowed perfectly without any errors.