Take the Long Way Home by J.A.Rock

Title : Take the Long Way Home          Word Count : 74,152

Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb : Dresden Marich has failed out of high school three months shy of graduation. He’s infatuated with his online friend, Evan, alienated from his family and former classmates, and still trying to recover from his father’s death six years ago. He’s also keeping a troubling secret about his older brother, Gunner, who is away at boot camp.

Then Dresden meets Caleb, a judgmental environmentalist who’s hardly Dresden’s fantasy come true. But Caleb seems to understand Dresden’s desire for rough sex, big feelings, and, ultimately, safety. As Dresden becomes embroiled in a farmers market drama involving Caleb, a couple of bullying tomato enthusiasts, and a gang of vigilante vegans, he discovers he might be willing to trade a fantasy relationship with Evan for a shot at something real with Caleb.

But Dresden fears telling quick-to-judge Caleb his secret, and the news that Gunner is coming home sends him fleeing to California for a chance to meet Evan in person and hopefully fall in love. When the encounter doesn’t go as expected, Dresden faces a choice: stay in California and carve out a new life, or take the long road home to his family, Caleb, and a past he must face if he has any hope for a future.

My Review :  Dresden Marich has seen a lot of pain throughout his short life of 18yrs. He was there at 12 when his father was found dead sitting in front of the television.  Shortly thereafter,  his brother who is two years older climbs into his bed and sexually abuses him. He is a little bit  messed up in his head and at 18 he is a high school drop out. Although he has told his mother about the abuse,  she hasn’t done anything to help him other than to hold him while he cries and tell him to keep quiet about what his brother Gunner had done. 

Dresden has taken the initiative to see a therapist to talk about his issues. He is not sure how he feels about sex, he can’t  always maintain an erection and he puts himself in some very risky sexual situations. Dresden’s only friend is Evan, someone who he only talks to through the Internet.  The only thing he knows of Evan is that he likes Indie music and he’s seen a picture of Evan’s waxed ass. Dresden is searching for something and he realized that he just might be looking in all the wrong places. Especially, if what he is looking for leads him to strange men who just wants to piss in his ass crack. Dresden feels  weirded out by allowing one of his Internet hookups to act out his fantasies and sully his body in this manner. He gets out of there post haste and promises himself to be more astute to the weirdos.

From the first moment Dresden meets Caleb a 24 yr old who owns his own business selling wood, there is a strange connection that he is not sure if he’s comfortable with. Caleb doesn’t pursue Dresden but he makes it obvious he is interested when he kisses Dresden.  Dresden  opens to him like a flower in bloom. Caleb facilitates Dresden need for a little pain during sex. He becomes unhinged in Caleb’s arms when he puts pressure on his throat, tugs at his ear and presses hard on a cut on his thigh during their make out session. Dresden feels totally safe in Caleb’s arms and there is an unnamed emotion that is released with their coming together. Caleb is very quiet but  there is just something about him that causes Dresden to open  up and tell him personal things that he can’t tell anyone else. Dresden doesn’t feel the need to cut and self harm when he’s around Caleb.

They practice erotic asphixiation where Caleb restricts Dresden’s oxygen and he gets a big thrill out of this kink. As much as he likes what happened when he was with Caleb,  he doesn’t want to like Caleb. Dresden  just doesn’t think that Caleb is the one He likes Evan, his online pal who sends him links to porn sites. He really wished that his connection with Evan was as strong as the one he felt with Caleb.

Caleb and Dresden starts hanging out a lot and he is introduced to Caleb’s  friends. Their relationship progressed nicely,  without too much drama. Dresden realizes that Caleb understands him more than anyone he’s ever known. They experiment with quite a few kinks rolled into one and it makes the story that much hotter. They role play Caleb kidnapping Dresden  and the slight fear he gets is invigorating. Dresden has faith that Caleb will not hurt him, but there is  still a level of unsurity that causes butterflies in his stomach.

Dresden  is a very complicated character and there is a bump in the road of their relationship when Caleb tells him  to sort out himself. Dresden is not able to process his feelings after hearing that his brother Gunner is coming home from boot camp  in a few days. He acts erratically which is  understood under the circumstances. He lashes  out and runs off to California to meet his online friend Evan. His journey is a waste of time when he meets  Evan and sees that  he is definitely not what he imagined. Dresden is very dissapointed,  but his time away is an eye opener and makes him even more determined to get his life in order. 

Dresden tries his best to repair the bonds of relationship between his mother and brother. He makes peace with what was done to him and chalks it up to the error of judgement of someone who was grieving.  He decides to forgive Gunner and lay it rest in the past. His final step was to fix the bond between Caleb and himself by laying it all on the table and sharing his past with him. Dresden lays his past at Caleb’s feet and allows it to set his future free. Caleb lets him know that he wants all of him , the good , the bad and the ugly. They work together on their blossoming relationship to become better men for each other. I give this my ratings of 3 – it was ok, give it a try. 

