Golden, by Sean Michael
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: May 24, 2017
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
After winning Olympic gold four years ago, Justin retired from swimming, and he’s been floundering ever since. The Fourth of July finds him contemplating doing something stupid, so Justin calls up his former coach, Chris Jarvis. To his surprise, Coach answers.
When Justin retired, Chris cut all ties with the swimmer he’d fallen in love with. He never wanted Justin to love him just because it was easy. But he’s been waiting for Justin to reach out, and he’ll gladly take Justin back into his life.
When he finds out Justin is drowning in a pool of self-doubt and the belief that his happy years are behind him, Chris realizes he made a mistake letting go so suddenly, and that Justin needs structure and a firm, dominant hand to keep him on the right track. It’s time to remedy that error—as long as he can convince Justin that it’s really love.
First Edition published by Torquere Press, 2013.
If you’ve been around for a bit you know that I LOVE sports romances. So I was looking forward to this, but this book ended up being a bit of a drag for me, unfortunately.
The first half of the book was them getting Justin out of his current life (job, apt) and into one Chris crafted for him. The relationship started very suddenly after not talking for four years. Usually that would be no big deal, because people meet and it’s not the right time and then later it is. However, Chris just took control of Justin’s life, after saying he distanced himself because he didn’t want Justin to be dependent on him after he was done competing.
You don’t want someone to be dependent on you and then you take control of their life? It was very weird. Especially when Chris threw down a bunch of rules on day one. It was just weird because Coach (Chris) was adamant about Justin making the decision to call him and start things, but then he immediately took over everything. You’re worried about Justin not wanting this and then you tell him what to do?
Here’s an example:
“No more drinking.” He got up and padded to the bathroom, came back with a glass of water and a bottle of Tylenol.
“Not until after breakfast, for sure.”
“Not without my permission, any time of the day.” They were going to have a long list of rules, Chris was sure.
Um. No. I prefer relationships involving equals (both in books and in my personal life). It really puts me off to hear someone imposing rules and controlling someone. Not to pin everything on 50 Shades of Grey, but ever since that came out a lot of people have written BDSM or submissiveness as having someone controlling vs someone who is super submissive. That’s not what BDSM is.
Sure that might work for some people in those kinds of relationships, but there needs to be talking to establish those things. Having a character just take over someone’s life, to me, seems abusive more than anything else. This is especially true of Chris because he doesn’t listen to Justin’s need to think things out or any objections he had to the situation. I don’t like it when people’s concerns aren’t being heard by their partner. It doesn’t mean those concerns are valid or a deal breaker or whatever, but to just talk over them is a put off for me.
The second half of the book was basically just sex, Chris telling Justin he was breaking the “rules,” and Justin being super insecure. It was boring and Chris’ controlling nature completely put me off. It was also super boring because there was no build-up to their relationship in the first half of the book, and then the second half had no relationship growth.
All in all the book was repetitive and boring and the relationship was one-sided control and sex. Not my thing. I think if you want to read something smutty and don’t care about the dialogue or build up you’d enjoy this more than I did. If you’re looking for something plotty, actually BDSM, or romantic I’d pass on this.
A long-time writer of complicated haiku, currently Sean is attempting to learn the advanced arts of plate spinning and soap carving sex toys.
Barring any of that? He’ll stick with writing his stories, thanks, and rubbing pretty bodies together to see if they spark.
To find out about Sean and his books check out his books over at his website.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.