I thought what I needed was time to process this book but no amount of time will do that. I am shaking my head just thinking about what I read and debating on how to rate this utter mind fuck. This is half review/half rant complete with a few colorful words and I will warn you, here there be spoilers. Not many but consider your self warned. This story starts out simple. Boy meets boy in a bar. Boys have a bit of intense sexuality activity in the alley; boy leaves his business card just in case. Boy calls number on card, boys have a date/dinner together, share a few stories, a few smiles, some great sex and the next date leads to “become my sex slave for six months and you get everything you will need to live happily ever after.” What the ever living fuck? Now I am not a prude nor do I shy away from the genre of dark erotica or taboo. Hell, one of my favorite books happens to be a Master/Slave story but this…this is not a kinky book. This is not even “Your Kink Is Not My Kink” because the only thing that could be classified as kink was their first time having sex in a bed with the handcuffs. Anything after Bran signs Jonathan’s contract was not kink, it was abuse. Have you ever seen a wild horse be broken? This book would be the equivalent. Horses are proud, strong and stubborn. What they don’t want it to be saddled, ridden and confined to cage. Breaking a horse is beyond difficult; I have seen it done as I used to work on a ranch over the summers. Bran, he is a beautiful horse who wants that nuzzle of a hand, that soft stroke on his flank, that word of encouragement that makes him want to please. What he isn’t… is submissive. I firmly believe the man does not have a single submissive bone in his body. Not one. If he did, that month those first fucking days would not have been so difficult for him. He would not have fought so damn hard to keep control. Yes, I know that some people have a “submissive” tendency and can be taught/trained but the railing against what Jonathan wanted even when he wasn’t deserving demerits, was not that of a sub. Yes, Bran was attracted to Jonathan and wanted what he gave him but on a lighter level. Did he want it? So hard to forgive him for what he’d done, though. To forgive him for being so fucking edible all the time, even when he was a total ass, infuriating, heartless and cruel. So hard to forgive himself for wanting the little shit anyway. Maybe that’s what happened when you broke.In a relationship there has to be communication, whether it’s full on kink or plain old vanilla. You have to talk. I get that Jonathan was the big bad Dom but I honestly think if he took the time to explain more of what has going on than just simply stating “this is how it is” to Bran things might have been different. You need to talk folks. The contract, I wanted a bit more of that. What was in it? I didn’t need to see it repeatedly but I would have liked the cliff notes version of it. Bran, he isn’t submissive and if he has the tendencies they sure as fuck are not in line with a masochist. Why would Jonathan do this to him? No remorse, no feeling no nothing. Even after the talk with his friend, there wasn’t enough from Jonathan in that respect. What happened to the Jonathan from the beginning of the book; the Jonathan that was fascinated by “who” Bran was. What, Bran signs on the dotted line and Mr. Jeckle arrives? Ugh. I honestly love a good dark erotic story but this; there is a fine line between kink and abuse that I think this book teeters on. A submissive wants the control taken away from them, it’s freeing to let go and just do what you are told. Maybe not in a 24/7 relationship but in that place where it’s their role they revel in it. Revel in what it gives them and gives the Dom. It’s supposed to be a win/win situation. Bran never lets go. The times he is in “Sub Space” um, he blacked out…Sub Space my ass. I liked Jonathan in the beginning, I really thought this would be a story of sexual self discovery but this was more of “do what I say or else.” Those punishments? Not the first but when Bran wouldn’t eat; talk about hard pages to get through. Jonathan is a sadist and I do understand that, I just happen to prefer my Sadistic Dom with side of morality. "Yet, here you are." Ugh, Bran what the hell did you get yourself into? I don’t think even you really knew and the one time you actually talk to Jonathan about that it’s clear you didn’t. “Three million dollars, remember? It’s not like you didn’t know what you were signing on for? Except, he supposed, for the part where he really actually kinda hadn’t known.” The money, you kept thinking about the money and the tender side of Jonathan. “Shit. Please don’t tell me I did not just come thinking about Jonathan being tender.” I yelled at my Nook so many times, “Just fucking leave Bran, LEAVE!” You took way more than I could have and it was difficult to read. I agree with most of your assessments of Jonathan. Oh fuck the throat. Bran wanted to punch him in the fucking nuts.Good Lord this book has me twisted tighter than a chronic masturbator waiting for the confessional. Trust me, I could go on and on with what bugged me about it, what I feel and what I wanted to see done. Bottom line, there was so many misunderstandings in this story, a whole sink hole full of the communication that was lost and SHOULD have been included. Both men are so damn stubborn that neither of them was going to bend. I know I need the next book NOW, I have to see what happens and if it’s redeemable. Boys, I am not sure about that ending, about those last two scenes or what is going to happen next but I am with you for it. I need to know, I want to know and for fucks sake in the next book TALK! Now, after my rant, let me clarify the rating and yes, I did read the disclaimer provided. Why the four stars? The writing is fantastic! The story telling is superb. The words flow off the page seamlessly and even the tough scenes become a page turner. Had this book lacked in readability, I would have dnf’d it about half way through, but I didn’t. I couldn’t. Also, any book that can push my buttons this hard and make me salivate to read the next in the hopes that they prove me wrong deserves a high rating on my scale. ***And now for my kinky PSA***I do need to toss something about there, not only to this book but to many books that use BDSM; all the detail about the instruments, the stripes, the welts, the bruises, the strength of the swings with the flogger/whip/crop/cane are fantastic but folks, please don’t forget to include the After Care in there. It is just as important. I think it was mentioned slightly once in this book about a “special lotion” but when you are going at it as hard as Jonathan did with Bran, shit…help the man out to heal. That is all.Review copy provided by Riptide Publishing via NetGalley.