Favorite Quotes : 1. He hooks his arms around my legs and starts kneading the backs of my thighs, then my ass cheeks. He takes his mouth off my dick and slides his tongue from just behind my balls up to my asshole. Pulls my hips down toward him, until my ass is on his face. Then he spreads my cheeks and starts working his tongue inside me.( Hot, hot , hot.)

2. My breath catches and my body shakes. I try to dig my fingers into the couch’s upholstery. I feel him stretching his tongue inside me, lengthening it. One guy I hooked up with rimmed me, but it was a lot droolier, and I didn’t worry about whether my ass tasted gross because he was pervy and really desperate to eat me out. But I feel kind of bad for Caleb, because how can an ass not taste like shit, really? I only worry about it for a second, though, and then I’m grabbing my dick to keep from coming as Caleb squeezes my ass and goes to town, slurping and biting and yanking my hips down so I’m completely sitting on his face. The wet sound is driving me almost as crazy as the sensation. He places a hand on my shoulder and drags his nails down my back, and I arch and grind my teeth. ( I’m happy that this was talked about, because I find that oftentimes rimming  is glossed over in romance novels or talked about with euphemisms such as ‘manly flavor ‘. Let’s be real, as hot as it is, it is a little bit gross. I’m all in favor of this though as I do believe that sex is messy and a little gross at times😉.)

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By His Rules by J.A. Rock

Title : By His Rules                                   Word Count :68,125

Genre :Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb : Aiden Cole can be anything men want—naughty schoolboy, palace slave, virgin twink, or slutty secretary. He’s a gifted actor with a gorgeous body who gives legendary head. Aiden could have his pick of any Top in the local leather bar, but is drawn to Scott Runge—a cruel, sexy Dom who pushes Aiden to his limits, allowing Aiden to experience the excitement and danger of the BDSM lifestyle to a degree he never has before. But when Scott goes too far, injuring Aiden, Aiden withdraws from the BDSM scene completely. Until he meets Keaton Hughes.

Keaton’s looking for something he can’t find in any dungeon: A domestic discipline relationship, in which he can provide his partner with guidance, support, and loving discipline. When Keaton takes Aiden in after Aiden’s traumatic encounter with Scott, he vows not to pursue any sort of relationship with the troubled sub. But as Aiden struggles to overcome the damage Scott has done and get his life back on track, Keaton’s rules might be just what he needs.

Publisher’s Note: This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: BDSM theme and content, dubious consent, male/male sexual practices, violence

My Review : Aiden has had a truly destructive relationship with master Scott. Master Scott humiliated, beat him black and blue and tried to break Aiden’s spirit under the guise of training the perfect sub. Aiden didn’t want to see his relationship for what it was, and tried to blame himself for not being a good sub, rather than seeing the abusive nature of Scott. After one particularly horrendous night where Scott beat  and raped Aiden  after he safe worded, Aiden realized he had to get out. He finds an escape in Keaton, a Dom who is like no other. Keaton is very quiet,kind, bookish and gentle. He is also very intense and has an air of discipline surrounding him. Keaton is searching for someone who can truly understand what he needs in the BDSM community. He subscribes to Domestic Discipline.  He thinks that Aiden might be the perfect person, but Aiden is very skittish after being beaten down so far by Scott. Keaton  gently persuades Aiden to get healthy, both mind and body and they slowly work themselves into a relationship. 

 I really liked this book, because it was very insightful. It explored an aspect of BDSM that  I have not read a lot about in romance novels.  Domestic discipline according to how Keaton describes it, is where partners set up certain rules and parameters that they have agreed to live by. There are punishments doled out if rules are broken. Keaton’s punishments consisted of spankings, corner time, writing lines and soaping of the mouth. His relationship with Aiden is all about guidance and it is a really fulfilling experience for both of them. 

Aiden makes a lot of mistakes on their journey but it actually helped them in building a stronger foundation. Aiden had to retrain his brain to understand that the gratification he got from pain was different than the disciplinary spankings that he received from Keaton. In the same breath, Keaton had to realize the eroticism to be had from administering spankings to Aiden. These two had an extremely satisfying sex life in and out of the bedroom. Keaton learnt to let loose and not be so stuck up about public sex.

Their relationship is definitely not smooth sailing. Sometimes our downfall comes from our own destructive behaviours. Aiden  is still confused at times about what he thinks he needs. His pain threshold is very high and he believes he needs more  pain. He goes looking for Scott and Scott gives him what he thought he needed. However,  it is not as satisfying as he thought it would be. When Keaton finds him, he is more upset that Aiden put himself in danger rather than the fact that he went to another man for what he needs. When Keaton spanked him for his disobedience, it was more the cathartic release that he had been searching and yearning for. What they have is far from perfect but they make it work through discipline. I give this my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear. 

Favorite Quotes : 1.   This was submission, thought Aiden. Not Scott forcing him to bear more and more pain without crying. Not men at Obey ordering him to his knees to suck them. This willing, necessary surrender to someone who would never hurt him.To  someone he loved.( Finally, Aiden learns that true submission is not about force, it’s all about trust.)