Rate: 4.75 stars
Genre: Contemporary, BDSM
Publication day: May 9, 2016
Length: 323 pages
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
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.
My View: Risk Aware was a pleasant surprise. The blurb was intriguing, and it delivered more than I originally expected. This was my first R.A.C.K. story, and the author did an excellent job setting up the difference between R.A.C.K and a traditional S/m relationship. Having two willing participants without the need to establish a submissive allowed the reader to distance themselves from pop culture clichés and misconceptions.
The touch of fantasy in this story was delivered by the characters background and not their play scenes. Their well-off status took care of everything but the need for control and pain. We could see the characters as fiction even when the scenes they took part of were as real as our lives.
The author delivered two main characters that represented the two sides of a consenting relationship. Geoff, a hemophiliac masochist, is new to the lifestyle and Robin, an experienced Dom with a questionable background, helps him find what he needs and wants. They’re very different characters with diverse backgrounds, but in the end, they complemented each other.
Geoff’s health is an ever present issue they dealt with together after he accepted Robin’s dominance. Every aspect of their relationship had to be discussed before hand and their trust place in each other. After Geoff’s initial reluctance to share with Robin, everything moved forward. We were able to see how their relationship evolved from friendship to love and how it changed them.
The cast of characters involved in the story just added to its enjoyment. Some of the scenes are hard to read if you aren’t into impact or pain play, but overall, this story is an excellent example of a story well written and researched.
What I liked the most: How real the MCs’ scenes were. They weren’t a fantasy for the readers to enjoy, but a reality that could be happening at someone’s house.
I wanted more: I kept waiting for Geoff to drop all his defenses. I wanted him to truly show his love for Robin without inhibitions.
Who should read it: Fans of R.A.C.K. BDSM stories.