You can find out a lot about an author from what they read. After all, who wants to read a paranormal romance by an author who doesn't read paranormals? Or an erotic romance from someone who doesn't read them? We expect certain things from certain subgenres of romance, and we want them followed -- or broken, but only in a "break the rules but make me like it" kind of way. So what have I been reading? Lately I haven't had a lot of time to read, but I try to sneak in something now and then. And I'm glad I did last week when I picked up The Reluctant Dom by Tymber Dalton based on a recommendation from an FB group. When I read the blurb and realized yes, one of the characters will probably die in this book, I was torn. I love happy endings, always. But I also love dark, gritty, angsty books as well. The deeper and more edgy the emotions, the better I like it. So I clicked the button and waited for the book to download to my Kindle.
Lord a'mercy! I've read quite a bit of BDSM, both for pleasure and in my day job as an editor, but very little of it comes close to what Dalton managed to create here. The depth of the pain, love, and longing in this story tore my heart apart and put it back together. It was beautiful, it truly was. I highly recommend it, and to convince you, here's the blurb from Amazon. :)
Love hurts...if you're lucky.
Kaden's dying, but before he goes he has one problem to solve -- he must ask his oldest and dearest friend, Seth, to take over as Dom and Master to his beloved wife, Leah.
Seth has always seen himself as the perpetual screwup and Kaden as the strong and steady one, so his friend's request rocks his world. He also knows there's no way he can refuse Kaden this.
Now Seth finds himself immersed in a role he's far from comfortable with -- inflicting physical pain to provide emotional comfort to the woman he's secretly loved for years. Can he deal with his crushing gried over the impending loss of his oldest friend and still learn the skills he must master in time to become The Reluctant Dom?
What struck me, beyond the truly heart-rending situation the characters found themselves in, was the title character, Seth. He is in every way reluctant -- reluctant to lose his friend, reluctant to face his true feelings for Leah, reluctant to step up to the plate when he's always thought of himself as the perpetual screwup. He's both your typical alpha male and not, at the same time. He drew me to him and made me believe he could do what Kaden asked of him even when he didn't believe it himself. Great job, Dalton!
Even the subject matter (and I don't mean the BDSM) was handled in a gentle, compelling, painful, healing way. Death is hard to deal with in a romance, even in paranormals or romantic suspense where danger is all around and you know, you just know someone isn't gonna make it out of this alive. But death is all around us, and Dalton shows us both the torture and the gift the process brings to our lives. It both rang true and had me screaming, "No! No! No!" by the end. And yet, Kaden and Seth and Leah enriched my life too. I'm glad I read it. You should too. :)
Check out this and other Tymber Dalton books at the author's website here -- and prepare for a passionate ride, in more ways than one!