Risk Aware, by Amelia C. Gormley
Standalone from the Saugatuck Series
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: May 9, 2016
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Tattoo artist Geoff Gilchrest is convinced his life is some sort of cosmic joke. Why else would a hemophiliac also be a masochist? He’s given himself more than one elbow bleed since puberty just doing what guys do when alone and bored, so forget about whips and chains. How many partners would contemplate playing with someone even a mild flogging could kill?
Gallery owner Robin Brady knows he can deliver what Geoff needs: to be taken to the edge of danger but never beyond. But Robin came to Saugatuck to get away from the leather scene and heal from a betrayal by his former sub, so he’s not sure he should get involved with Geoff. His ambivalence isn’t helped by the fact that Geoff’s unwillingness to communicate about his well-being hits Robin in some very raw places.
Geoff’s hemophilia isn’t the obstacle he thinks it is. Instead, a lack of trust—on both their parts—is what could end them before they have a chance to begin.
Medical Condition (Hemophilia)
My ears perked up when I heard Risk Aware is about a tattoo artist and a gallery owner but that’s where my interest ceased. I will openly admit that hardcore BDSM is not my kink, and add in the fact that Geoff is a masochistic hemophiliac and I was ready to call it quits before I even began. Then I thought just because this particular theme might not be for me, that really has no bearing on whether or not this is a good book. So I decided to give it a shot, going in with an objective mindset, and I’m so glad I did!
Call it my curious nature but for as much as I didn’t know if I could get into this story, I also wanted to know how Gormley would pull it off. Geoff is a young tattoo artist with no real BDSM experience but he longs for it despite his disorder. And not just the blindfold and tie me up kind, but rather, Risk Aware Consensual Kink (RACK) which often involves the kind of pain that could seriously hurt or even kill him. I immediately thought “there’s just no way,” but I quickly learned otherwise when he meets Robin, an experienced dominant with a sense for sexual adventure.
What really grabbed my attention in the story is the message that successful relationships are based on a foundation of trust. For as much as this is true in any case, it plays an especially important role in BDSM. Both Geoff and Robin have trust issues for various reasons so for as much as they talk about the importance of communication, they have a hard time following through. These misunderstandings occur on several occasions and I kept wondering if they would be able to work it out.
Much like Geoff, I focused solely on one type of pain play but Robin’s creativity showed me there are so many other options that Geoff could get everything he ever wanted without causing major damage. This was my favorite part of the book as it convinced me that if you find the right person anything is possible. I learned a lot, actually, and it opened my eyes to a world that I had been ignorant to. I can’t say that I’ll be jumping on the BDSM bandwagon, there were a few scenes that made me cringe, but I do have a new found respect for the lifestyle. The sex is plentiful in this one and it ranges from mild to the extreme so I think there’s a little something for everyone.
In the end, I really liked this book. I thought the writing was excellent, the story engaging and the characters made me feel all the feels. If you think this one might be for you I say go for it!
Amelia C. Gormley published her first short story in the school newspaper in the 4th grade, and since then has suffered the persistent delusion that enabling other people to hear the voices in her head might be a worthwhile endeavor. She’s even convinced her hapless spouse that it could be a lucrative one as well, especially when coupled with her real-life interest in angst, kink, social justice issues, and pretty men.
When her husband and son aren’t interacting with the back of her head as she stares at the computer, they rely on her to feed them, maintain their domicile, and keep some semblance of order in their lives (all very, very bad ideas—they really should know better by now.) She can also be found playing video games and ranting on Tumblr, seeing as how she’s one of those horrid social justice warriors out to destroy free speech, gaming, geek culture, and everything else that’s fun everywhere.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.