Title: 24/7 (The Subs Club, #4)
Author: J.A. Rock
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: June 4th 2016
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary BDSM
Page Count: 283 pages
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.7 stars out of 5
We started the Subs Club to make the kink community safer for subs. Except now the others are so busy chasing their happy endings, it’s like they’ve forgotten what Bill did to Hal and the fact that he got away with it. They used to think I was betraying Hal’s memory by hooking up with the owners of the club where he died. Now they don’t seem to care about any of it anymore.
Maybe I am sometimes angry with GK and Kel for giving Bill a second chance, but they’ve been mentoring me for a year now, and whatever else they’ve done, they make me feel incredibly safe. So I want to try something: I want to offer them my complete submission, 24/7. To serve the people who forgave Bill. That’s the way I want to hurt.
Except I’m starting to care about them in a way I never meant to—and I think they feel the same way. But after Hal, I don’t know if I want to be in love again. Because what I really need, more than anything, is to see Bill brought to justice. Even if I have to do it myself. Even if it means losing GK and Kel.
Let me start by saying I would not recommend reading this story as a standalone. You need the other three stories in The Subs Club for background.
So, really long story short I came to M/M through M/M/F stories. As I still enjoy a good ménage story I don’t get squicked out when girly parts take a front and center role in one of my stories.
Truthfully though, I was surprised by how little sex was actually in this book. Glad for it, but surprised. Why glad, you ask? Because frankly the palpable grief in this killed my libido. I so didn’t want to read any sexy scenes when I was drowning in Gould’s sorrow and anger.
I knew I wasn’t the only one who felt the loss: my friends, the community, Kel and Greg…lots of people had suffered. But sometimes I thought I was the only one who wasn’t healing with time. My friends struggled with their grief occasionally, but for the most part, they’d moved on. Found relationships. Started families or new careers. And I was still stuck on one night, one thought: Bill shouldn’t have gotten away with it. He shouldn’t have fucking gotten away with it.
Also, the BDSM in this was waaaayyyyy outside of my comfort zone. I was really uncomfortable with the M/s, humiliation, degradation, etc. in this. Like super duper uncomfortable.
It turns out Gould is some seriously deep still waters, and he really wants a deeper submission and feels a need for real humiliation. He has a desire to be found wanting, no matter how hard he tries to please. The scenes that play out in the story were just too much for me, to be frank.
I also really never got a good feeling for the relationship between Kel, Greg and Gould. They didn’t work for me as a throuple…and maybe it’s because this was all from Gould’s POV and his headspace is all over the place.
However, eclipsing how uncomfortable I was with the BDSM side to the story is the fact that I kept getting sucked back into Gould’s grief. I felt like a swimmer in high waves and every time I’d get my head above the waves, I get smashed again and rolled.
My memories of Hal worked like that sometimes—I’d feel, for a few minutes, like he was right beside me. Feel his warmth, the movements of his body. Then it would all fade suddenly, leaving the space around me so empty I almost couldn’t stand it.
Nothing will bring Hal back. Not hating Bill. Not burying yourself in memories. Not asking Kel to strip you down to something less than human.
Was there such a thing as grieving too much? For too long? At what point did it become…inappropriate, I guess? Right after Hal had died, everyone kept telling me my feelings were natural. What about now? What about nearly three years later, when I still thought about him every fucking day? Still missed him just as much?
I felt like I was drowning in Gould’s pain. So, kudos to J.A. Rock for that, but, at the same time, it didn’t exactly make for a happy happy joy joy experience, you know what I’m saying?
I liked that the story comes around and Gould is able to work through his issues, his grief over Hal, his anger towards his friends, and finally work in his relationship with Kel and Greg toward his HEA. I loved the times when there was humor sprinkled into the story because it served a much-needed purpose when it came. But in the end, everything else was just all…it took a toll.
Hal was gone. But I got him back in dreams. I got him back in memories. I batted the years away from my eyes like smoke and saw us as we had been—young and wild and clawing at each other to escape some imagined prison. Happy and reckless and seeking adventure in each other’s body. Protecting each other. I got him back a million times, and each time I was more thrilled than the last.
I’ve loved this series. I feel like each story has been totally right for Dave, Miles, Kamen, and Gould. I have nothing but respect for J.A. Rock and the world she’s built here. While I can see myself re-reading the other books in the series, this one probably won’t be on my re-read list. To be honest, I really need a nap.
The Subs Club Series
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