Title: A Cordial Agreement
Author: Ryan Loveless
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: May 17th, 2019
Page Count: 133
Reviewed by: Kirstin
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Can a wealthy but frustrated CEO and a guilt-ridden stripper find what they need in a consensual, nonsexual whipping boy arrangement?
Billionaire mogul Grant Jessup, fifty-three, buries his sexual tastes and the reasons behind them—the stresses of his business empire and family. In contrast, Jim Sieber understands the regret that makes him seek pain and penance. As an asexual averse to erotic touch, Jim sets strict boundaries. But as the relationship evolves, Grant struggles to respect them, and both men realize for their association to continue and perhaps grow into real feelings, they’ll have to explore new ways to satisfy each other.
This book is somewhat difficult to rate/review because it doesn’t exactly follow any rules and basically flips the BDSM trope of dark and sexy on its head.
Grant Jessup is the billionaire mogul and head of a family business and all of the stress associated with it. But what’s really giving him heart trouble is his son, Bennett. His constant partying and rash behavior has him making the headlines more often that not. Looking for a way to relieve some stress he decides he needs a ‘whipping boy’.
Jim Sieber is a stripper and Ace. His roommate/best friend went through some rough times and he bears the guilt that it rendered. When he’s offered a load of money to be whipped on a weekly basis, therefore assuaging his guilt, he’s all in. And he’s received a promise that it’s not and never will be sexual. But then promises are broken all of the time…
The whole premise of the stripper, whipping, BDSM club was a little confusing to me as both parties agreed that this would be purely physical, not sexual at all. It was stress relief for one, punishment for the other. I’ve never read a situation in which this has unfolded this way, so it caught my interest. With the aftercare involved in D/s relationships, I feel like there’s always going to be some level of intimacy, and it eventually plays out this way.
The feelings that took place and the dual understanding was hard for me to get excited about. I wish more had been explained regarding Jim and his asexuality. I’m not sure what either one was receiving from the other, just that they planned to make it work.
Overall, the story moved along well and kept me interested. I enjoyed the banter and quick assertiveness of both Jim and Grant and how well they settled and discussed their disagreements. It was definitely an interesting spin and kept my attention through to the HFN.
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