Don’t Hold Back by Lynn Burke

Don’t Hold Back by Lynn Burke
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short story (75 pages)
Other: M/F, BDSM, Voyeurism, Toys (rope play)
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Kelly Sadel has lived her life by a feels-o-meter since showing emotion as a kid was a big no-no. A timid analyst and fur baby momma, she avoids anything that stirs up her boring life. Secretly, she crushes on the man who rides the elevator with her every morning — he’s a unicorn amidst an office full of conservative short-hairs. He also sets her nerves on edge, topping her feels-o-meter to the limit, an oh-no in her carefully constructed world.

Accidentally dumping a box of cupcakes on his loafers grabs his unwanted attention, and he isn’t too quick to let go.

Jamison Byrne has worked his way through the submissives at Monique’s club hoping to find his own little subbie. He wants a collared sub, a woman to enjoy mutual pleasure his ropes bring without getting emotionally involved beyond scening.
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Manipulation comes easy from years of life beneath a narcissistic asshole’s thumb, and Jamison finally gets Kelly to relent — but with her only agreeing to be friends. Jamison sweeps in but finds his feet swept beneath him as her nurturing nature opens him in ways he never expected. Sure he has found his “person,” he needs to find a way to share his darker desires and get Kelly to stop holding back and feel. He knows he can set her free, but does she want him to? Can he help her find the courage to face the emotions that come with submitting her body — and heart?

Kelly couldn’t help but drool over the handsome, buff Jamison Byrne every time they caught the elevator together. While he certainly wasn’t her type and she knew she’d never dare make a move on him, a girl could look, right? Until one morning Kelly didn’t look where she was going properly and ended up dropping a box full of cupcakes onto Jamison’s shoes. Absolutely mortified, Kelly is determined to forget the incident, only Jamison is determined to have her in every way and discover if Kelly is as submissive and sensual in the bedroom as she appeared in the elevator.

I found this to be a seriously steamy, lightly kinky BDSM story. I was a little uneasy at first. While we, as the reader, knew for sure that Kelly was attracted to Jamison I felt that at the very beginning of the story he walked a very fine line between confidence and arrogance. I didn’t think Jamison ever stepped over the wrong side of the line, but I was nervous that even after Kelly gently and politely turned him down Jamison nevertheless had a bundle of self-assurance (thinking how he “knew Kelly wanted him” and how “women didn’t say no to him”). I was pleased the author made it clear that Jamison was interested in Kelly because of the desire and attraction he felt for her – it wasn’t his ego or pique that had him chasing after her. But until Jamison realised he wanted to be friends – not just intimate – with Kelly I worried that this sexy story could have gone either way for me, personally.

There’s a mountain of chemistry and attraction between Jamison and Kelly, but I was pleasantly surprised that they took a good amount of time to get to know each other and became friendly before stepping over to be intimate together. I was pleased for this slower beginning – both Kelly and Jamison have baggage and issues that needed to be worked through and I feel that their relationship was a lot stronger – and more realistic – because of the time and effort they both spent learning about each other and spending time together outside the bedroom. The fact Kelly wasn’t in the BDSM lifestyle and she needed (I feel) to be eased into the kinkier aspects of Jamison’s life was addressed quite well and I thought was handled with care.

Despite the slower-paced start, once Jamison and Kelly become intimate I felt this story really flew high. The attraction, care and genuine feelings between Jamison and Kelly really convinced me they were building something lasting. They were friends as well as lovers and delving into the BDSM lifestyle together. I didn’t feel the kink was too envelope pushing – mostly rope-play and a bit of voyeurism at the club Jamison was a member at – and most erotica readers should find the level of play between Kelly and Jamison to not be confronting.

A steamy and fun read, this was a good short story.

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