James Kaden-Scott’s method of coping with fear is escape and when his father tries to force him to do something that could kill him, he takes a job on Elan Isle as their accountant. While he knows the town is kinky, he has no idea what that means. Until the day he arrives.
Alec Rowland has been in the BDSM lifestyle for seventeen years and loves it. For the first time in his life, he craves having a sub of his own. From the moment he meets James, he feels a pull toward him. When James asks him to teach him about kink, he’s thrilled.
Between having his eyes opened to the kink world and trying to find his footing on Elan Isle, James finds himself torn between the old him and the new. When his worst fears come calling, history says to run, but for the first time in his life, he has something… someone to fight for. But those fears are strong, and some of them are real. If he makes a misstep, he could lose everything. If that happens, running may be his only recourse.
This story brings an abused and scared man to full life. When he finds the courage to open himself up to new experiences he learns just how lucky he is. James has been through so much it just broke my heart. That anyone can come out of such hate and be such a beautiful person is beyond me.
When Alec meets James he sees right away just how strong and special he is. As these two dynamic and engaging characters grow in to a strong and loving couple, I couldn’t bring myself to put it down.
There is a BDSM theme, which is gently brought out throughout the story.
When I selected Making His Stand I hadn’t realized that it was the second book in this series. But it can be read as a standalone. For me, the beginning started out slow. The first chapter was mostly world info about the isle, the Co-op, and the upcoming kinky faire with some background on how Alec came to live there. The second chapter picked up the pace a bit with the introduction of James but was still slow for me. I think that was because I expected this romance to encompass both the relationship between James and Alex as well as intimacy that included BDSM elements. The majority of this story was about James finding a place and community where he felt safe to be who he was. He was still learning what he liked and wanted sexually but that played only a small part of the story. There’s a lot of talk of the type of kink found in this community, but if you’ve never read BDSM before or are new to the sub-genre it would be the right amount of information to whet your appetite.
Like I said, I expected more. Since I have read a ton of BDSM novels of all varieties, there were parts that were slow for me. There was mention of James being interested in puppy play and I was looking forward into sinking into his journey until I realized that there would be very little kink content. Then I switched expectation gears.
James lacked self-esteem and some of his dramatic responses to situations made him seem fragile to me. I admit I was highly skeptical about his virginal status at the age of 29. There are reasons given, of course. And there was the strange relationship he had with his straight friend, Stan, and their conversation about James’s sex toys. That struck me as weird and pulled me out of the story. Alec’s character seemed more like a supporting character than an equal partner in the romance. I think that if there had been BDSM scenes as Alec and James came to know each other then Alec’s growth to accepting James as first his sub and then falling in love with James would’ve been shown instead of told.
All in all, this was a good story about James finding his place and standing up for himself.