Title: What About Now
Author: Grace R. Duncan
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: May 9th 2016
Page Count: 284
Reviewed by: Ele
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5
Five years ago, everything went wrong. Braden Kirk and Rafe Jessen’s long-term relationship started unraveling. They stopped talking, fears mounted, then Braden walked in on Rafe and another man, completely misreading the situation. Without giving Rafe a chance to explain, Braden walks out. Out of their home, their relationship, and the game development company they started together in college.
After months of therapy to deal with the attempted rape Braden walked in on, Rafe begins to understand that his dominant tendencies in the bedroom aren’t a bad thing and that Braden’s submission is likely what scared his partner into silence. But Rafe isn’t ready to let go of the man he loves more than life itself. He arranges for himself and Braden to end up on the same charity cruise, knowing Braden won’t let his phobia—terror of vast, deep waters—rule him.
With a plan and twenty-eight days, Rafe is determined to get Braden back, make him see there’s nothing wrong with being submissive, and find a way to get Braden to stay with him when they get home to LA.
Pay attention to the blurb. It does a good job summarizing the plot, and I’m not going to rehash.
I went into this book prepared to suspend my disbelief, because of this part of the blurb: “Braden walked in on Rafe and another man, completely misreading the situation. Without giving Rafe a chance to explain, Braden walks out.” I just don’t buy this kind of plotline, where someone walks away after a big misunderstanding and loses contact with their partner for ever. Rafe and Brendan were together for 5 years. They lived together, and they even co-owned a company. How is it possible to lose touch, just like that?
BUT I was willing to overlook it because I’m a sucker for second chance romance. After all, it’s in the blurb. I also overlooked the fact that Braden ending up on that cruise was a result of his mother and Rafe’s plotting. This kind of meddling from parents or friends, is always a no in my book, whatever the cause.
But no amount of suspending disbelief was enough to make me buy what followed:
Rafe and Braden meet again after five years of being apart. The logical thing would be to finally talk about what happened all these years ago. But no. They have dinner together. They go dancing. Then it’s breakfast. They decide to spend time together. They even kiss and make out and say “I love you”. But not once, do they talk about what happened that freaking night. And that goes on for days!
When they finally decide to sit down and talk about what broke them apart, it all happened too fast. One minute Braden was mad at Rafe, and then…
“I almost let you get raped. I… I don’t deserve you.”
I never understood the BDSM element here. Both MCs clearly felt uncomfortable for having submissive and dominant tendencies. But instead of talking to each other, they drifted apart? I might be missing something, because all this didn’t make sense to me. The reason their relationship fell apart in the past was not explored that well.
Admittedly, the sex was pretty hot, but towards the end it was like a switch flipped; Rafe becomes a badass dom, and Braden a good sub. So all the things that drove them apart for years, got so easily resolved on this cruise ship, in a matter of days?
The writing was good, but the frequent flashbacks got too distracting.
Clearly, this didn’t work for me. It felt contrived and unrealistic, and left me confused.