There is so much raw emotion captured in this powerful novel from Riley Hart... Our hearts broke for both Ben and Dante. Losing Control sees Riley continue to push her boundaries as a writer in this excellent addition to the Broken Pieces series! We loved this book!
Losing Control (Broken Pieces Book 3) by Riley Hart
Published ~ 26th February 2015
Genre ~ M/M Contemporary Romance, BDSM.
On the surface, Ben seems to have it all: money, influence, good looks. He smiles and jokes in all the right places, but it’s all a façade. Inside he’s a wreck, and it’s only getting worse. With his Congressman father using Ben’s recent kidnapping for his own political agenda, and Ben still struggling to get over the only guy he’s ever loved, he feels like he’s losing his grip on reality and he’s quickly spiraling out of control.
Then he meets Dante, an enigma of a man with as much self-hatred as Ben has. In Dante, Ben finds what he didn’t know he needed: Dante’s control, his power, is the only thing that clears the fog in Ben’s brain. For the first time in his life, Ben has a lover who just might need Ben as much as Ben needs him. When they’re together, the demons from their pasts don’t lurk so heavily on their shoulders.
But Dante can’t fix him. Not when a memory from Ben’s past is haunting him in ways he doesn’t understand, waiting for him to put together the missing pieces in his head…and what he discovers just might have the power to break him for good.
Losing Control opens with a prologue that hits you straight away with a heartbreaking, soul searching letter from Ben to Tristan, his ex lover and estranged friend who, in the last book of the series finally found his own peace and true love with Justin and Mateo, the two conflicted men who when they became a committed threesome, mended each other's hearts but left Ben's in pieces. Unable to let go of the unrequited feelings for the friend he's been deeply in love with for years, Ben is floundering badly. Writing those emotions down into an unsent missive shows just how lost and screwed up he really is at this juncture in his life and sets the moving tone for this heart rending novel.
Not just that, he's still reeling from his terrifying ordeal with Javier, the gang leader who was threatening to destroy Tristan, Justin and Mateo's relationship and the fallout from that has also impacted his mental state. Plus on a separate level he's keeping a tragic, family secret from his past, involving his ambitious, unfeeling Congressman father and his deliberately oblivious mother whose misplaced loyalty to her deceitful husband all adds to his current state of mind, which is unravelling fast. As are all the traumatic memories from that time. There's no doubt, Ben has already fallen off the edge...and he's only inches away from hitting rock bottom.
Seen from Ben's POV throughout the book, it's a deeply affecting introduction, so you know from its onset that this is going to be a tale that packs one hell of an emotional punch, and coming from the pen of an author who knows exactly how to push every relatable button in a readers body, it's apparent from the moment a self destructive Ben enters the BDSM club—where to fill the void in his life he's he's been trying to fuck away the pain with submissive strangers—this is not going to be a hearts and flowers romance. Feeling nothing from these encounters to the point where he can't even get it up anymore, the sense that he's so battered emotionally is truly palpable.
Omg! Ben is such a sad, poignant soul that my heart shattered for him. So when Dante, the gorgeous, brooding Italian Dom appeared on the scene, stirring something in Ben that he's not felt in a long time; however twisted a start they had together, I was willing them to make a connection with every fibre in my being! And in a way they did, but not like you would expect because this is a case of like attracting like as Dante is also a complex, damaged man. Dealing with personal demons from his own past he's just as broken in his own way as Ben, but whereas Ben's emotions are volatile and all over the place causing him to seek out destructive situations; Dante keeps his locked away behind a mask of emotional restraint, control and guardedness. Their dysfunctional relationship, (if you can call what they have ‘a relationship’) at the start, evolves into one with a dispassionate but dominant Dante calling the shots and a disconcerted Ben struggling to find his surprisingly submissive role within it. Two flawed personalities fighting the pull towards each other, constantly using their own fears and hang ups to sabotage the unconventional connection they do seem to have.
The early sex they indulge in is kinky, hot and sensual but notwithstanding the obvious chemistry, the detached nature of their association makes it more of an emotionless venture as Dante's aversion to having Ben looking at him while they fuck, and Ben's anger and frustration at allowing himself to be controlled by this enigmatic, unreadable man in the bedroom and outside of it, stops them from fully forming the emotional attachment they could have if they'd just let it.
"Sometimes we need someone. I can do that for you in a way no one else can because like you , I'm too detached to let anything like questions, friendship, attraction or even wanting something in return to get in the way."
Yet still a strange dependency keeps Ben coming back for more, and despite his protestations that he means nothing to him, Dante keeps on letting him...and all the while the story is hurtling towards the dramatic resolution that will either make or break their defective relationship!
"What you do to me...so beautiful and broken."
