Title: Life Under New Management
Author Name: Jane Davitt
Working for a perfectionist like strict, sexy-as-hell Ethan isn’t easy. Falling in love with him? No problem at all.
Taking a bar job in an exclusive hotel is a stopgap for Andy. He’s an actor and his big break is coming soon—he knows it. His hot new boss Ethan is strict, demanding and totally off-limits but Andy can’t stop thinking about him.
When Andy learns of Ethan’s need to be in control of his partner—in bed and out of it—he’s stunned by the intensity of his reaction. He wants Ethan guiding him, bringing order to his chaotic life. And he sees that Ethan needs him too, though they can’t be open about their feelings.
Ethan deals out deliciously perverse consequences for misbehaving, but when it comes to incentives, he knows just what to offer to have Andy on his knees begging for more.
But some secrets can’t stay that way for long. And when difficult choices arise, for once Andy can’t turn to Ethan for guidance. This time, he’s on his own.
This is a wonderfully unusual BDSM story.
Ethan is the bar manager in a top Vancouver hotel and Andy is an aspiring actor working at Ethan’s bar to pay his bills.
When we meet Andy, his life lacks discipline and he is more than a little disorganised. Ethan, on the other hand, is obsessively organised and his life is carefully regimented.
The story focuses around Ethan’s kink, his need for total control of his partner in bed and in life. Directionless Andy immediately jumps at the idea of someone making his choices for him, but the execution of the relationship isn’t as easy as either man would like.
The pain and fear play in the book gets quite intense in parts, and some readers may shy away from things like ginger, citrus and Wartenberg pinwheel play. Other readers will enjoy the writer’s vivid imagination.
I love the fact that this is set in my hometown, Vancouver. Some of the author’s beautiful descriptions of the city made me very homesick.
I’m still not sure I loved the relationship, or that I really came to love either of the two main characters. The relationship starts with a contractual style agreement, but even when the characters move past the basic agreement and start to talk about an emotional connection, I didn’t ever feel like I was witnessing true intimacy.
Interestingly, this lack of intimacy made the book more real for me. It would have been out of character for Ethan to become easy-going and emotionally transparent, and I’m not sure Andy is ever able to feel much very deeply.
So yes, this is a well written, well observed book. The BDSM relationship is atypical and more interesting because it isn’t what we’re used to reading about. The sex is hot, if you enjoy reading about pain and control. And I like the way the author stays true to character, ensuring emotional intimacy isn’t forced or feigned.
While I enjoyed this story, I thought it was somewhat slow to start and then too fast to end. The middle was well thought out, but the incentives that the blurb claims Ethan is so good at doling out – I just did not really see.
I did like that Ethan and Andy struggled through the beginning of their romance. It was not an instantly gratifying relationship, which I appreciated. But, in the end, this was not a book that I felt was developed in a methodical manner.
One minute they were in a relationship, then trouble was brewing, then everything was OK again. I would have liked there to be more to the ending of the story – it felt abrupt.
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When I was eight I decided to write a book. I found a blank notebook, wrote ‘Chapter One’ at the start, scribbled a few hundred words about triplets with improbable names, and lost interest. Three decades later I still wanted to write a book, but the dim realization was dawning that meant I had to actually, well, write something.
Yes, it surprised me too.
So I did. Not about triplets, but love, angst, hot and spicy smut, and for the most part they’re m/m romances.
There’s a shelf in my library where I keep the books with my name on them and yeah, there they are. I did it.
That eight-year-old me expected a lot of her future self though. Like being an astronaut. Did not do that.
Sorry, younger me. Here, have a wine gum.
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