Title: Neat Trick (Tales from Rainbow Alley #5)
Author Name & Publisher: Jaime Samms (Pride Publishing)
Publication Date & Length: February 16, 2016 – 321 pgs
Being 100 percent sure you know what you want is a sure-fire way to get exactly what you need. You just might not recognize it when you do.
Jacob has rebuilt his life inside Rainbow Alley after a vicious beating sent him to the hospital when he was a teenager. He’s strong again, and he knows what he wants from life. He just has to accept that he isn’t going to get it from Cliff Thatcher.
Aaron has discovered that life never offers handouts. He’s spent years paying other people’s debts and now he is indentured to Douglas, a man who won’t hesitate to use every ugly trick in the book to retain control over Aaron, his skateboard and his life.
When Jacob and Aaron meet, there is not an ounce of doubt in Jacob that he’s found what he wants. The young man might be a little rough around the edges, but he’s a safe bet, and Jacob knows he can control the thrust of their relationship. That is, until Aaron proves he can handle Jacob’s submissive side and pushes to take the dynamic out of the bed and into the rest of their lives.
Jacob’s hard limit, though, is the bedroom door. Only when Douglas makes it clear Fohe isn’t letting Aaron go without a fight, or a pay-off that he seems intent on taking in the form of Jacob himself, does Jacob begin to understand just how shaky his world really is.
If Jacob doesn’t believe Aaron can protect him, he’ll lose everything. Including what might just be his only chance at true freedom from his fear.
Reader Advisory: This books contains scenes of violence and references to past abuse and child pornography. It also contains one instance of sexual violence.
I want to start this by stating I didn’t read the previous books in this series. That being said, I didn’t really feel super lost. I thought that Samms did a good job at explaining who everyone is – even if I didn’t know, right away, their dynamic in the story.
Aaron is struggling in life – he’s trying his hardest, but despite that, it’s an uphill battle that he’s losing. With nobody to turn to, he just has to continue on with the course he’s on and hope that someone or something comes his way to help him out. I had a hard time with his character, because he’s essentially lived a life of abuse – he knows no other way of life – it is a sad thing to witness.
Then you have Jacob. He was bullied, beaten and bruised early in life – he had a loving parent who sacrificed in order to try to give him a better life. He’s almost the complete opposite of Aaron. Despite having things a little easier than Aaron, Jacob is also struggling through life – he needs someone to dominate him in the bedroom and knows that’s what he needs, but is having no luck at finding someone he connects with and who also wants him in that way. It seems that despite him knowing what he wants, the people surrounding him are not that great at helping him in the way that he needs.
However, when things go sour – the secondary characters are there to help, but also caused me some confusion. I wanted Jacob to fight harder against his need to see Aaron – He worries so much throughout the book that he only wants dominance in the bedroom, but allows it to come outside too, which was confusion. And, while I do know that he wanted Aaron to know he trusted him, I didn’t think Aaron really earned that too well.
Overall, this was an intense story where the characters were able to develop and grow, but I didn’t feel that they really grew as a couple – more individually. I think that I would have liked to know more about the future they wanted – to see their future, because I was still left with several questions.
With most of the hours in the day taken up by a part time job and the full time occupation of raising and schooling two kids, writing is somewhat of an indulgence, but it’s the indulgences that keep us sane, right? When not otherwise occupied, like most writers, reading is my relaxation method of choice, and you can find my reviews at Kuriousity.com and Dark Diva Reviews to let you know what I liked (and occasionally, what I didn’t). And just in case there are an extra few minutes in the day, I also help out the admin team abelong to a writer’s critique group: Dreaming in Ink. After all, idle hands and all that.