Even within the context of the Underground BDSM Club, Joshua’s desires are dark and extreme. Hopelessly addicted to pain and the high it gives him, he has no limits. Joshua would quite literally rather die than use a safeword, and he accepts that might be his fate. As much as he depends on others, he has yet to find a man who can gain his trust, and he has little hope that he ever will.
For Nash, acquiring Joshua from another Dom at the club is only the first step in what will be a long and arduous road to lure the young man back from the brink of self-destruction. He must do the impossible and win Joshua’s trust, and he must be the one to set limits in their exploration—something he’s unaccustomed to as a Dom. But Nash knows dominance doesn’t always mean pushing a submissive’s boundaries. It’s about establishing a bond and fulfilling another man’s needs. In Joshua’s case, he’ll have to strike a balance between meeting the young man’s expectations and drawing firm lines that will save Joshua from himself.
A young man hell-bent on pain and death crosses the path of a kind and understanding Dom, and they try to make things work through a series of scenes of escalating sex, pain play, and love.
Petersen is a good writer when it comes to the emotional and erotic sides of BDSM. I can’t attest to her expertise, per se, but her stories read well. Her fluent and effortless writing especially shines in character creation when she gives us fascinating, realistic, multi-faceted men who are flawed but still deserving of love. In this, though, the characterization is a bit odd. Namely Joshua who’s supposed to be an uneducated street kid–but who speaks using adult, educated language that often threw me and pulled me out of the story. Apart from that, no complaints.
The plot in this one is a little thin. Joshua, the sub, has a yearning for pain that’s so all-encompassing that it borders on a death wish. Nash, the Dom, falls for the man at first sight, takes him to his place, writes up a contract, and then tries to convince Joshua that there’s plenty to live for. It’s not complicated, so there’s a bit of repetition here. Some scenes, while hot, feel like area that’s already been covered. But this is a work in progress, trying to talk someone off the ledge. Also, since the blurb suggests Joshua’s problem is deeply engrained into his personality, he steps off the edge of self-destruction quite quickly. Nonetheless, a plot doesn’t have to be overly complex to be compelling, and this story, stacked full of sexual and sensual scenes, has a magnetic pull that kept me at the edge of my seat throughout.
The story begins when Nash has already seen Joshua before many times which made me feel like I’d come into the story in the middle. Plus, the story ends really abruptly, like practically in the middle of a scene. Perhaps some, including the author, might think the story is fine ending there, but I felt like there was way more story there but I didn’t get it. A matter of personal taste?
After all that you might think this isn’t worth your time. But you’d be wrong. Because this is a solid story of the darker side of BDSM. Many readers probably aren’t familiar with pain play and how it can be an outlet for people, the way it is for Joshua. BDSM offers him controlled situations where he can let go and enjoy pain. He longs to have limits but has never met anyone who’s taken him beyond that point. Nash instinctually understands Joshua, so they click well. This is a fascinating subject, and this tale opens a door into it. I rather liked it, and can’t wait for more.
This is part of a series, Underground Club, but can be read as a standalone. I recommend this to everyone who’s intrigued with BDSM, the Dom/sub relationship, the concept of pain mixed with pleasure, and flawed, realistic men who more than deserve a happy ending.