Reviewed by Becca
TITLE: Sicken of the Calm
SERIES: Fox Lake #1
AUTHOR: Marina Vivancos
LENGTH: 225 pages
RELEASE DATE: October 4, 2017
Joaquin would never forget the boy who came out in the middle of the school cafeteria when they were both fifteen. Would never forget his bright eyes and clenched fists, in defiance of the rest of the world. Ezra. His unapologetic bravery was something that would haunt Joaquin who, despite being the captain of his high school football team, was too reserved to come out before college, let alone approach the boy he admired from afar.
Joaquin is in his third year at Fox Lake University when he sees Ezra again. Joaquin expects the distance between them to remain unbreeched, but Ezra, as brash and impetuous as he was in high school, crashes into his life. At first, it’s just a shared class project, but it doesn’t take long for things between them to heat up. Before Joaquin knows what’s happening, he’s squirming on a chair as Ezra watches him jerk off, those clear, intent eyes pinning him in place. This starts a friends-with-benefits relationship with the aim of exploring a submissive and Dominant dynamic in bed, dipping a toe in the BDSM world together.
However, nothing is ever so simple. As their sexual relationship amps up, so does their friendship deepen, fed by those gentle moments after sex, underbelly-soft and vulnerable. As Joaquin gets to know Ezra better he realizes that his assumptions about who Ezra is, and even the assumptions he has made about himself, have to be challenged in order to break the cycles that may lead to their relationship breaking apart.
[This story contains plenty of banter, a fuckbuddies-to-more romance, and light, exploratory BDSM themes revolving around Dom/sub dynamics and kinks such as orgasm delay, praise kink and mild bondage. Although part of a series, this story can be read as a standalone with its own HEA.]
You know I read a snippet at the end of this book that said this was the author’s first book and I’ve got to say that she hit it out of the park with this one. My only complaint at all was there were a few grammatical errors in there but nothing too serious. I just kinda had to read the sentence over to make sure I got it right. Anyhoo. Other than that, this was a hit. I really enjoyed it. And if it wasn’t for my sick kid and me, it would have been one I wouldn’t have been able to put down. But alas, nap time was calling, lol.
The story is about two young college men who went to high school together as well. The surprise is they didn’t know they went to the same college. Joaquin was aware of Ezra for years though. Ezra was his first guy crush and he was so scared to say anything, even though Ezra made it quite publicly clear that he was gay. Or bi. Joaquin always admired the way Ezra came out and wished it hadn’t taken him as long to do so, but he didn’t feel as brave. Little did he know, that it was harder for Ezra than he thought. And Ezra had a surprise about Joaquin himself. They end up meeting again in a class they share together. Joaquin is so in panic mode because he doesn’t know how to react, but Ezra being overly brave, as Joaquin sees him, pushes himself into Joaquin’s life by way of a project for class. One day stress is too much and before you know it, Joaquin has his pants and boxers down by his ankles pleasing himself to Ezra’s commands and watchful eyes. And so begins their relationship. They establish it as friends with benefits, and learn each other through bondage and other milder forms of BDSM. But through each high and come down, Joaquin is growing more attached but is afraid to say anything because he thinks with Ezra being the ‘dominant’ that Ezra will make the first move. But he realizes that something has to be said and done or he will lose the one man that gets him like no other.
I love the Dynamics between these two. Although they are around the same height, Joaquin is bulky. Big. From playing football. He’s also Puerto Rican. So he has this beautiful skin. Ezra is more sinewy. He has muscles, but he’s sleek, with pale skin but no less beautiful. But what most people would ‘assume’ is that because Joaquin is the bulky sports guy he would be the top. The dominant. While Ezra being the twinkier one would be more submissive. Wrong. And Joaquin is in hog heaven because Ezra always seems to know what he needs. He needs to be able to fully give up control and taken to places beyond comprehension and Ezra gives him that. Ezra takes the control like a pro and they fly with it. And as they learn together what takes them farther and higher together, Joaquin is learning he wants this to be more than just friends with benefits. He wants this man as his boyfriend, his partner, and more than just his lover. But he is so in his own head that he doesn’t know how or doesn’t think he should. Sometimes he doesn’t see what is really going on as far as Ezra is concerned. As much as Ezra loves to dominate and be in control, he also wants to be taken and taken care of. And Joaquin is missing it. It’s breaking up their dynamic and the distance is becoming vast. And he doesn’t want to lose this man. The other part of his heart. I was dying on the inside watching this unfold. Because these two are so perfectly suited for each other. Sure there will be fights and arguments and things to work out. But the good will outweigh all that.
I tell you, the way the author was so descriptive of everything. The way she did it, it was right at amazing. The words had a way of pulling you in and you could picture everything, from the pleasure to the pain of everything that happened. Even to a simple day. The words were very poetic and I love that it took you to another plain along with them. Like I said, she hit it out of the park with this one. I hope there will be more to this series and more from this author. Please give her a try and read this book. It truly is a work of art.