Author: Lynn Kelling
Publisher: Forbidden Fiction Publishing
Release Date:November 15th 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary, BDSM
Page Count: 353
Reviewed by: Ele
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Ev Myers is a former high school football star and Republican State Senator’s son, raised in a strict Southern Baptist household where his only option was to be silent, behave and, no matter how he might be feeling, to put on a happy smile. Desperate to escape the pressure to be the man his family insists he become, Ev has fled Kansas to attend college and is working to find out who he really is beneath the lies and carefully composed public image. But when he applies for a job as a nude model for a life drawing class out of a desire to be seen in a way that shatters all of his family’s taboos, it’s just the first step on a path that leads him away from everything he’s ever known. Handsome and headstrong adjunct arts professor, Adam Buchanan, is the first person to recognize Ev’s potential, and his determination to have Ev realize the importance of truth and stark honesty, as well as the beauty of flawed vulnerability provides the hope Ev needs to escape a world rife with kidnapping, brainwashing and deadly determination cure homosexuality, using whatever means necessary.[M/M – See publisher’s website for content labels.] Word count: 97,000
“Ev trembled, anticipating everything, struggling to breathe, but it was the sweetness of Adam that hurt the most, cut the deepest through a lifetime of layers of protective denial.”
Ev Myers, former high school football star and Republican State Senator’s son, needs money. His decision to attend college away from his hometown is only partially supported by his parents. Applying for a job as a nude model for a life drawing class, leads him to meet adjunct arts professor, Adam Buchanan. In Ev, Adam sees his muse. Ev’s feelings about Adam are the same as for nude modeling. He terrifies him, but at the same time he exhilarates him. And this is how it begins.
In the first part of the book there’s no real action. All the action happens inside Ev’s head. There’s so much guilt, denial and self-loathing. You ‘ll think it’s just nude sessions and mind games, at first. But what really happens is that Adam starts breaking down Ev’s walls one by one.
I won’t lie, this was kind of insta-lovey. The “I love you’s” and living together came in a matter of weeks. Do I care? No I don’t. Because there is a very genuine connection between Ev and Adam. Call it luck, call it fate, but these two complement each other so well! Adam has it all, but he needs someone to take care of. He’s a natural dominant, and Ev just came to…fill in the blanks. And Ev is just so lonely! The quiet, submissive part of himself craves Adam. And just so you know, Adam does not play around…
“I take things like this very fucking seriously,” Adam added in warning. “This means something to me. If you give me this, I swear on my life I’ll safeguard you in whatever ways you need me to. It’d be a beginning, not the end.”
I knew there was a shitstorm coming (that much is obvious from the blurb), and I was dreading it. Up until that moment, they lived in their bubble, having sex and talking and exploring Ev’s identity/sexuality. What happens next is evilness personified. But although gut wrenching, it wasn’t overwhelming and it didn’t take over the story. Where I live, conversion camps are just a myth, and I admit that at first, I thought that the facts in this book were maybe a little exaggerated. Yeah, the author’s note and a simple google search took care of that. It’s just so heartbreaking that there are still people that go through all this torture and pain, caused by their own family. And in the light of recent events, this reality is becoming more and more terrifying.
As far as the BDSM aspect of the story is concerned, I found it to be pretty interesting and different than in other books. The power dynamics are obvious from the beginning. Adam is a dominant, and Ev has submissive tendencies even when he’s not aware of it. What I loved (and this is only a personal preference) is the lack of formal protocol. There is bondage, and submission, and, yes, at some point they bring it outside the bedroom. But there aren’t these strict rules, punishments or manners and etiquette.
“No one else has you like this. No one even gets close,” Adam warned.
The writing is suberb. Kelling is an author with a unique ability to make the reader meander through the character’s dark mind until light shines through. I can’t explain how she does it but it gets me every time.
First and foremost, this is Ev’s journey to self-acceptance and his breaking free from his oppressing past. Under Adam’s guidance he will blossom, and when he lets go he’s so very beautiful. But it’s Adam’s story too, because he’s the kind of man whose money and experience is just a means to a purpose. And he found that purpose in Evan.