Haunted by Sean Michael

Haunted by Sean Michael
Publisher: self-published
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, LGBTQ
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Will Halloween bring a trick or a treat for two lonely men?

Rusty’s had a hard time of it. Six months ago he walked in on his master with another man in their bed and left with little more than the clothes he was wearing and his laptop. Since then he’s been staying with Marcus and Jim, working and saving up for a place of his own. When Halloween rolls around, he’s not feeling the spirit of the holiday, but Jim and Tanny convince to come to the club with them.

Master Karl loves coming to the Hammer’s Halloween party as it marks the end of his work year. A designer and builder of haunted houses, he spends most of the year on the road for business with November and December as his time off.
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Marcus and Billy invite Karl to join their table at the Halloween party and he’s attracted to Rusty immediately. When sharing a meal leads to a dance which leads to Rusty going home with Karl, it could be the start of something special for both men. Can some Halloween magic bring Karl and Rusty the happy endings they deserve?

After finding his Master cheating on him, Rusty leaves with only his phone, keys and the clothes he’s wearing – devastated by the betrayal and his shock. Staying with his friends, Marcus and Jim while he finds his feet, Rusty is struggling to regain his confidence. At the Halloween party at the Hammer, Rusty meets Karl, a gentle Master who has struggled himself to find a compatible partner as much of his work keeps him away from home while he helps set up Haunted Houses across the country. Can these two men find something special this holiday period?

I’m a big fan of Sean Michael’s Hammer stories and was really pleased to find this was a full length novel. While the short-stories are always fun and a great, quick read, I really appreciated how the longer length allowed the author to spend a bit more time setting up the relationship and dynamics between Rusty and Karl. I was also pleased – but a little surprised – how while the relationship is certainly set in the BDSM lifestyle both Karl and Rusty were looking for something a little different. Rather than the usual heavy kink and envelope-pushing aspects of BDSM both the main characters were into something just a little bit more gentle. I was pleased that a lot of the less-portrayed aspects of the lifestyle were front and center in this story. Critical aspects like communication, creating rules and boundaries and discussing scenes and what each of them were seeking to have satisfied from both the lifestyle and their relationship.

While none of these things are new or different, I find in most BDSM stories they are often overlooked, or just mentioned for a fleeting second in passing then mostly ignored. Having them be critical to both Rusty and Karl – and some of the other more subtle aspects of the lifestyle – be the important aspects for our heroes really meant these things were in the spotlight and given a lot of time and space in the story and I found this really refreshing. While not as heavily kinky or envelope pushing as other aspects to the BDSM lifestyle I was pleased to see this slightly different relationship unfurl and grow. It was lovely to watch and I found myself eagerly turning the pages.

Readers who are looking to dip a toe into a BDSM story should find this really suits their tastes. While there is kink and plenty of sex this isn’t a hard or harsh story that is right on the edge. This is predominantly a love story to my mind – the slow, delicious drop between two men interested in the BDSM lifestyle who get to know each other and start to mesh their lives together and work out a lovely, deep, emotional relationship.

Sexy, romantic and realistic, I really enjoyed this steamy hot story.

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