Power Play: Awakening, the review
Book 2 in a series
Publisher : Riptide Publishing (BUY HERE)
Genre : BDSM, Erotica, romance
Length : 292 pages e-book
Blurb : Brandon McKinney is a man reborn. Newly awakened to the notion of consensual power exchange and the submissive urges inside him, he begs for a second chance from the man who opened his eyes to this world: Silicon Valley superstar Jonathan Watkins. But no birth is absent pain, and Brandon’s is no exception. He fears he’s not strong enough to see it through.
Jonathan knows better. He’s seen the iron core inside his new submissive, and the wounded heart inside him too. He means to teach Brandon to heal the one with the other. They have five months left on their contract, after all, and Jonathan has done more with less before.
It’s tough to stay objective, though, when you’re falling in love. Shame Brandon doesn’t feel the same. He’s only there for the three-million-dollar payout at contract’s end—a fact that Jonathan, nursing his own wounded heart, reminds himself of each day. For even as Brandon’s barriers break and his mind expands, even as he grows to love his place at Jonathan’s feet, he’ll never love life with a sadist—especially one who cannot escape the public eye.
Jonathan and Brandon pick up their story within minutes of the completion of the previous book. Jonathan is determined to not make the same mistakes with Brandon. Consequently, he opens a line of communication. It’s a bit like a third degree, but they are talking. Also, instead of just continual punishments, Brandon’s training is more carrot and stick than before. If carrots were cocks and sticks were canes, of course.
After a somewhat traumatic meeting of Jonathan’s friends, he and Brandon take a trip to Big Sur. It’s a fantastic experience for Brandon, who falls in love with the architecture of the house in addition to the coast. They fall into a rhythm and continue to make progress in terms of trust. Brandon does manual labours around the property in addition to translating documents in Chinese. Eventually, they plan for Jonathan’s annual business trip to China.
After weeks of minimal contact due to trip preparations Brandon and Jonathan finally leave for China. After an almost disastrous gift of a collar was settled. For the first time in months Brandon feeds himself and almost can’t make himself do it, but it’s mooncakes. Mooncakes! After some acting out on the plane, they finally make it to their hotel and settle in for some punishment, dinner, cuddling, and finally sex. The trip is busy but good until the end when the shit hits the fan as they learn about an intrepid paparazzo who managed to snap their picture their first night in the hotel. Brandon freaks out and refuses to speak to Jonathan. Once that finally gets settled their contract is over. They have to resolve how they want to spend their lives.
I simultaneously liked this book more and less than the first. The characters were working their way toward real love as opposed to acting out their lust. Their sex scenes were more kinky sexy as opposed to a man getting beaten and experiencing an orgasm he didn’t really want. But most of the onus of making the relationship work was on Brandon’s shoulders. He had to accept his desire to submit, he had to learn to trust, and he was left figuring out how to make their kinks mesh despite his very real fears.
When all was said and done, I did actually prefer the previous book to this one. I can’t precisely put my finger on why, and that really bothers me. It was more to my taste in terms of kink. I found it just as riveting as the first to the point I lost track of what I was doing and took my son to an appointment on the wrong day. I also really liked the way the relationship played out at the end. It was smart. There was nothing I actively disliked, but I simply wasn’t as drawn to it. It’s still excellent, and I recommend it highly.
Rated 4 stars by Faye