Aftercare (Ever After #1) by Tanya Chris
Aayan Denir knows Garrett Hillier was once a high-powered defense attorney, and—thanks to a leaked photograph—he knows Garrett is sexually submissive, which makes him ideally qualified to defend Aayan’s brother from the charge of murdering his sub. Aayan would do anything to protect Syed, even if he doesn’t understand how Syed could hurt someone he loves. He could never hurt Garrett. He only wants to take care of him—love him, serve him, cherish him. And maybe torture him. Just a little.
Garrett probably shouldn’t be dating his client’s brother. Right? And what’s the use in a confirmed sub dating a guy who doesn’t want to be a Dom anyway? The important thing is to get Syed cleared of the discriminatory murder charge he’s facing. Aayan is a distraction. But for the first time in the three lonely years since Garrett’s husband died, he’s feeling hope, ambition, and desire. Can he give up the pain he craves to find the love he needs?
As Syed’s trial date looms, Aayan and Garrett explore what a BDSM relationship means for them, and what they mean to each other.
(There is a newer cover than the one pictured above, but this is the version I read)
My last review here on the blog (Leather and Tea by K.L. Noone) was a BDSM book, and so is this one (I swear I don’t only read BDSM even if it seems like that 😀 ). In that review, I said that my favorite kind of BDSM book “What I like is the power dynamics, the BDSM not overpowered by props, the BDSM where the emotions are in focus, where the need to give up control is respected and handled with care” and Aftercare is another book that fits into that category.
Aside for that, Aftercare has three other things I love in my books:
- Court proceedings – I’m a sucker for court proceedings. I love court TV-shows or movies or stories, it’s really my thing. (Fiction though, not real life court TV)
- The MCs communicating. Gawd, is there anything sexier (except for consent – consent is always the most sexy thing to read) than people talking to each other? I think not!
- Diversity. Aayan and his brother Syed are Turkish Muslims.
So considering all that, it won’t come as a surprise to you that I really, really liked this book.
The characters were interesting and complex. I like that Garrett is a submissive masochist, but he’s also fierce in his profession and has backbone enough to stand up to Aayan when necessary. Aayan has problems incorporating his identity with his Muslim faith, but he tries so hard to accept who he is, and who his brother is, even though their parents aren’t exactly supportive.
This story line resonates with me. The brother, Syed, wanted to marry his boyfriend Jamie, but wanted to wait until he got his parents’ blessing. Unfortunately, he never got it and then it was too late. I have a gay friend who’s Muslim, and he’d like to be able to commit to his partner of many years, but he can’t do it because of his family. I know people like this which makes it even more real and touching and sad.
I would also like to go back to the communicating. If you’ve been following me for awhile, you know that I hate misunderstandings, and love talking. (So much that my current WIP is about two characters NOT misunderstanding each other!) And there were a couple moments in Aftercare that had the potential of ending with misunderstanding, but didn’t. Tanya Chris handled these situations with utmost grace, and neither of the characters let the other get away with it. And that is how you do it, people. Because in real life we don’t always want to talk about the hard stuff, but we have to. If we have a grown-up partner who’s invested in our relationship, they won’t let us get away with crap like that. So kudos for that.
If you like an emotional BDSM story about two people who really want their relationship to work, and who struggle to find themselves in the circumstances they’re in – this is the book for you.
After finishing Aftercare, I one-clicked book 2, Aftershock, which is Syed’s book. Can’t wait to read his story and HEA – he deserves it.