Bad Behavior by K.A. Mitchell

22852010

Grade: B-
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: Moderate Kink
Genre: Contemporary, m/m, BDSM
Series: Bad in Baltimore #5
Published: 12/16/14
Reviewed by Anne
294 pages

Beach (David Beauchamp) is on probation awaiting trial for a series of bad decisions he’s made.  Despite the “no alcohol” rule that goes with his probation, he goes to a bar and looks for a hook up.  Fortunately for him he finds one with a sexy and bossy man who leaves him with wishing he could see him again.  Unfortunately, he does see the man again – he’s Officer Tai Fonoti, Beach’s parole officer.

The connection between them is still electric, but Tai knows it would be unprofessional to see Beach again.  He even arranges to have Beach’s case transferred to another probation officer.  He doesn’t plan on the temptation that comes when Beach reaches out to him for another taste of the dominance he got in the bar.  Beach knows nothing about a D/s relationship, but he knows he wants more of what Tai has.

I enjoyed this story.  It made me majorly book cranky – I didn’t want to put it down.  It also puzzled me, and put me in a bit of a dark mood.  Beach has a pretty messed up life, and it’s amazing that he’s still around after all the self-destructive choices he’s made.  He seems to roll through life with a cute smile and lot of money and not many friendships.  He comes off as pretty naïve, bordering on stupid at some points.  He does change and mature throughout the story, but it came off as motivated by Tai and wanting to please Tai more than it was about him really maturing.  Whereas Beach seemed self-destructive and oblivious at the beginning of the book, by the end he was reliant on Tai and seemed nearly unable to function without him around.  There were times that it felt like Tai had a parental role over Beach, and I didn’t like that.

Tai was comfortable as a dominant.  Comfortable enough to seek advice from a mentor and to question himself and his choices.  I really appreciated that – I’ve read too many omniscient doms that just didn’t seem realistic.  At the same time, I felt like he and Beach didn’t do enough talking.  They seemed to be moving toward a 24/7 D/s relationship, but the two of them never talked about what they wanted.

However, their relationship was well written.  Even though I didn’t necessarily like where it was headed (without them discussing it) it was understandable and believable that these two characters would handles things in the way they did.  The sex scenes – and there were many! – were very hot and very well written.  There was some D/s that was not sexual, and that was a new thing for me.  I thought it was well written, because I understood what they each got out of the relationship and why they’d want such a relationship.

There are some snarky comments to lighten up the story – I especially enjoyed Tai’s struggle to find commands for Beach that wouldn’t confuse his dog.  Snarky characters from other books were also enjoyable.

This is the fifth book in the Bad in Baltimore series.  I read the first and second books several months ago (and enjoyed them!) but then skipped ahead to this one.  I could tell that I’d missed some character backstories, but it was easy to read this one on its own.

I’d recommend this book for readers who enjoy some intense BDSM.  It was a little past what I’m comfortable with, but still a good read.

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There’s Something About Ari by L.B. Gregg

22468722
Grade: B
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Contemporary, novella,  m/m, small town
Series: Bluewater Bay #2
Published: 11/10/14
Reviewed by Anne
101  pages

Buck Ellis was set to leave his small home town with a great college scholarship, but then his mom died and he stepped in to be a parent to his younger brother.  He took another blow when his best friend and secret crush, Ari, left town for Hollywood.  They haven’t had any contact in years, so Buck is shocked when Ari moves in to the house next door to him!  Ari’s in town to work on Wolf’s Landing, the hottest show on TV that just happens to be filmed in Ari’s home town.

This story is told entirely from  Buck’s point of view, which was a little disappointing, but makes sense in a novella.  The pacing felt a little quick, especially with their physical relationship, but again, it was a novella.  Actually, I think that it felt like it needed to be longer.  There was a lot going on between Ari and Buck, though they never really talked about it.

It was a good story.  I liked the relationship between Ari and Buck.  I thought the misunderstandings between the two of them were realistic and understandable. I did read the first story in this series, but I think this one would stand alone well.  I’d recommend it for anyone who enjoys m/m romance.

Broken Open by Lauren Dane

21938163
Grade: B
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Contemporary
Series: The Hurley Boys #2
Published: 11/25/14
Reviewed by Anne
275 pages

“If a woman could come just from being looked at, I’m pretty sure I’d be screaming your name right now.”

He locked his gaze to hers. “You will be soon enough.”  (p. 79)

Tuesday is just starting to stand on solid ground after the death of her husband five years ago.  Ezra is a member of Sweet Hollow Ranch, one of the most famous rock bands in existence.  This just means that his spectacular fall from grace due to drug addiction was a very public one.  Now he’s been clean for years and lives a simple life.  He’s a rancher on his family’s ranch, he helps with the band behind the scenes and spends time with his extended family.  When they meet each other their attraction is instant.  Then it’s just a matter of two people healing from past wounds try to find their way together.

I love, love, love low conflict romance, and this one is definitely low conflict.  However, the first half of the story was even a little slow for me.  That seemed pretty intentional, and it definitely fit with these two wounded characters, but it took me a while to get invested.  About half way through the issues these two had were clear and I didn’t want to set my reader down!

As always, Lauren Dane writes incredibly good and hot sex scenes.  Tuesday is confident in her self and her body and in her enjoyment of sex.  Ezra also knows what he likes.  At the beginning of their relationship they have to figure out if they’re going to fit together sexually.  That’s something you don’t normally see.

In your typical romance you have one partner mention they like to be in control and the response by the other partner is generally excitement and agreement with this power dynamic with no questions.  With Tuesday and Ezra it’s more complicated and more realistic.  Ezra admits he likes control and Tuesday thinks to herself,

“Sex with him?  Yes. Yes and yes again.  Control, though?  What did that mean?  Like something creepy?  Or something hot?  Sometimes people inexplicably found stuff like cell phone tracking and that sort of control to be superhot.  She was not one of them.” (p.31)

And then they go on to have an actual conversation about what they want from their sexual relationship.  How cool is that?

I also want to mention that Tuesday is African American and Ezra is white.  Their race is a factor in their relationship, but not a huge one.  I liked that it was acknowledged, but not the defining conflict in the story.

I really enjoyed Broken Open, despite its slow start.  I’ve read this series in order, including the series that came before it, but I think this one would stand on its own just fine.  In fact, I think having read the previous book actually worked against me in this case.  This story overlaps a bit with the story before it and it left me a little disoriented because it had been a while since I’d read the previous one. It was still a great read.  It wasn’t my favorite book in this series of series, but it was another solid entry.  I’d recommend it for anyone who enjoys contemporary romance, rock stars, strong women, hot sex, and internal conflict.