Series: Sequel to Power Exchange
Author: A.J. Rose
Genre: Action-Mystery / BDSM
Length: Novel (110,000word count)
Publisher: Voodoo Lily Press (June 1st, 2013)
Heat Level: Explicit
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥3.5 Hearts
Blurb: Everywhere Detective Gavin DeGrassi looks; he’s reminded of his attack by the Breath Play Killer. It’s in the house he lives in with his partner and Dom, Ben Haverson. It’s in the sympathetic yet pitying looks he receives from his fellow detectives when he returns to the force after a yearlong hiatus. It’s in the suffocating coddling of his entire family, and the relentless reporter demanding an exclusive of his ordeal.
Most of all, it’s in his lack of submission to Ben, who isn’t convinced Gavin’s recovered enough to trust the power exchange between them.
The miraculous recovery of two teen boys from a twisted kidnapper gives him heart, and Gavin’s determined to prove he can handle anything despite increasing strain between him and Ben, painful nightmares, and panic when anyone touches him.
But his next case is too close for comfort: a friend and colleague found raped and murdered in a fate chillingly similar to what could have been his own, and this killer isn’t stopping with one cop. As the body count rises and taunting souvenirs are being hand-delivered to Gavin, he faces a frustrating lack of leads, a crushing need to prove himself, and a sinking suspicion the imprisoned kidnapper’s reach is further than originally thought. A miasma of uncertainty and fear threaten to suffocate him when he asks a question with which he’s overwhelmingly familiar: what happens when a victim is pushed too far?
Review: Gavin and Ben’s story continues here and we see them both trying to overcome the heinous trauma they suffered in Power Exchange.
While we saw our couple in the previews book ending in a lovely scene, here the consequences of that scene awaken Gavin’s hidden horrors. Right when he thought he’d put everything back, the nightmares come back with a vengeance and new fears climb atop the pile of the old ones. Now Gavin has to deal with his work and a new case of a serial killer hunting and brutally killing cops right after violating them, the touch aversion he’s grown where he doesn’t even tolerate his beloved Dom and the stress that comes from being a sun who cannot submit.
Here we see our charming Ben having lost his faith in himself and being unable to be a proper Dom for Gavin as well. We see him fighting his own battle and demons while hiding behind his care for Gavin and his feelings.
The relationship aspect of this book I have to admit I liked much, much more than its prequel. The trauma, the fight of the survivors and the love between the couple reached me and I didn’t see that detachment I kept feeling in book #1. The guys managed to get their feelings at me either that was love or lust or angst and despair, I managed to be right there with them this time. Loved their fight, loved the growth they did (even if they used a leaping time frame again) and adored the submission in the end. Their intimate scenes this time were more sensual than and somehow not as clinical as before and that helped a lot, many of them actually leaving me hot and bothered with their sexiness.
As for the action plot, yet again I found this one much better written. Yes there were times when I thought “c’mon, that’s so obvious” or “there’s a hole right here” but all in all I’m very satisfied with this plot. The Stockholm Syndrome is always a difficult one to approach and I felt this one here was executed very well, maintaining the drama and anxiety levels in balance with the action and intensity. Of course, my “eye roll” was there with how Gavin was affected by the events and how every crazy seemed to be drawn to him. It was kind of hilarious and made me laugh more than once even if right after that I felt a bit guilty for doing so.
Bottom end, I enjoyed this book a lot. It was a book for survivors in all aspects and I loved reading it. Keep in mind this is not an easy book, it’s rather heavy and tugs at your heart with its theme, so I’d recommend it to those who don’t mind a bit cruelty, angst and drama.