Tanja reviews “Painting Fire On The Air (Survivor Stories #2) by JP Barnaby (Published by Dreamspinner Press; September 26, 2013)
Why I read it: I did read the first book in this series “Aaron” a while ago and loved it. Naturally I could not withstand temptation to read the next book. It was not so good as Aaron but a worthwhile read nonetheless.
This book was offered to RGR in exchange of an honest review.
A Survivor Story
From her perch on a shelf above my bed, the doll accuses me with lifeless eyes of failing Juliette in the most heinous way imaginable, forcing me to crave the bite of his whip and the steel in his voice to drown out the ache in my chest.
For his entire life, Benjamin Martin’s parents drilled into his head that he must watch out for his little sister, but one horrific night, he failed. Now, the bite of a whip, cuffs digging into his wrists, his arms and legs stretched beyond endurance, these things give him what he needs to forget his sister’s violent death, at least for a while.
When Ben’s latest Dom casts him aside like a broken toy, he manipulates his best friend, Jude Archer, into picking up the pieces. Jude has been in love with Ben for years, but his fantasies about his friend never included whipping him. He doesn’t understand why Ben needs BDSM and he worries about Ben’s addiction. Most of all, he fears losing his humanity because he’s already lost himself in Ben. When he’s forced to trade the marks upon his soul for the pain that ravages Ben, Jude learns the real definition of submission.
If you read Aaron you know what happened to him and his best friend Juliette. Wait you didn´t read Aaron? What are you waiting for…off with you, buy and read that book ;).
Aaron and Juliette were assaulted and tortured. While Aaron survived badly injured Juliette did not. In Aaron you see the aftermath of such an attack through the eyes of the victim. In this story you get to know the feelings and thoughts of a surviving member of Juliette´s family. This is Ben´s story.
Ben is Juliette´s brother. When Juliette was murdered something in Ben died with her. He is guilt ridden, because in his mind he didn´t not protect his little sister. It doesn´t matter that he couldn´t have done anything. He was not even near her when it happened. Since it´s in the nature of human to ask “What if,…” his thoughts are comprehensible. His pain is palpable and the shock about what happened was so great that Ben cut himself off of all his friends and parents. He lives together with Jude, with whom he has become good friends although Ben never told Jude about what he experienced and still endures. The only time Ben forgets his pain and can let go is when he is in a session with his Dom Kage.
They have a strictly BSDM relationship without any romantic aspects to it and that suits Ben just fine since he doesn´t see himself worthy of love. It´s interesting to follow Ben through his sessions and what he experiences while in one. The detachment he has toward other people is well written and in contrast to what he feels when he submits.
I love BSDM books although I´m not a fan of using BDSM as kind of therapy for a psychological problem….but I´ll come back later to that point. The BDSM parts are good to great and well explained. This author took great means in describing the top rules: sane, safe and consensual and the dangers to the lifestyle if the rules were not held. I´m no newbie to BDSM books but I liked the fact that the author put so much effort into this story and wrote all the above mentioned.
Ok, back to the story. One evening Kage has planned a special session with Ben. Oh god the fire flogging was HOT, in more ways than one. For the life of me I can´t imagine doing this to my body but that´s the nature of reading BDSM. Some things take me out of my comfort zone, others push my boundaries. Well the fire flogging settles somewhere between those two. After the session Ben drives home and has an accident, which turns this story around.
Since the accident left Ben more or less bed ridden for a while, Jude looks after him. Jude is secretly in love with Ben for years and he will just do anything for Ben. As the story progressed Jude learns all about Ben, his sister´s death and BDSM. The concept of why someone would want to get beat up is foreign to Jude and his caring nature. Slowly their friendship turns to lovers and Jude has to learn coming to terms of what Ben needs, namely a Dom. And yes I was angry because of Jude´s hide tactics. I could not wait for Jude to finally get his head out of his ass and seek much needed information to build any form of judgment. I sighed, big time as it happened and he started talking with a Dom about the lifestyle. While I liked that he got his answers, I´m not 100 % convinced that being a Dom is really his thing and not just something he did so he can be with Ben.
I loved that Jude agreed to learn how to be a Dom if Ben seeks professional help. As I said before BDSM is not a form of therapy in my opinion. You can´t fight a psychic trauma with physical pain, only cover it for a certain time. So the therapy condition was much appreciated although I missed seeing it played out.
This is the third book I read by this author. It is a well written story which can provoke strong emotions in oneself as well as the author did a wonderful job writing about the emotions her main characters are going through. I did not love it like Aaron but it was worth reading it and I look forward to Spencer, book 3 in this series. On a side note: Although Kage behaved like an ass, I would love to read a story about him.
If you read book one, you should read this one as well. For those who didn´t read Aaron, go get the book and then read Painting Fire On The Air :). It´s not necessary to have read Aaron to understand this one, but you would miss out on a great read.
8/10 pots of gold