Title: Lincoln’s Park (Links in the Chain #1)
Author: Parker Williams
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: October 16, 2018
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance, BDSM
Page Count: 244
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 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?
Lincoln has owned a small diner for ten years, slowly building a group of employees that he considers his true family. Lincoln’s family, the Meriweathers, are incredibly rich but Lincoln got “woke” after the death of a man he deeply loved (Ev), realizing that money isn’t everything. His current life is a good one, but it’s filled with long, long days (more about that later) and it’s been far too long since Lincoln had a relationship with someone other than the subs he encounters in BDSM clubs.
Until Noel walks in the door … young, homeless, beautiful Noel who was kicked out by his family when they learned he was gay. Noel has been living at a homeless shelter and has shoes held together by tape. Lincoln hires him and over the course of the book (as you can probably guess) they fall in love. Their love story is fairly sweet, with loads of chemistry between the two, and and if I were rating this book solely on their romance and relationship, it would be a strong 4 stars.
However … a second half of the book is spent discussing introducing BDSM into their relationship. Lincoln is a dom who longs for a submissive and Noel is definitely a submissive, truly enjoying the love and care that Lincoln lavishes on him as well as a strong side of dominance. We’re not talking anything excessive here – orgasm denial, pup/sir, toys – but Lincoln and Noel carefully negotiate everything before signing a contract stating their limits. I’ll be the first to admit that BDSM is often not my cuppa, but the amount of time spent on this aspect of their relationship definitely slowed the entire pace of the story way, way down and felt at times like filler rather than character development and growth, IMHO.
Finally, Lincoln’s commitment to his diner and the people he loves is admirable … but honestly, dude … stop working 18-20 hours a day! Over the course of the story, it’s mentioned again and again just how much time Lincoln spends at the diner – working essentially from 5 a.m. to at least 11 p.m. and often longer. Lincoln ponders perhaps hiring a second cook so he’ll have more time with Noel, an idea which Noel repeatedly rejects because he loves the diner so much and loves working with Lincoln (although Noel’s hours are much shorter). I don’t quite understand this dynamic of the story, but honestly it made me tired just continually reading of Lincoln’s daily schedule!
To recap, I liked the love story between Noel and Lincoln, liked getting glimpses of their back stories and enjoyed the secondary character development of their co-workers, but the lengthy emphasis on the BDSM-light aspect of their relationship slowed down the story and just did not work for me. My rating for “Lincoln’s Park” is 3 stars and I cannot fully recommend it, but I understand that other readers may not feel the same.