We read and review for the love and joy of books.
Genre: MM BDSM
Sloan Driscoll and Cole Fujiwara are thrown together as roommates by their fathers. Both older men had played professional baseball together, and when Sloan needs to relocate to New York City to attend college, Cole’s father automatically offers Cole’s place to Sloan— without Cole’s permission and against his wishes.
Sloan is trying to start over in a location far away from his father’s influence. He has a history of drug abuse and possession arrests, and he also has a history of cutting. Neither issue has disappeared from his life, but he’s trying to keep his drug use and his cutting minimal. The problem occurs the moment he meets Cole and has to listen to his verbally abusive tirades.
Cole is losing his sight due to retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease, and he’s struggling to cope with his impending blindness. Its cost him his career in baseball, and it looks like it’s going to cost him much more. He finds it extremely difficult to cope with the thought of going blind, and even though he’s working with a blind psychologist at the Lighthouse Institute, he finds the disease demeaning. He refuses to tell anyone about it, except for his parents and fiancé, Julianna. He definitely will not tell Sloan. No how, no way.
Apparently enemies attract, because the chemistry between the two men explodes one night when they are arguing, and Sloan ends up giving Cole a blow job. Cole has always refused to acknowledge his attraction to men, but now he has one more thing to struggle with besides his impending blindness. The two start a push-pull relationship, alternating between being hot for each other and Cole being frosty and aloof. In the meantime, Sloan has met a professional photographer who wants to give Sloan work as a high-paid fashion model. Sloan, who has major body image issues, refuses to believe that anyone can desire him for his looks, but he does enter into an affair with the photographer. Just one more thing to complicate his life, and then the photographer turns out to be into BDSM and tries to make Sloan believe that pain is the answer to his problems.
This story had a lot going on, but to be honest, I never felt the romance. In fact, when Sloan finally declared that he loved Cole, it made sense that the declaration wasn’t even to Cole himself. They were two polar opposites, and it is remarkable to me that this story can even carry the label M/M romance. It was more like M/M sex with a little bit of BDSM and a little bit of M/F sex thrown in, exploding into a mish-mash of subplots woven together by a miserable SOB who was going blind and an amoral young man who needed constant stroking.
The only thing that kept me from giving this one heart is John Solo’s narration. He had a much wider range of vocalizations than he has had in any of the other audiobooks I’ve heard him narrate. Although I didn’t like the voice he gave Cole, it was actually perfect for Cole’s abrasive personality. After I finished the book, I discovered that this is the first in a series. It’s definitely one I will not read or listen to, and I can’t honestly recommend this story as an M/M romance.