Submission Guidelines, by T. Neilson
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (June 10, 2015)
Page Count: 105
Genre: Gay (M/M) Romance
Short & Sweet: Food critic Cole Doren has just moved to a new town on the East Coast, starting over after the loss of his boyfriend. He meets his neighbor Daniel and the attraction is instant. Unfortunately for Cole, Daniel isn’t just a friendly (and gorgeous) neighbor; he’s also a bounty hunter, and Cole’s DNA has come up as a match to Daniels’ next target.
My Thoughts: A short, easy, and overall enjoyable read, but not a lot of substance. I should note that I’m a bit biased, because I’m not a huge fan of novellas; I feel like they rarely have enough length to fully develop a deep and meaningful relationship, so the plot always feels rushed as the author tries to squeeze it in alongside the romance. And that’s basically what happened here: too much trying to fit into too small a space.
Cole is quickly introduced as a quirky but fun character. He’s still not familiar with his new neighborhood, and accidentally breaks into his neighbor’s house while drunk one afternoon. That neighbor is Daniel, who is calm and vastly amused in the face of Cole’s embarrassment and lack of verbal filter. They’re two opposites who fit together surprisingly well.
The title, cover image, and summary imply that this is a BDSM novel. I would hesitate to go so far. It is certainly a novel with some BDSM in it, but Cole’s history of online BDSM videos is really not relevant to the plot and seems awkward when placed in the surrounding story. I got the feeling that the author just wanted some kinky sex, but didn’t bother to set up a framework to show how BDSM would actually be relevant to either character or to the plot.
Like I said before, there was a bit too much crammed into just over a hundred pages. Cole’s past and the loss of his boyfriend, as well as Daniel’s history in New York City and his relationship with Maria, are hinted at but never delved into. And the relationship was rushed by necessity; where there could have been excellent character development and some great angst and emotional turmoil, there was instead only a brief interlude before returning to the plot.
If this novella was double in size, I would probably love it a lot more. But overall it was enjoyable, and a nice, quick read.