I hate leaving one-star reviews, particularly for new authors. Unfortunately, I feel the need to warn potential readers off from this book. Why?
1) Lack of realism. I understand this is fiction, but when a story is set in the modern world, it should operate within the parameters of that world. It failed to do so because:
A) Insta-love (or insta worship). A previously self I dentures straight man falls immediately in the thrall of his first gay master. The authors trues to rationalize this leap, but I don't buy it. Now, I can handle insta-love when the story supports it (i.e. shifter novels, or extremely circumstances), but it just doesn't make sense here. The MC has little internal turmoil over his switch from women to men (although there is some inner-dialogue), let alone his newly discovered kink.
B) BDSM. I expect some character growth, underlying kink, or other rationale for BDSM. I love BDSM novels primarily because it is used as a catalyst for personal growth or expansion of one's horizons. Not here - here it seems to be used solely to titillate the reader. It doesn't work for me.
2) BDSM. Now, I know I mentioned this above as a reason why this story is unrealistic, but I think this deserves it's own category. This isn't BDSM in my book, it's abuse. For example, the MCs first exposure to BDSM is to hire a professional master. The master doesn't communicate with him. His only 'discussion' of what activities the (first-time!) sub is willing to accept is a form, which the sub (being new to the scene) understandably doesn't fully understand. Further, this trained professional gives him a safe-word, but doesn't explain what a safe word I'd (remember, the sub is a BDSM virgin). Not only that, but the master then proceeds to gag the sub, without providing a safe 'gesture' or anything else to allow the sub to call a halt to the session. Again, this is to someone new to the scene, and for a sub the master doesn't know anything about! Finally, the first scene is an advanced bdsm scene for a bdsm newbie. In a later scene, this master denies his sub a safe word, because he is being punished......... OK... Who cares if the sub is irreparably harmed, as long as its part of punishment. Additionally, a different master backhands his sub when he's caught trying to harm himself. I get it, you're upset, the sub is being reckless and causing self-injury. But..... Ummm.... Back handing him is not oK. Unless, maybe it's part of a scene, and per-agreed upon. Maybe. But I think how this author handles BDSM is irresponsible, and potentially harmful to non-discriminating readers. Further, the sub claims he will 'do anything for his master- anything. I don't see this as a string sub, but rather, another red flag of abuse..
Now, I don't mind some violence or strong BDSM, if the story calls for it. In fact, it often helps me further empathize with the character (see Henry's 'Tribute, or Nunn's 'Bloodraven'). However, I can't STAND abuse disguised as BDSM, and I think that's what this is. Further, I dislike he inference that two of the MCs are into BDSM due to abusive pasts.
3) I hate present tense. Now, I know that there are some novels it is acceptable, if not essential, to the storyline. This is not one of those stories. In fact, it made me feel like I was watching a movie with an omniscient narrator. "bob goes to the store. He thinks he ran out of ketchup, so he buys some. He then drives home." blah. Further, there are instances in which the MC reflects upon previous activities or thoughts, and the story switches to past tense. These may be grammatically correct - I didn't care enough to reread them. They are distracting, though.
To give the author her due, there were moments that put a twinge in my chest; that caused me to empathize with the MCs. I kind of do want to know how things turned out. That almost made this a two-star review. Unfortunately, the above points nullified that urge - I couldn't bring myself to waste the time to finish reading this. Perhaps, if the author dithes the BDSM and present tense, I'll try another book from her. For now, lll say tata.
Sorry Lynn. EDIT 07/01/2012:
To be fair, the author did apparently write a disclaimer that this wasn't intended to represent real bdsm. ( I can't verify this as I no longer have the copy of the book - I must have deleted it). I still didn't like it (personally), but had this warning been posted in the blurb or on the purchasing site, I would have known to avoid it in advance, as fantasy bdsm is just not my cup of tea.