The Man He Needs by Sarah Masters

MAN
The Man He Needs by Sarah Masters
Publisher: Totally Bound
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (60 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal sex, Bondage, Abuse
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Cactus

Two mistrusting men who have secrets they’d rather not share…

After a drunken night out, Christian goes back to Alfie’s house for sex. The thought never crossed his mind that Alfie would hold him hostage in his cellar. Christian would never have thought he’d come to care for Alfie either—but as weeks pass, he does. Although he can’t explain how he feels, it doesn’t much matter. There’s no one out there to miss him anyway.

Alfie has his reasons for keeping Christian tied up, and they are heartbreaking. He’s had a terrible past, one no child should ever live, and the morning after the night he took Christian home, he snapped. He couldn’t bear for yet another person to leave him and, knowing what he was about to do was wrong, he did it anyway.
Despite their harrowing pasts, the two men form a bond and together discover that there is a way to trust…finally.

Staying was what Christian had in mind even before he was chained in the basement. After an amazing night together, Christian knew he had a connection with Alfie. He could already see them in a relationship and happy together. Unfortunately Alfie was too terrified of his past demons to see the same future so instead he chained Christian in the basement. Most people would have been understandably upset and freaked out at the turn of events but soon Christian realizes that he wanted to stay with Alfie anyway. Now he just needs to find a way to show Alfie the truth.

The Man He Needs is a very thought provoking novella. It’s too short to really develop the characters fully and the interactions between the two are minimal unfortunately. The main thrust of the story takes place in Christian’s head with a significant portion dedicated to Alfie recounting his sad history of relationships. Christian is the first person narrator and it’s hard to engage with his voice. I didn’t really understand what was going on initially and how long he had been held prisoner but eventually the details sort themselves out. Even still most of the story is told in Christian’s head and I didn’t really understand nor like the character. He recounts, for Alfie, a story about his last boyfriend beating him viciously and how he crawled away wondering why he was always a victim. He has a very “why me” attitude while repeating the same behavior that got him in trouble in the first place.

Granted, he couldn’t know that Alfie would hold him hostage so I can’t hold him responsible for that yet I still didn’t warm to him. Alfie is an easier character to pity with a horrible childhood and a pattern of men leaving him for being too clingy and needing love. And I did pity Alfie, considerably, so I was happy to see the two men work things out and realize their needs were very suited for each other. That said, the whole thing was definitely illegal and kind of freaky, not at all non-con in a sexy way; more of a border line serial killer way. However, it does end with a happy ever after so perhaps it doesn’t matter how it got there.

I found The Man He Needs to be a different story featuring two very emotionally damaged men. I think the success to the story for readers may lie in their ability to suspend disbelief. It’s hard to imagine that even though Christian liked Alfie, he would still have all those positive feelings after being chained in the basement for a month. Though perhaps true love really does win!

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