Monday, December 13, 2010

Burn (A Hammer Novel) by Sean Michael

Burn by Sean Michael

I have loved some of the books in Sean Michael's Hammer series... and then there have been some I haven't cared for as much.

Unfortunately, Burn fits into the latter category.

As the story opens we are introduced to two men who seem to have been friends for a while. Marshall comes to a bar for an annual get-together amongst friends after a really bad day at work (he's a firefighter) and Dave realizes Marshall is not in a good place at the moment, so he takes him home and pretty much offers sex as a way to get him out of his head.

The problem is that Dave is a Dom, and Marshal is not a submissive. In fact, at first it appears Marshall is a bit of a Top. So we have a Dom trying to slowly introduce the lifestyle to someone without actually explaining much of it to him, and without giving him a safeword. He does eventually give him a safeword, but in my opinion, too much happened without one.

Here's the blurb:

Marshall and Dave grew up in the same neighborhood. They’ve mostly lost touch as they've gotten older, getting together just once a year with a bunch of other old friends for a game of football. This year, firefighter Marshall is late, and when he does show up Dave can tell the man has not had a good day. When Dave suggests they leave the gang and go back to Marshall's place for some decompression time, Marshall jumps at the chance and, later, at Dave.

Things don't all go smoothly for the two men, though. Dave is into BDSM, a member of The Hammer Club, and he thinks he could use his skills to help Marshall relieve the stress and guilt the man carries over not being the perfect hero. Marshall thinks needing that kind of help is sick, though, and when he enjoys what Dave does to him, he's convinced there must be something wrong with him.

Can Dave figure out how to convince Marshall that kink is not sick at all, but a way to keep sane as well, or is their relationship doomed?

What we end up with is a close relationship where they occasionally play around with very light BDSM.  I had no problem with the day to day relationship, these men were great together. It just felt as if the way Dave introduced his kink to Marshall was a bit dishonest. I appreciate that the author didn't make everything work out perfectly in some of the middle parts of the book, because I can see all kinds of problems that can result from springing BDSM on your partner without warning them first. Or without giving them a safeword.

BDSM elements:
  • Bondage and Discipline: 1 of 3 - no discipline at all; one scene where someone is handcuffed to the bed
  • Dominance and Submission: 1 of 3, sort of. When Marshall has a bad day he eventually submits just to see if it will help - but other than that he's pretty adamant about not submitting.
  • Sadism and Masochism: 0 of 3 
  • Extra Point: No
As for the writing elements -- the plot is the movement of the relationship, pacing had some issues, prose and dialogue were Sean Michael's trademark stilted sentence structure, and character development was fine with Marshall but not so much with Dave.

As for the stilted sentence structure... I enjoyed it at first, several dozen of Sean Michael's books ago. But when almost every character of Sean Michael's talks in the same manner... I don't know, I guess it's starting to not work for me anymore. Or maybe it's just that this story didn't work, and when I read one of his stories that I do like it will be okay again.

  • Book Rating: Burn: 6 of 10
  • BDSM Intensity Level: 2 of 10
  • Heat Level: 2 of 5

More often than not I enjoy Sean Michael's books and stories... but Burn just didn't work for me. If you prefer BDSM lite then the story might work for you.

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