Lincoln’s Park (Susan’s Review)

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Title: Lincoln’s Park
Author: Parker Williams
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: October 16, 2018
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 244
Reviewed by: Susan
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

A Links In the Chain Story

Lincoln Merriweather was born an entitled brat with a silver spoon lodged so deep, it might never have come out. At the BDSM club or in business, Lincoln was a storm, blowing in and disrupting the lives of everyone he touched, until the day he met a man who peeled away the tarnished layers to expose a decent person.

Lincoln found—then lost—love.

Since then, he’s tried to atone for his past, including walking away from his family’s wealth. He opened a diner, hiring people to work for him that he would have spit on before his epiphany. He’s found peace, which he’s about to lose to a hazel-eyed man.

Noel Simmons wound up on the street when his parents discovered he was gay. His path leads him to Lincoln’s diner, where he asks for a job. He’s thrilled when Lincoln agrees to hire him, but finds his new boss perplexing. Can anyone be this kind and decent?

What starts out as business becomes something more. Noel discovers he needs Lincoln in order to feel safe. Lincoln needs Noel to complete him. But when Lincoln’s past gets in the way of his present, will the two have a future?

I’ve never read a book where the BDSM felt so out of place than in this book.

I love BDSM books, but here I really didn’t like it. It wasn’t that it was unexpected or anything, since Lincoln hints at it from the start. I just felt it didn’t fit the story or the characters at all. And the story didn’t need it since there were lots of other things going on to keep things interesting.

Lincoln has had his own diner for the last 10 years. He enjoys working there and loves to help out people as much as he can. So when obviously homeless Noel comes into the diner to ask for a job, Lincoln doesn’t hesitate and hires Noel on the spot.

Noel doesn’t know why Lincoln is so kind to him, but he is determined to work his butt off to prove to Lincoln he is worth the trust Lincoln puts in him.

When the two grow closer and closer neither remember why it would be a bad idea to start something romantic…

When I first started this I immediately thought two things. One was that it was sappy, sweet, and had lots hurt/comfort, so that was keeping my interest. The other one was that I didn’t like the writing style. I had a hard time with the pages and pages of inner dialogue to explain the background of both guys. And that wasn’t just at first, no, they kept doing this the entire book. Even in the middle of a conversation sometimes. It made me feel disconnected from the ‘now’ from the start.

But that aside, I tried to really get into it and just concentrate on the hurt/comfort parts. And those were plentiful. But then we got introduced to the BDSM element of this story. And that’s where it went completely downhill for me.

I never once felt like Lincoln was a real Dom (or at least not acting like I prefer in my books). Noel was still trying to find his place in the world and had so much to process and deal with, that I didn’t think it was very wise that Lincoln suddenly went all demanding on his ass. Now some would say that a Dom is demanding, but not like this. It felt off to me.

“Five minutes. Have your ass downstairs, ready to go.” He didn’t wait for an answer. It was time Noel got to know Lincoln better, and why not start with the basics: jump when your Dom says to.

And that’s where I disagree. I’m no BDSM expert, but I don’t think the gist is ‘jump when your Dom says to’. Now Lincoln does second guess himself when he says this to Noel, but not enough to change how he acts.

Now I’m not sure if the book would have been any better if we take out the BDSM parts, since I still had an issue with the overall sappiness of the writing. And there was no subtlety to anything that happened. No slow reveal of information. It just all laid out for us, no need to think for ourselves.

What also bothered me was that Lincoln gets up at 3am to start at the diner. At one point it is mentioned that it is 8pm and he has 3 hours to go til closing. If he starts at 4am that’s a 19 hour work day. It is later said that Lincoln works 16 hours a day, 6 days a week. Now the diner is closed on Sunday, but I do think it’s weird that a diner would close on Sunday since most people would like to eat something on a Sunday. So why not hire more people and be open on a Sunday? Or close on a Monday like lots of diners do around here?

That kind of workweek would be unhealthy for everyone. But when Lincoln says to Noel he wants to hire a cook so he can have more time off, Noel disagrees, because ‘Lincoln needs to continue to give his all to people, because that’s what he does’… Talk about setting yourself up for an early heart attack…

So I can’t say I enjoyed this book. It may have started out promising, but it didn’t work out that well for me in the end.

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Galley copy of Lincoln’s Park provided by the publisher in exchange of an honest review.

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