Series: Power Exchange: Book Four
Author: AJ Rose
Length: 354 Pages
Category: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense, BDSM
At a Glance: I definitely recommend Restraint for all those familiar with the Power Exchange series. Rose is an eloquent and descriptive writer and has a way of making her characters real.
Reviewed By: Carrie
Blurb: Who brings a Glock on a honeymoon?
Not retired detective Gavin DeGrassi. When his husband Ben asks who he plans to shoot, Gavin has no answer. They’re spending three weeks in Ben’s family cabin near Seattle, not chasing down bad guys. Or are they?
Ben finds evidence the car accident that claimed his parents’ lives more than fifteen years ago was not so accidental. To avenge the Haversons, Gavin dusts off his detective skills and unknowingly paints a target on their backs. Suddenly, Ben is the prime suspect in a crime and the message couldn’t be clearer: drop the investigation or suffer untold consequences.
Gavin will stop at nothing to ensure Ben’s safety and bring the Haversons’ killers to justice, but without help, they’re sitting ducks. Gavin must make unlikely allies in his quest to clear Ben’s name and stop a ruthless crime syndicate. But with his loyalties divided, how far is too far in his quest for justice?
Review: This is a journey that started five years ago with Power Exchange. If you are in any way a BDSM fan, then these books are very familiar to you. Or, they should be. But it’s been since 2014 since the last book was released, and frankly, after the Breath Play Killer, going on that journey with Gavin and Ben and leaving them in a comfortable and safe place, I was curious how AJ Rose was going to tackle a continuation of their story. The first three books in this series are so incredibly intense, both in the subject matter and the lifestyle relationship that is forged between our MCs. I have to say, that Rose pulled it off, for the most part. There were times that I was calling BS on how much leeway Ben gave Gavin, and there were times that I wondered if the premise was truly a solid one, but on the whole, seeing how these two men have lived and grown together as a couple was a win in my book.
We get closure in Restraint, both for the MCs and in the storyline. Gavin and Ben come full circle, old threads are sewn up, hurts are healed and a HEA firmly established in this fourth novel. This is not a standalone book; you have to read the first three to be able to really know where our MCs are and see the evolution of their relationship. Ben and Gavin have just gotten married. They are stronger and closer because of the horrendous things Gavin was subjected to by the Breath Play Killer. Neither man can refute how close they have become because of those experiences. They have had to rely on each other, find a new deeper level of trust for each other. They have fought to be where they are, and it shows.
Ben and Gavin have bought Ben’s family home in Seattle, Washington, from Ben’s uncle Oliver. Spending their honeymoon surrounded by familial things in the quiet of the Pacific Northwest is something both men are looking forward to. Ben has continuing his work as a psychiatrist and behavioral specialist, and Gavin is enjoying his work teaching at the local college in their hometown. Life is quiet. Life is good. Until Ben discovers his mother’s journals and comes face to face with the reality that his parents may have been murdered. Now, for most of us this is where the story would end, but you have to realize who these men are, and what they know how to do, and the connections they have that help them do it. So, what would be an implausible storyline for the rest of us is perfectly plausible for these two men.
It’s time to flip the tables a little bit. Gavin comes to the realization that taking care of his Dom means more than the physical, occasionally. Sometimes it’s about using your talents as a top-notch policeman to solve a mystery that is knocking your Dom off his usual equilibrium. Seeing Ben as vulnerable is something that Gavin is definitely not used to, and it’s Gavin’s turn to provide for his Dom in a way he never has had the opportunity to do. And to get a personal kick from solving the puzzle of what happened to Ben’s parents. The mystery is front and center in this book, just as in the other three, only this time it starts on a more personal note, having it be about Ben’s parents. It doesn’t get as brutal as a serial killer scenario, but it does get personal, and the intensity between the characters and what is happening around them is still there. It’s Gavin’s turn to be the emotional solid as Ben begins to fall apart the deeper into the investigation they go, and the more Ben feels out of control of his environment and his life. Once again, Ben is forced to let his lover delve into situations beyond his control and his ability to keep him safe—only this time Gavin’s doing it because Ben asked him to, and that is more than Ben is able to grasp or handle at times.
Gavin and Ben have matured. They are enjoying and reaping the benefits of being so in tune with each other, that they need each other to breathe. Ben is still pushing Gavin, stretching his limits as a sub, and the absolute faith Gavin has in Ben is breathtaking. The spot-on BDSM is still there, and the scenes in the book where Gavin gives in and becomes Ben’s everything are beautiful. Are they as intense as the previous books? No. But with maturity comes a knowing, and that is reflected here.
I read on Rose’s blog that she felt she was done with Gavin and Ben after the third book, and I have to admit reopening their story was risky for the author. I felt she paid homage to the original three while creating a storyline that opens up new arcs for some of the secondary characters. Yes, I feel we have been set up for Leo’s book, but I cannot find it in myself to care since as soon as it comes out, I will reach for it with grabby hands.
Was this fourth book as good as the first three? Yes, in its own way. It is different and follows a separate storyboard from the first three books, but that doesn’t make it bad, just different. I definitely recommend Restraint for all those familiar with the Power Exchange series. Rose is an eloquent and descriptive writer and has a way of making her characters real. I enjoyed this foray back into Ben and Gavin’s relationship, and I absolutely recommend it for all lovers of this series.
You can buy Restraint here:
[zilla_button url=”http://books2read.com/u/4jDaaY” style=”blue” size=”large” type=”round” target=”_blank”] Amazon, B&N, and iBoooks [/zilla_button]