Title : Exodus
Author : CC Bridges
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Science Fiction, BDSM
Length : 200 pages (e-book)
Published : March 3, 2014
Rating : ★★1/2
Heaven Corp: Book Two
Henry “Hank” Abraham’s privileged status in the floating city of Heaven lets him flout Morality Laws that control the lives of others. But when he wakes up in the arms of another stranger, only bodyguard Ian Caldwell’s quick thinking saves his life.
Though Ian’s from the low levels and the labor class, he’s used to dealing with the pampered society of Heaven. He’s assigned to protect Hank while angels, cybernetically modified humans who defend Heaven, investigate the assassination attempt. Doing his job means Ian must ignore his growing interest in Hank. Acting on their mutual attraction would certainly get Ian reprogrammed, something neither of them can afford.
When Hank follows Ian to a popular BDSM club in Downside and his ID chip is lost during a nearly fatal mugging, he finds himself locked out of Heaven. As Ian fights to get them home, rumors of impending war begin to circulate—along with more troubling news that Ian is wanted for Hank’s murder. While struggling to keep the man he has come to love safe, Ian must find out who’s behind the plot and if it’s a catalyst for war or just a convenient excuse.
Hank is privileged. His family’s wealth and prestige get him anything he wants and allow him to flout the laws of Heaven that most other people suffer under. Ian has nothing and has worked to literally reach higher levels of existence. The higher you are in Heaven the better you are. Ian doesn’t have any of the protections that Hank has. Of course, Hank and Ian have fallen a bit in love with each other but can’t admit or do anything to acknowledge the situation as Ian is one of Hank’s bodyguards. This is a good thing for Hank, as Ian has a strong need to save him and someone is trying to kill him. Ian is moved closer to Hank to protect him. Hank, being able to have whatever he wants for most of his life is happy as maybe finally he’ll be able to get exactly what he wants from Ian. Ian finds himself doing his best to deny his feelings for Hank as that is the surest route to being either fired or executed. Ian doesn’t want to simply have an affair with Hank, he wants a full fledged D/s relationship with Hank. Hank is sweetly submissive and behaves terribly for attention. After yet another attempt on Hank’s life, Ian is given time off by Hank’s brother. Ian suspects the worst of Hank’s brother but has no power to deny him anything. Ian also desperately needs to relieve some stress and leaves Heaven to do so. Before leaving, Ian hand picks two other guards to protect Hank in his absence.
Not long after Ian leaves Hank comes to the conclusion Ian will never have a relationship with him while he’s an employee. Hank comes up with the brilliant plan to fire him so they can have sex. He escapes his new guards and follows Ian down out of Heaven to the largely lawless Earth. He has been there a couple of times in the past and it’s mostly a horrible place. Hank finds Ian in a club, whipping a man onstage. He’s aroused and upset. These actions are against all of Heaven’s morality laws. He does want that from Ian but he doesn’t want to admit to his perversions. Hank leaves suddenly after he realizes his plan of firing Ian and having wonderful romantic sex is silly. It’s not what Ian wants. While on his way back to Heaven Hank is mugged and his identity chip is stolen. While talking to people in the club, Ian realizes Hank was there. He goes to find him and thankfully does. Ian takes Hank to a friend’s house to recuperate. While going to get a vehicle to take them home Ian learns there has been another attempt on Hank’s life. The guards were killed and Ian is being put forth as the main suspect in Hank’s apparent death.
Hank and Ian realize there is now nothing preventing them from having the relationship they both want. And they’re going to be having it on Ian’s terms. Hank is stunned at how much he wants and needs the D/s relationship. They do have to make their way back into Heaven to set the record straight. They enlist the help of Demons to do it. When they do finally get back into Heaven they find they were double crossed by the Demons. Ian ends up being held by the Angels. They plan to reprogram his soul to take away the perversions. Hank can only turn to one person with the power to help them. He realizes he’s willing to give anything to have Ian back.
I didn’t like this book. I felt there was an effective plot but overall the characters were either black or white with little to no shades of grey. Science fiction has a long established history of highlighting some kind of social problem. This book did so in what was for me a glaring fashion. Religion and corporations had merged in such a fashion as to fully entrench the upper echelons, literally, of society. The Angels dispensed an unfair justice only to those who were poor or without influence. The corporations killed whoever they needed to for profit. Merit and hard work had no place. Whereas I think these are all valid complaints about the perils of modern society, I didn’t need to have the obvious shoved in my face in such a way that felt preachy and contrived. I do not want to dismiss as cartoonish our collective greatest fears for society, but I felt myself doing so.
Even though the social aspects of this book really turned me off, I do think the relationship between Hank and Ian was good. They really fit each other. It was nice to see their needs finally being met.
Rated 2.5 stars by Faye