Published by: Carina Press
Genre: MMF Erotic Fiction
Reviewed by: Alex
What to Expect: I can’t…I’m still fanning myself…hold on…OMG…two dudes, one chick … a lot of sex (MM, MF, MMF), a fair amount of dominance, some sadism, and at least one salsa dance.
Plot: Newlyweds Jay and Adriana had a happy marriage and a spectacular sex life—until tragedy struck. Wounded in a car accident, Jay spent ayear recuperating while Adriana worked overtime as a chef to pay their bills. Though he’s made nearly a full recovery, some aspects of their intimate play will never be the same. It’s a small price to pay, all things considered.
But when a long struggle with the insurance company results in an overdue payout, Jay has a plan. He’ll take some of it and hire a high-end rent boy who specializes in sexual dominance. Not for him, but as a gift for Adriana, for taking care of him for the past twelve months.
Paul is the handsomestranger they choose…and the one who changes everything. What starts out as a onetime session to fulfill a fantasy turns into something bigger than all of them. But when the money runs out and Paul’s dangerous past resurfaces, the sacrifices required to stay together may end up tearing them apart…
Review: A few weeks ago, I started on a mission. I wanted to find BDSM books for all the letters of LBGTQIA in which either the main character or love interest was a “Rom Dom” — i.e. romantic dominant. But when I got to the “A” (asexual, aromantic, or demi), I realized my quest needed to be modified to frame the situation as one in which the power exchange was done with sweetness and sensuality. Because…um…it would not do to have a romantic dominant for an aromantic MC. Just saying. Nevertheless, there were many suggestions for books to read and (poor me!) I’ve been slogging through the lot to bring you some faves.
Here’s the first.
SUBMISSION GIFT satisfied parameters for “B”: bisexual. It also happens to have a disabled character, a polyamorous relationship, a person of color. The parts that needed to be dealt with sensitively were done so appropriately and the rest was…well…did I mention I needed to buy a new fan?
The characters were all broken in some way. Jay (short for Javier) is the most literal in the sense that his body has been injured and, a year later, he’s still in pain. His wife, Adriana, is trapped and bullied at work but, because she’s still the sole wage earlier, she can’t walk out. Their new lover Paul has a criminal past that’s affecting how he’s currently making decisions. And yet, they elevate each other, eeking out the last of their reserves to give each other gifts: of awareness, of intent, of expanding boundaries.
Usually, I’m not down with threesomes. Not that I don’t like the concept; it’s just not my normal, nor is it one for many of the authors who write them. This one, though, feels different from most: more authentic. This one reads less like a Penthouse Letter and more like a thing that might happen. But a really nice (*snort* … nice…it was so not nice…okay, there were nice moments…how about hot?) thing that might happen to three people.
What you might not like/doesn’t work for you: Three things come to mind and only one is something that stood in the way of my enjoyment.
The kink aspect included both sadism and humiliation; if these are out of a reader’s comfort zone, it may impact their ability to enjoy the book. Personally, I liked the navigation of going out of my comfort zone and the constant negotiating and checking in.
Two of the three main characters have a long established relationship. I loved seeing a long-term couple in love, and not in a relationship crisis, before they found their third. For those that read erotica and romance to get everything new as to watching the morphing and negotiation of newness against an existing backdrop, this may or may not work for you. That said, you can catch the vibe on this early on so don’t let this hold you back.
Finally, the part that didn’t work for me was the transition between the crisis and the resolution. The book was so good with negotiations thus far and when it reached this point, there was a potential big break that went right to “okay, I love you again” without clear reasoning. Now, I happen to have champion levels of suspension of disbelief but even I had to shake my head and move on. The gap wasn’t offensive, just made me realize something important was missing.
What you will love: There was a lot of compassion in this book- from the authors for the main characters and between the main characters, and with others in their sphere (though eachgets to deal with unreasonable antagonists). It was a rare instance where the main character had both a disability and an active sex life. I liked how each person, each pairing, and as a threesome had to navigate real issues of autonomy, jealousy, uncertainty, and affection. Beyond that, it was sex positive, polyamorous positive, sex-worker positive, BDSM positive, bi-positive, and communication positive. This one ticked a lot of “positive” boxes in addition to scorching scenes.