Negotiating Love, by Morticia Knight
Series: Sin City Uniforms, Book 5 (Stand-alone)
Publisher: Pride Publishing (October 27, 2015)
Word Count: approx. 51,000 words
Genre: Gay (M/M) Romance; BDSM; Crime/Suspense
Rating: 3 out of 5
* I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review. *
SWAT Team Hostage Negotiator Steve wonders why he can’t stay away from the spoiled, rich Allistair, owner of Dark Fantasy Resort Casino. They have mutual kinks—ones Steve can’t find with other lovers—but there’s something else about the emotionally detached, beautiful man that calls to him.
Billionaire Allistair stays alone in his luxury penthouse apartment at the top of Dark Fantasy, terrified of the real world and of opening himself up to genuine emotions. He takes lover after lover, all of them allowing him to do whatever he wants to their bodies, in the hopes that they can scam something from him.
One night is all he ever shares with a plaything—he knows they only want the money and luxury he can offer them and nothing more. But the down to earth Steve is different. They share the same kinks and are explosive when together. But could the muscled law officer ever want more than the lust-filled encounters that have become such an addiction?
As they grow closer, they discover they also have to find a balance between Steve’s everyday world and Allistair’s entitled world before they can truly find an ever after. They also have to make sure Allistair stays safe. Filthy rich playboys are too tempting to those who seek the ultimate payday—and who aren’t afraid of hurting someone to get it.
There were a lot of things about this novel that I liked, and a lot of things that I really disliked.
My favorite things about this book:
- There’s a reverse power exchange going on that I didn’t expect. Steve is a SWAT police officer, big and muscled, so stereotypically he would be the top. Allistair is a smaller man, more effeminate, although he’s also a brilliant businessman. But the usual power dynamic says the big guy is the Top, and the small guy is the Bottom. I liked that it was reversed.
- The emotions! Steve really cares about Allistair, and wants to protect him from anything dangerous. But because he cares so much, he also wants to protect Allistair from himself, and from his probably-unhealthy introvert tendencies. Allistair is super protective of Steve in exchange, but never smothering. He’s there for Steve, just not overwhelmingly so.
“So what you’re trying to say is that you’re wondering if I might be your chance at love?”
- There was an actual plot, and danger that drove that plot forward, but the story was all about the characters and the relationship. Even when things are hitting the climatic point, Steve and Allistair worry about the other, and work together to keep each other safe. I love relationship-centric novels!
What I disliked about the book:
- The writing style was stilted and awkward, especially Allistair’s dialogue. It was less “business smart” and more “robot”. Some of Steve’s dialogue was just confusing, too, especially when he was upset or angry:
“And since you are no doubt quite familiar with my professional life already, I can detect bullshit from galaxies on the other side of the universe, so bearing that in mind– I expect you to be as honest with me as you claimed you appreciate having from me. Is that clear?”
- The relationship itself was also as problematic as it was enjoyable. There were times when it was epic levels of cheesy (“Have you gone mad?” “No. I’ve gone in love.”), but I was more upset with how fast it moved. At the beginning, Steve clearly doesn’t love Allistair; they have an arrangement and nothing more. But they go from “arrangement” to “love” in the blink of an eye!
- The villain. I won’t spoil anything, but I thought it was stereotypical and not very well done. I also think the climax was resolved way too quickly. One second they tension is rising, and then it’s suddenly gone, and I was confused about what had happened.
A solid novel, and enjoyable, but with some pretty heavy issues that prevented me from really being able to love it.
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