Brandon McKinney has scraped and sacrificed for what little in life he’s ever had. Though it’s been fifteen years since he escaped his father’s abuse, the damage remains. Trust seems as far out of reach as his dream of becoming an architect, and though he’s come to accept being gay, he can’t deny the shame and confusion he feels at other urges—the deeply-repressed desire to submit.
Jonathan Watkins is a self-made Silicon Valley billionaire whose ex-wife took half his money and even more of his faith. Comfortable as a Dominant but wary of being hurt again, he resorts to anonymous pickups and occasional six-month contracts with subs seeking only a master, not a lover.
When a sizzling back-alley encounter cues Jonathan in to Brandon’s deep-seated submissive side, he makes the man an offer: Give me six months of your life, and I’ll open your eyes to a whole new world. Brandon doesn’t care about that; all he wants is the three million dollars Jonathan’s offering so he can buy the construction company he works for. But he soon learns that six months on his knees is no easy feat, and shame and pride may keep him from all he ever wanted—and all he never dreamed he had any right to have.
The blurb pretty much gives you a background on the story so I’ll start with Jonathan offering the contract to Brandon.
Jonathan wants Brandon as his submissive for six months. At the end of the six months Jonathan will give Brandon the three million dollars he needs to buy the construction company that he works for. Jonathan really likes Brandon’s ideas about building and very much wants to help him out - while getting what he wants as well. Brandon has to think about it for a while – especially after Jonathan shows him his dungeon – but agrees. Jonathan asks Brandon if there are stipulations he needs to make in the contract before they begin. This is where I had my first issue with the story. Jonathan basically has told Brandon nothing about what being a submissive is all about. Though Brandon is consenting to it with the one stipulation that there be no blood involved – he truly has no idea what he’s getting himself into. Yes, he consents but in BDSM if it’s a completely uninformed consent is it truly consent? I’m nowhere near an expert on BDSM but it seems like Jonathan should have told Brandon what he would expect from him - even if he didn't go into complete detail he should have been given some clues. Would Brandon have consented then? I have no idea. In my mind BDSM is for both participants enjoyment and in this case Jonathan crossed a line as Brandon enjoyed very little of what he got.
Jonathan shames and humiliates Brandon and borders on torture to get him to be submissive. What started as a possible relationship between the two men really turned into a master/slave relationship immediately and at some points it was incredibly hard to read. This is a very graphic book with beatings, cage imprisonment, taser shocking and much, much more. When Brandon finally gives in to Jonathan on a certain level (and strictly for on the surface – not truly in his mind) Brandon is rewarded with Jonathan’s attention and caring. I think Brandon was so exhausted from the treatment he had been getting that any show of affection was something he wanted to soak up.
After 3 weeks Jonathan finally realizes that the situation with Brandon isn’t going to work. Since Brandon refuses to leave – he needs that 3 mil – Jonathan does everything in his power to force Brandon’s hand so to speak. The BDSM play got more forceful, ugly and angry. Though I was near the end of the book and definitely wanted to see how it ended I almost stopped reading for good. Jonathan had the power to break the contract – in my eyes he should have just told Brandon flat out that he was done and left it at that. I know he wanted it to be Brandon’s choice but the way he went about it was all wrong.
In the end the two actually talk and work some issues out and decide to move on. Unfortunately this is where the book ends and we’re left not knowing how matters are handled from that point. Jonathan does admit that he handled the situation all wrong but can an old sadist learn new tricks? IDK. Though I want to see how their relationship goes I don’t know that I can read the next book when it comes out. The BDSM was a little too hard core for me in this one and it took me several weeks of putting this book down and taking a break in between readings for me to get through it.
Despite my misgivings about Brandon’s consent and subsequent BDSM scenes the story between the two men was strangely compelling. The book wasn’t what I expected at all from reading the blurb but it was well written and that was a big plus for the book. The romantic in me wanted more of an interpersonal relationship between the two men and less BDSM but, there it is.
Rating: 3.75 out of 5