Unyielding at times in its intensity, raw, and compelling: Ben and Dante's journey was everything I wanted it to be. Beautifully written and gripping because of its dramatic content, I loved how Riley decided to bring this wonderful series to a close. I fell head over heels for these two wonderful, conflicted characters. Hooked into the story immediately and totally lost in the drama of it all, this was an awesome reading experience that once again reinforced for me how irresistible a writer Riley Hart is when it comes to wringing you out emotionally, but because of one plot twist towards the finish, that I just couldn't come to terms with however much I tried to make it work, my final rating has had to reflect that. What you do get though after the story closes, is an unexpected surprise that enriched the heart of the story even more.
Broken pieces will always be my favourite, it's one of my all time favourite m/m reads EVER!...Justin, Mateo and Tristan are a hard act to follow...but beautiful broken Ben and delicious, dark Dante have given them a run for their money, putting this series as a whole way up there in my eyes and it'll always be a cherished collection on my kindle and my bookshelves too as I intend to add the last two to my paperback version of Broken Pieces...and if they ever come out on Audio I'll be purchasing those ASAP! Highly and happily recommended. Do not miss out on this one.
Ben didn’t let go of his arm. It was thick beneath his hand. “Did my father send you?” He wasn’t sure why he wondered that. He never knew with his dad.
Dark eyebrows pulled together. “No.”
“What’s your name?”
The other man didn’t move. They blocked the doorway but neither of them cared.
“Please,” Ben added, not sure why he did. Maybe he would ask nicely for things from Tristan, but he didn’t from anyone else.
“Dante De Marco. And you?”
“Ben.” He didn’t offer his last name and he could tell by the spark in Dante’s dark eyes, that he realized Ben was being secretive for a reason. He wanted to push, Ben could see that too, but he didn’t.
“Let go of my arm, Ben. Sit down and have coffee with me. Or don’t. It’s up to you and it doesn’t matter either way to me. I don’t think it really matters to you, either. You’re used to being alone, just as I am. Maybe we’re better that way.”
He pulled his arm free and Ben let him go. He walked into the small diner, not the kind of place Ben usually frequented, with faded bench seats and old, stained tabletops. Without being directed, Dante made his way to a booth in the back.
Finally, Ben closed the door and followed him over. Why? He wasn’t sure, but it was better than being alone with his thoughts.
Once he sat, a waitress approached. She had graying hair tied back into a bun. She looked as tired as Ben felt. He missed uninterrupted sleep. Missed closing his eyes without his past coming for him.
“What can I get you gentlemen?” she asked.
“Coffee. Black. Two of them,” Dante ordered and then she walked away. Ben reached out and grabbed the man’s arm again.
“Don’t order for me.”
“Why is that, Ben? Because you want to pretend you’re in control when you obviously aren’t? I can see it, you know. The way you’re looking for control. Do you really want it?”
Before Ben could reply, the waitress came back with their coffee.
“Would you like anything else?” she asked.
“No,” Ben spat out before Dante could reply for him. Who the fuck was this guy to think he knew Ben?
The waitress looked at Dante next. “No, thank you,” he answered.
When she was gone, Dante leaned back against the booth. His movements were smooth, detached. They were familiar in some ways. He looked the way Ben wanted to.
“Let me guess, you can give me what I’m looking for? Tie me up and fuck me the way you did that boy in the club? There’s a problem with that. I top as well.”
Dante didn’t reply right away. He took a drink of his coffee and then set the cup down. “Do you?”
“Regardless, I won’t be fucking you. I just…I see it in you. The need to self-destruct. I’ve been through it. I’ve done it. I’m still as fucked up as I was before. Maybe more so. The self-destructing didn’t help. This is only about coffee. Having coffee with someone who just might hate himself as much as I do.”
And he did. Christ did he hate himself. Hated himself for Bonnie. For needing his father as long as he did. For not forcing his mom to actually be a mother. He hated himself for loving Tristan as long as he did. For not being able to be who Tristan needed.
“There’s no one easier to hate than ourselves,” Ben found himself saying. That was something he knew to be true. He maybe even hated himself more than he hated his father, because while the congressman pretended to be one thing in public, he never lied to his family about who he was and what he wanted. Ben did, and then he let people down.
“No, there isn’t.” Dante nodded toward Ben’s coffee. “Drink.”
He paused a second, studying the man. Dante let him for a second before he added, “Drink,” again.
Ben picked up his cup and swallowed some of the hot, bitter liquid. Neither of them spoke again as they sat at the stained table and drank their coffee.
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Riley Hart is the girl who wears her heart on her sleeve. She's a hopeless romantic. A lover of sexy stories, passionate men, and writing about all the trouble they can get into together. If she's not writing, you'll probably find her reading. Riley lives in California with her awesome family, who she is thankful for everyday.
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