Published: April 9, 2012
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Available at: Riptide, Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Synopsis: Give me six months, and I’ll give you the world.
Brandon McKinney has scraped and sacrificed for what little in life he’s ever had. Though it’s been fifteen years since he escaped his father’s abuse, the damage remains. Trust seems as far out of reach as his dream of becoming an architect, and though he’s come to accept being gay, he can’t deny the shame and confusion he feels at other urges–the deeply repressed desire to submit.
Jonathan Watkins is a self-made Silicon Valley billionaire whose ex-wife took half his money and even more of his faith. Comfortable as a Dominant but wary of being hurt again, he resorts to anonymous pickups and occasional six-month contracts with subs seeking only a master, not a lover.
When a sizzling back-alley encounter cues Jonathan in to Brandon’s deep-seated submissive side, he makes the man an offer: Give me six months of your life, and I’ll open your eyes to a whole new world. Brandon doesn’t care about that; all he wants is the three million dollars Jonathan’s offering so he can buy the construction company he works for. But he soon learns that six months on his knees is no easy feat, and shame and pride may keep him from all he ever wanted-and all he never dreamed he had any right to have.
Reader discretion advised. This title contains heavy kink. While consent is clearly established and frequently reaffirmed, some moments in Power Play push hard against the outer edges of consent.
Rating: 5 stars
Review: First off, this is not a book for everyone. Do keep the publisher’s warning in mind if you’re considering this book. It is certainly not a light read. It is positively not a romantic read. It is an amazing, overwhelming read. It touched me in ways I never thought a BDSM book could. It grabbed me from beginning to end. It was intense, emotional, utterly fascinating and everything in between.
In no way do I consider myself a knowledgeable person in anything concerning the BDSM lifestyle so keep in mind that what you are about to read are only my opinions and thoughts on this book, its characters and its writing. Does it depict a fair and realistic view of the lifestyle? Hell if I know! It’s fiction and entertaining, at least for me. So here I go.
“The world sucks. It hurts. It swallows you fucking whole, pukes you back up and does it again.”
Brandon has had a hard life and has made something of himself all on his own. He keeps to himself, works hard and tries to work on his dream. So when the opportunity to make that dream come true arose, he went full out to get it. Did he think it through enough? Did he fully know what he was getting into? These are some of the questions that have been coming up in review sites. But for me, it doesn’t matter. He knew what he wanted. He went after it no matter the cost. Was it fair? Consensual? Abuse? Torture? The answers vary from reader to reader. For me it was what it was. Brandon was not misinformed. He had the opportunity to educate himself, ask questions and set limits. He consented. Be it in the form of a signed contract or just by not using his safe word or walking out. For me it was not abuse nor torture. Yes, the scenes were hardcore. He was beaten and humiliated and a whole other set of things. But he was given the choice. And he kept making the wrong one.
“Learning to trust someone like that, so deeply, so completely. Learning to move past your strongest barriers, face your deepest fears…It would change your life, Brandon. And not just because of the money waiting for you at the end.”
As for Jonathan, I think that he suffered also. A self-confessed sadist who tried at every turn to get Brandon to submit to him, Jonathan’s part in this journey was very complicated. He has been painted as an abuser by some, unrecognized as a Dom by most. But was he? I don’t know if he was a Dom or not. It’s not my place to say. But he was not an abuser. He was very clear on what he wanted from Brandon – total submission. He saw something in him that he felt he could enhance and bring to the surface. Was he mistaken? Most likely. I don’t see Brandon as a submissive person. Just like I don’t see Jonathan as an abuser. Yes he took great pleasure in inflicting pain, but he was very tender and very caring to Brandon, when Brandon pleased him. He also questioned himself and wanted Brandon to experience the best of the lifestyle. He wanted him to let go, to trust, to open himself to a new world and just LET GO.
“It’s all right to let go, Brandon. It’s all right to want. You don’t have to be on guard all the time.”
In all honesty, I cried and laughed throughout the book. Yes, laughed. Brandon knew what he had to do yet he kept being stubborn and doing his damndest to test Jonathan. Did he suffer? Hell yeah, he did. But he could have avoided it. Was it painful reading what he went through? Of course it was. I DO have a heart. I cried with him, I laughed at his outbursts and his inner rants and in the end I was yelling for him to safeword, to get out of Dodge. To claim his dues and get on with his life if he could. But he was so proud. So unwilling to let go of that hard won pride, the one he had to build for himself alone in the world at such a young age, he held onto it, time and time again. And that pride was what brought in the shame – in himself, his desires, his needs. For me, it was the shame, along with his pride that made it all so hard and painful.
” Shame has no place in these walls. This, here, now? Is all about your pleasure. Embrace it. Let it wash over you. Be strong enough to be helpless to it, to succumb to it, to revel in it.”
The authors, Rachel Haimowitz and Cat Grant, outdid themselves. I thought the writing was excellent. Every scene carefully thought out, every word deliberately placed, every emotion described for its utmost impact. The characters were complex and exactly what the story demanded. The reactions, the outbursts, the submission, the sex and the dialog worked seamlessly together to bring this story of need and want and pain and hurt to the page.
It left me reeling, apprehensive, anticipating – it made me want more. Yes, I wanted more. I wanted them to get through this, stay together in this journey of self-discovery and acceptance. I wanted them to connect, to find what they both were looking for and to find it with each other. Am I willing to continue to see Brandon being beaten and broken down? In a heartbeat. Because when he went there, when he first let go and accepted it, albeit for the wrong reasons, it was beautiful. Can you imagine how it could be if Brandon truly let go? If he gave himself to the unknown and trust Jonathan to catch him and guide him through it? I think it would be an amazing read. So with that being said, I bid you farewell and happy reading. I’ll already be immersed in book 2 as you are reading this.
“Submission is strength. Willpower. Iron control. It’s trust, and relaxation, and rest, and pleasure.”
I would like to thank NetGalley and Riptide Publishing for allowing me to read and review this fascinating title in exchange of an honest review. I truly appreciate it.