I might have a current fascination for M/M Romance, but I do read across genres, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, History, Contemporary, Murder Mysteries, Thrillers, and those other romance novels.
Originally reviewed at TWLIB Reviews.
Safeword is the powerful sequel to Power Exchange. It begins about 18 months later after the attack on Gavin and Ben by the Breath Play killer. The reader should read Power Exchange first in order to appreciate the narrative of the sequel.
The story of Gavin and Ben continues to intrigue me. I was excited to find out the fallout from Power Exchange. The storyline is just as compelling as the first book and it draws on the sympathy of the readers. The author takes the couple on a realistic exploration of post-traumatic stress, working their way through the pain. Then they make the ultimate decision I consider as the be all and end all of sacrifice. Meantime, the highly charged events, a stark reminder of the attack by the Breath Play killer, pushes Gavin and Ben on a journey neither one really wants. Someone out there is murdering police officers. The murderer brutalizes the victims with rape and violence. Eventually Gavin and his partner, Myah, put together details of the murders traceable to the abducted teenagers the lead investigator had returned to their parents at the beginning of the story.
One of my favorite details goes back to my quibble in the first story. Gavin so aptly states to Ben.
“It wasn’t my best detective work. My stupidity nearly got us killed.”
He is so right. I can’t help thinking on this major mistake he made in Power Exchange. It shows even the police detectives with experience and training aren’t these perfect humans charged with saving people lives. Gavin’s flaw almost cost his and Ben’s lives and the author does a wonderful job capitalizing on this mistake by having it power the events throughout Safeword. We see the effects with the breakdown of Gavin and Ben’s relationship, the colleagues’ nasty treatment of Gavin, and the constant scrutiny by the media The tension raises as the story reveals that again someone is watching Gavin and Ben.
I enjoy the deepening of Ben Haverson’s personality. He’s having difficulty addressing the guilt in not protecting his sub, Gavin, from the Breath Play killer. Gavin can’t submit to him and Ben won’t force him. As he tells Gavin, who doesn’t believe him, they have something more than just a BDSM relationship. But Gavin believes he will lose Ben if he can’t exert his natural tendency as a Dom.
What keeps me riveted to the chair reading is discovering who the murderer is. This person does terrible things that are horrifying and sad. A light bulb goes off when I realize we don’t have to be involved in BDSM to understand the concept of hard limits. People do reach those hard limits and they sometimes do crazy things. The plot climax has the characters converging onto a single scene. They reach their hard limits, resulting in an explosive and sad end leaving Ben and Gavin distraught.
Overall, Safeword is an excellent sequel to Power Exchange, offering excellent story pace, a well-written and compelling story that immediately draws me, and keeping me engage in the narrative.
Highly recommended, as this is one of the best romantic stories that makes BDSM seamless and natural to the characterization.