Series: The Subs Club, Book 4
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: June 4, 2016
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
We started the Subs Club to make the kink community safer for subs. Except now the others are so busy chasing their happy endings, it’s like they’ve forgotten what Bill did to Hal and the fact that he got away with it. They used to think I was betraying Hal’s memory by hooking up with the owners of the club where he died. Now they don’t seem to care about any of it anymore.
Maybe I am sometimes angry with GK and Kel for giving Bill a second chance, but they’ve been mentoring me for a year now, and whatever else they’ve done, they make me feel incredibly safe. So I want to try something: I want to offer them my complete submission, 24/7. To serve the people who forgave Bill. That’s the way I want to hurt.
Except I’m starting to care about them in a way I never meant to—and I think they feel the same way. But after Hal, I don’t know if I want to be in love again. Because what I really need, more than anything, is to see Bill brought to justice. Even if I have to do it myself. Even if it means losing GK and Kel.
M/F, M/M, M/F/M Pairings
Past Character Death
Kinks include (but not limited to):
humiliation, impact play, confinement
please see full list of kinks on publisher’s site
Kristie: So, I think I can safely say that this book pushed our comfort zones, correct? Right from the start, I felt so unnerved. I really feel like this started off with a different mood from previous books in the series, and continued on until the end. Actually, I feel like we didn’t get a break from the “heavy”, for a while. But just when that first break came, when things became more playful, and I felt like Gould was finally talking, and we finally get to see the rest of the group of friends, things got really heavy again.
El: I agree completely. I think I went into this novel expecting something similar in tone to the first three, but also half-expecting a bit more darkness because we had already been told about Gould’s relationship with Hal… I just wasn’t expecting quite that much heavy-hitting feels! Thankfully there were a few moments with his friends to help lighten the mood a bit, otherwise I would have really struggled with it. I personally wish there had a been a few moments of darkness in previous books, to help spread the load so-to-speak, and to make the transition to Book 4 a bit less jarring.
K: Yes! I don’t really know how much heavy could have been in previous books, at least not relating to Gould specifically, but maybe a little bit more background could have made the transition easier for me. Even with Hal, a little more background would have been a great thing, but I don’t know what would have worked. This could be a case of me wishing for more, but having no idea what I would have asked the author for in return. There is so much depth to the story, so many feelings that I just needed to hang on for the ride.
El: The biggest issue I had with this book though wasn’t the tone… it was Gould’s motivation and the way his relationship initially played out with Kel and Greg. It felt… okay, I hate to use the term because it’s not quite right, but it felt like dubious consent to me. It made me incredibly uncomfortable.
K: I’ll have to agree with you again on this one. Gould’s relationship with Kel and Greg never feels like it’s on stable footing. Even when he’d start to communicate his feelings, wants, and desires, he still never fully gave in. Kel and Greg in turn, never respond in the way I felt they should. As much as it pains me to say, I also felt like Kel was not being the Dom Gould needed, either. She spent a lot of time saying she was seeing him, acting like she was seeing him, and never seeing him. There were a lot of mistakes make on all their parts and that made me really uncomfortable a lot of the time.
El: Yes, this! We’re definitely on the same page here. I hate books with the Psychic Dom trope, but I needed Kel to be more aware of Gould. Thankfully the relationship did evolve and become something that I not only could accept, but really enjoyed! Kel and Greg are good for Gould, even if it didn’t seem that way at the start.
K: Exactly this. It took a lot of time, communication, and honesty. In the end, I felt like they really made some strides to get where they needed to be. Not just Gould, but Kel and Greg, too. That’s one thing I loved about the book. It’s not just about Gould. So much is about Kel and Greg, how they work together, how they work with Gould, why it all works, and the beauty that could be found in that relationship.
El: There were a few missed pieces for me. More of the Subs Club– the four friends– would have been a huge boost for me. And there was a scene towards the end (which I won’t say because spoilers) that didn’t resolve satisfactorily for me regarding Gould and Ricky.
K: Same here, but then, I don’t think I could ever get enough of the four of them together. Add in their partners and you’ve got a recipe for greatness. Each member of the club has beautiful things to add to the whole. The love each other so dearly, and that love is so palpable on the page. Especially that friendship of Gould and Dave! A lot of awesome to be had between the two of them in this installment.
As for Ricky, I would have liked to get a little more closure on him, but it could have taken away from the whole of the story. The speed of the last few chapters, how time flies, and things become resolved felt rushed to a point, but I also felt like it was necessary. We’ve already got a lengthy story. Anything added could have slowed down progress for me. Hmmm, this may be the only area where we kind of disagree!
El: I think this is where I disagree, because for me the end felt too rushed. After all of that emotional investment, I needed a bit more resolution than the neatly-tied bow that was the last few chapters.
Overall I want to give this 3.5 stars for the first half, and 4 stars for the ending. But after a week to think on it, I think I’m going to go with 4 stars. It just felt like a good conclusion to the series, even it was super heavy at times!
K: I give this a solid 4 stars. While not my favorite in the series, I do love the way it goes out. Maybe we can beg for a Holiday special, revisiting the Subs Club, all their partners, friends, and members. I would love that so much as I didn’t want this to end.
My favorite thing about this series was how Rock took an important and sensitive subject, and made it educational, fun, exciting, serious, cringe worthy, and fabulous. All at the same time. It’s a package of amazing in my book, and I’d highly recommend people read it. I really fell in love with each and every book and character.
E: You said it better than I could have! As a whole the quartet is absolutely brilliant, and everything from the tragedy to the BDSM to the quirky relationships is handled with grace and clear love from the author. A must-read series, with something (kinky) for everyone!
J.A. Rock has worked as a dog groomer, knife seller, haunted house zombie, standardized patient, cashier, census taker, state fair quilt hanger, and, for one less-than-magical evening, a server—and would much rather be writing about those jobs than doing them. A lover of m/m BDSM romance, J.A. lives mostly in West Virginia, and always with a beloved dog, Professor Anne.
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The reviewers received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.