Storm Moon Press, April 1, 2011
Links: Author’s website | Twitter | Buy book here
For over 250 years, the use of the tarot for divination has been a mainstay of mystical and occult practices. The themes and forces represented by the cards are said to govern our lives and our destinies. Whether you believe that or not, the story of the cards is nevertheless the story of our lives -- the accomplishments and the pitfalls, the path from soaring joy to crushing defeat and back again.
Aaron is a dominant soul stuck in an ivory Tower. His inexperience with the submissive side of the Scene prompts a fellow top named Travis to offer Aaron a chance to see what he's been missing. When Aaron agrees, the experience threatens to knock down Aaron's entire house of cards. And he's not entirely sure he minds.
(This short story was originally published in the "Cast the Cards" anthology.)
Genre & Keywords:
M/M Romance, Contemporary, BDSM, Club, Switch, HFN-ending, D/s, Spanking, Mild bondage
This was a short story about 15 pages long. It is told in the first person POV of Aaron, an executive assistant who likes control of his environment. He is also a Dom and has never entertained the idea of playing the sub. After accepting an invitation to a new fetish club he witnesses a scene played out by a Dom named Travis. He is unnerved by the fantasies he has of being on the receiving end of Travis’ games. The two start talking Dom to Dom and Travis ends up convincing Aaron to try being a sub with him, just so he can know what it feels like, therefore making him a better Dom.
The story is about Aaron realizing there is a part of him that needs to surrender every once in a while to let him truly relax. This isn’t a romance. There’s some spanking, mutual blow jobs and some teasing over the situation and both characters are likable. I was a little bothered that the author felt the need to keep pointing out examples of Aaron being in control of his surroundings, because that is what he does, as if we would forget. And spitting into the corner of the sheets, no matter how ‘discretely’ just isn’t sexy *g*. Kind of took me out of the moment.
I feel short stories belong in anthologies. I just can’t justify paying for an individual short. Surrender was originally published in the "Cast the Cards" anthology. I would be willing to look into a collection of Piet’s short stories.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 1 out of 3
I found this a hot and entertaining story for such a short offering. Aaron's struggle with his own perception of himself as a Dom is worked out well and made believable within the limited extent of the story. There are basically two major scenes, both situated at a BDSM club. In the first Aaron witnesses a public scene in which Travis spanks a bound submissive towards his sexual high. In the second scene Travis and Aaron actually meet and Aaron reluctantly accepts Travis' invitation to try the special spanking glove Travis used earlier, which ends in them having sex and an insightful experience. Both scenes excel in conveying the chemistry between the MC's and in evoking empathic feelings, especially for Aaron since we're seeing things from his perspective.
Although I didn't get the whole tarot cards theme that's talked about in the back blurb, I understood that Aaron and Travis' encounter was somehow a change of destination, especially for Aaron. Maybe when you read the complete "Cast the Cards" anthology this story originally was a part of, it becomes more clear, but altogether Surrender can very well be read as a standalone story, it doesn't need the added meaning or layer of the cards in my opinion.
In terms of plot development this story is, of course, not comparable to a novel and therefore not satisfying my need for character depth and relationship tension to the fullest. However, I can see a future for this couple in which their Happy For Now (HFN) ending can develop into a HEA with interesting twists and turns on their way there. The way the characters are portrayed and brought to life so easily, with an interesting potential conflict, is a good indication for the possibilities this couple offers. In that sense, it saddened me that we were only offered a short story. But whatever the reasons for its limited page-count, in its genre this is a very good example of a well written, interesting and sexy read.
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 2.5 out of 3