Author ~ Amelia C. Gormley
Publisher ~ Riptide Publishing
Published ~ 9th May 2016
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M BDSM Romance
Tattoo artist Geoff Gilchrest is convinced his life is some sort of cosmic joke. Why else would a hemophiliac also be a masochist? He’s given himself more than one elbow bleed since puberty just doing what guys do when alone and bored, so forget about whips and chains. How many partners would contemplate playing with someone even a mild flogging could kill?
Gallery owner Robin Brady knows he can deliver what Geoff needs: to be taken to the edge of danger but never beyond. But Robin came to Saugatuck to get away from the leather scene and heal from a betrayal by his former sub, so he’s not sure he should get involved with Geoff. His ambivalence isn’t helped by the fact that Geoff’s unwillingness to communicate about his well-being hits Robin in some very raw places.
Geoff’s hemophilia isn’t the obstacle he thinks it is. Instead, a lack of trust—on both their parts—is what could end them before they have a chance to begin.
While I’ve read other BDSM stories where one of the men has a disability to be considered, this is the first time I’ve come across a disability that, if not handled correctly, could actually kill the sub. Amelia C. Gormley did a fantastic job of presenting this issue and not treating the situation as a side story. She managed to educate the reader without overwhelming and provide an interesting and HOT take on this precarious relationship.
Robin has recently left New York City to settle in Saugatuck, Michigan after being badly burned by his now ex-boyfriend/sub. That incident was bad enough that it cost Robin his job and has had him reconsidering continuing with the BDSM lifestyle. Geoff has known he wants pain and rough sex, but has assumed he will never get it due to his hemophilia. He has settled for porn and anonymous hookups to get off, never having had a real relationship. Geoff resents having to do prophylactic infusions and often puts them off, raising his risk of injury. His mother’s overprotectiveness growing up has resulted in him never really living his life for himself, something his sister is trying to make him understand and change. The two men meet at a leather event at a club while Geoff is on vacation and the result is several hot encounters and wondering if it can be more than a vacation fling.
Geoff isn’t so much a submissive as a masochist. Robin considers himself more of a dominant than a sadist, but he is willing to change the way he does things. He sees the hemophilia not as a weakness (as Geoff often does) but just another risk to be take into consideration and accommodated when they play. Geoff has quite a list of kinks he’d like to explore and Robin is very attentive to each and every one. The BDSM scenes were amazing and intense. I was exhausted after reading their first real session. The dirty talk is off the charts hot and Robin is very inventive with the ways he stokes Geoff’s desire for pain, fear and danger. The kinks explored include sensory play, humiliation and mind games using verbal “violence” and emotional pain as an alternative to physical pain.
It is quickly clear that the two are sexually compatible and enjoy spending time with each other, but there are so many other obstacles in the relationship that push them apart. Geoff has a hard time accepting that his condition doesn’t make him weak in Robin’s eyes and his instinct is always to hide it. Robin educates himself and is adamant about Geoff including him in all aspects of it, from prophylaxis to injury potential, to symptoms of a bleed. While Robin demands Geoff’s trust, he fails to be completely open himself and Geoff is so focused on his own issues, he’s never considered that maybe Robin has things he’s dealing with as well. Robin is very tough on himself, fearing that once again he may not be able to see what’s happening and catch onto things before they go bad as they did in New York.
I thought the relationship developed naturally moving from just sex to an intimacy neither has experienced before. Both men really grow during the story; Geoff struggling to accept that he can have a full life that isn’t defined by what he can’t do because of his condition and Robin needing to realize that he can’t control everything. The men of course, eventually pull it together and their strength as a unit really becomes evident when they see firsthand the possible implications of their play when outsiders become involved.
This story is a prequel of sorts to Saugatuck Summer where Geoff and Robin play a pretty substantial secondary role. If you haven’t read that one and want a look into Geoff and Robin’s future after Risk Aware ends, you should definitely pick it up.
I really enjoyed this story. The kink was top notch and the struggle of the men to trust and communicate was done just right without too much angst. I don’t think the author could have gone easier on their struggles and maintained a feel for the real danger of them not being on the same page at all times. Putting the kink and medical condition aside I enjoyed the love story and liked seeing the men just being together and building a level of comfort with each other. I highly recommend this for anyone who loves a BDSM romance and wants to experience one that is just a bit different from the norm.
Meet Amelia C. Gormley
Amelia C. Gormley published her first short story in the school newspaper in the 4th grade, and since then has suffered the persistent delusion that enabling other people to hear the voices in her head might be a worthwhile endeavor. She’s even convinced her hapless spouse that it could be a lucrative one as well, especially when coupled with her real-life interest in angst, kink, social justice issues, and pretty men.
When her husband and son aren’t interacting with the back of her head as she stares at the computer, they rely on her to feed them, maintain their domicile, and keep some semblance of order in their lives (all very, very bad ideas—they really should know better by now.) She can also be found playing video games and ranting on Tumblr, seeing as how she’s one of those horrid social justice warriors out to destroy free speech, gaming, geek culture, and everything else that’s fun everywhere.