Newlyweds Jay and Adriana had a happy marriage and a spectacular sex life—until tragedy struck. Wounded in a car accident, Jay spent a year 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 handsome stranger 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…
*Blurb from Goodreads*
I’m always on the look out for a good BDSM book, and I do love my m/m/f books, so I thought this would be a wonderful combination. While there were a lot of aspects that aren’t commonly seen in romance, the BDSM aspects crossed a few lines for me that ruined my enjoyment of the overall story.
Jay is struggling to recover from a car accident that left him with a lot of medical bills and pain. Despite that, his marriage to Adriana has never been stronger, and the two of them are closer than ever. But Jay realizes that there is an aspect of their sex life that he can’t provide for Adriana: her need to be dominated and the bit of pain that she so desperately craves. Jay gets the idea to hire someone to fulfill those needs. Little does he know that Paul is able to do so much more.
Paul has been working as an escort for some time now, but getting Jay and Adriana as a client is throwing his emotions out of whack. He enjoys both Jay and Adriana. When he proposes they continue their relationship on a personal level, they set out on a journey to see if three people can be in a committed relationship, forever.
For those people who like their BDSM to focus more on the dominance and submission aspect of the lifestyle, this book is definitely not for you. While Paul does come across as dominate, the book deals more with Adriana’s need for pain during sex, and how Paul doles that out for her when Jay cannot. There were some hard lines crossed that totally ruined this book for me. The first and foremost was face slapping. I get that it’s a kink for some people, but I struggle with finding anything sexy about someone slapping someone they supposedly love. I’ve gone to a lot of weird places with some BDSM books, but that is a hard line I just couldn’t get past. Add in the different ways Paul came up with to inflict pain during sex, and I struggled to find the erotic aspect of many of the sex scenes. People who like reading more about the S&M aspects of the lifestyle would probably find this a really engaging read.
Another aspect of the book that just didn’t work for me was the actual relationship between all three parties. While Ames did something that I haven’t seen a lot in my romance books, it just didn’t work for me. There are significant chunks of the book that are spent building the relationship between Paul and Adriana as a couple, and then Paul and Jay as a couple. I felt like the scenes with all three together weren’t as prevalent. While I can see how that would be realistic in real life, it didn’t work for me in my romance book. There were a few times that I felt as if Jay and Adriana’s marriage wasn’t as strong as the beginning of the book, because of the way they included Paul in their relationship.
I struggled connecting with the subplot surrounding Adriana’s work. While I completely understand the pressure she felt having to work in order to help pay for Jay’s medical bills, I really had a hard time following the story with her at work, especially as it imploded toward the end of the story. However, Jay having to find work again despite his previous injury, and Paul’s struggle to stop being an escort were two subplots that I did enjoy.
All in all, I really don’t think this was the book for me. Ames is a wonderful writer, but the content just crossed a lot of lines that I wasn’t willing to go along with. Between the BDSM aspects that made me cringe, and the problems I had with the relationship in general, this was a disappointing read for me.
I give The Submission Gift a D-