Reviewed by PizzyGirl
AUTHOR: L.A. Witt
NARRATOR: Michael Ferraiuolo
PUBLISHER: Self published
LENGTH: 12 hours, 59 minutes
RELEASE DATE: January 2, 2018
Dr. Mikhail “Misha” Budnikov takes one look at fellow fencer Ryan O’Connor and instantly knows his type. The undisciplined hothead is all ego with no finesse and even less control. In short, Misha’s pet peeves personified. To put the arrogant kid in check, Misha challenges him to a sparring match, which he predictably wins.
Not so predictably, Ryan asks him to be a mentor and show him how to fence. Startled by the moment of humility, Misha agrees.
What begins as fencing lessons becomes something much hotter, and before they know it, Misha is giving Ryan an entirely different kind of education. Dominance, submission, pain, pleasure—at the hands of an older, experienced man, a whole new world is opening up for Ryan.
As the trust deepens and their bond strengthens, though, Ryan retreats because that sham called love left him jaded long ago. Cynical beyond his years, he’s not letting his guard down, least of all for a thrice-divorced man twice his age.
Now Misha has to find a way to crack through those defenses…or accept defeat and walk away from the submissive who might just be the love of his life.
Confession time. I bought this in ebook format the day it was published, but I never read it. THat is partially because of scheduling but mostly out of discontent. I was growing disheartened with the romance genre as a whole as I was reading book after book where I just didn’t FEEL the romance or the love. I was either being told how things were and what I should be feeling or I was being shown mostly through the use of sex. That having penetrative sex meant that the MCs were finally in love and ready to be together forever. I was losing hope and was actually slowing down on reading at all.
And then this story showed up in audiobook format. I follow this author on social media and am always impressed by how articulate she is. This book had been lingering in the back of my mind for some time and the audiobook release was the perfect opportunity for me to silence that part of my brain that said I needed to give this one a chance. And I need to apologize the author for not reading this and leaving a review sooner because OMG there are not enough words to tell you how this story impacted me. 5 stars for sure and if I could, I would give it more. I will yell this to to rooftops that EVERYONE needs to read this one right now.
This is a story that will stick with me for a very long time because it broke me. Not in that emotional, ugly cry, this is a hard book to read. But because it opened up feelings in me that I was sure I had locked away for good. I was positive I was content with the fact that I was going to be single forever, because it is my choice and I am happier being in charge of my life. And then Ryan entered my life and watching him break and learn to love, broke me and forced me to admit that maybe I want what he found with Misha.
At one point in the story Ryan admitted that he felt safe, wanted, and loved. And I can tell you that I felt every bit of that for him and with him. This book was love. Pure and simple this story displayed emotion and growth and love from start to finish. This is the first book in a very long time where love was evident from word one and infused so fully in the characters and the plot and the sex that it leapt off the page and wrapped itself around me before entering my own heart and making me feel wonderful. I never once questioned these men being perfect for one another and I never once felt like the sex or the BDSM dynamic was used to show me that love. The sex and the submission and the fencing and the talk, all simply served to show me that love was in the core of these men and it was the reason for the rest. It was emphasized everytime these men spoke, with every action they took, and the sex was so much HOTTER because of the emotions infused within the act.
Ryan was a great character. He changed so much throughout the story for me. Not simply because he grew and changed himself, but because I did as well. With every emotion and every piece of baggage that was slowly revealed, I was impacted and my view of him altered. I never once felt like I knew who he was and how this would end. But I did know that I could not stop reading to find out more. I needed to know who he really would be in the end and I needed to know that he and Misha would make it and last a lifetime.
I must give the biggest compliment ever to this author for crafting such a seamless story. From word one I was enthralled. I was immersed in the tension and the emotion and I needed to be in this story with these men. I needed the plot, I needed the submission, I needed the romance, I needed the heartache and pain. Everything worked perfectly together to give me two MCs I will love and a romance I will remember forever. I am already planning to listen to this one again as soon as my schedule allows because I need to feel this love once more.
Thank you for this story. It has definitely made a mark on me. There is so much more I want to say about all the things I loved, but this review would be a novel by itself. But know that this review simply touches the tip of the iceberg that is the respect and love I have for this story.
I do regret not reading this in ebook sooner. However, there is a part of me that is utterly glad I did not because the audio version was just perfect. I am not sure the emotion would have been so evident had I read this flat on a page. I think the narration was spot on capturing the essence of the characters and in bringing out the tension and the tears. It may simply be that the narrator was give a fabulous story to work with, but I truly believe the narration added another layer that enhanced my enjoyment immensely.