Every once in awhile (especially on cold, dark wintry days), I love a good weeping book. You know, the books that have you reaching for tissues. I found just the book this past month and have been waiting for a chance to share it with you because the love story between these incredible characters touched me so deeply. I closed the book at the end feeling as if I knew them, wishing I knew them, in fact, so that I could give them a call and ask how everything is going. Here's my review of The Reluctant Dom by Tymber Dalton as originally written for TRR...
The Reluctant Dom will forever be one of those books that you carry in your heart, having taught you something and changed you in the course of your reading. The reader is immersed in the lives of all three main characters from page one. At its core, The Reluctant Dom is a beautiful love story and the emotional wrenching is extraordinary. (But break out the tissues because you will need them.) It is one of those unique love stories that has the HEA but still rips your heart out along the way, stomping on it before nurturing it once again back to life.
As the voice of this story, the author takes us deep inside this unconventional relationship through Seth’s eyes. Seth and Kaden have been close friends since childhood and, in most ways, they are closer than brothers. It’s no surprise then that Kaden chooses Seth to confide in when he finds out he’s dying of pancreatic cancer. The surprise is in what exactly he asks of Seth. So overwhelmed with the knowledge that Kaden is dying that he can barely breathe * Kaden’s dying * much less accept all the other strange things that Kade shares with him. The one thing that he is certain of – the very thing that propels him forward – is that he will do whatever Kaden needs of him.
Kaden is a brave man whose only concern is for his wife Leah, a strong woman with a dark need that only Kade has been able to provide for. Leah was sexually abused as a child by both her biological father and in the foster homes in which she lived. As a means to deal with Leah’s subsequent need to feel pain and to help her express her emotions appropriately, Leah and Kaden discover the D/s lifestyle. While some readers may feel objection to this choice, the author does preface the book by explaining that their lifestyle may be outside the norm. And that their lifestyle differed from my own did not diminish the compelling story of undying love.
When Kaden explains their lifestyle to Seth, including the reasons for why they first got involved in the D/s lifestyle, Seth accepts them but is confused by his role. Seth is shocked * Kaden's dying * but agrees to move in with them during Kaden’s final months. And then comes another shock for Seth when Kaden explains his desire to prepare Seth to take over the care for Leah when he's gone * Kaden’s dying *. Kaden wants Seth to take over being Leah's Master. Seth doesn't think he will be able to ever understand their lifestyle but he is willing to accept it because he loves them both unconditionally. And as the author creates a sense of normalcy for Seth, the reader grows to consider the feelings that Leah, Seth, and Kaden share as normal.
This author does something special that many authors fail at as she uses the sex scenes to further the story. As Seth becomes more accepting of his role of master and deepens his confidence in the lifestyle, the interchanges between the three characters shift. Each sex scene, whether D/s or vanilla, depicts the emotional journey of the characters. When the characters interact intimately, the reader can sense the love, compassion and friendship resonating in the scene.
The reader will also feel the grief at times overpowering Seth. It was genius of the author to remind the reader, much as Seth was constantly reminded, that * Kaden's dying * throughout the book. The way in which Seth grieved for Kaden before, during, and after was so real, intense and heartbreaking. While he is discovering feelings he’s always had for Leah, Seth still prays for the miracle.
The Reluctant Dom is an unconventional love story of a wounded woman who is loved unconditionally by two men. The fact that they live a D/s lifestyle does not change the fact that these men will do everything in their power to care for her. Kade’s preparations for his death speak eloquently to his love. Leah’s need to be strong for Kaden shouts of her love. And Seth’s willingness to embrace the love of two people most important to him is simply an amazing testament of love. Beautifully written with a powerful message, The Reluctant Dom is going on my “favorites” shelf though its a bit smudged with stains from the 5 CHOCOLATE DIPPED STRAWBERRIES it earned.
This review originally posted at: http://erotic.theromancereviews.com/viewbooksreview.php?bookid=1342