Author: Mickie B. Ashling
Narrator:: John Solo
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Run Time: 6 Hours and 18 Minutes
At a Glance: I was going along with the story until the “big reveal,” and then I felt like we jumped the shark.
Reviewed By: Sadonna
Blurb: On his way home from vacation, Scott Gregory, a one-off at a BDSM bar. They part ways after a satisfying scene… but meet again when Robin Kennedy-Red-arrives at his new job as a dental hygienist and discovers one of his two bosses is Scott. Robin and Scott embark on a journey of exploration into their kinkier sides and discover they’re more than compatible-they’re a perfect match. But keeping employer/employee and Dom/sub separate at the office presents difficulties, and to make matters even more complicated, the owner of the dental practice is an acknowledged homophobe. They fall in love, but Robin chafes at all the secrecy, refusing to live in the shadows. Scott isn’t as brave; he’s desperate to protect his job and his future. Will they be able to find some middle ground… or will their entire relationship fall apart because of fear?
Review: Maybe it’s my thirty years spent in HR, but the whole boss/employee thing sets off many, many warning bells for me. I am fine with BDSM, and I’ve read plenty of kinky stuff, so that part of this story didn’t bother me at all. I actually really liked the beginning of Impacted!, and how Red and Scott met and really hit it off. I liked getting their background stories. They obviously had very compatible kinks, with very hot chemistry, and were extremely attracted to each other. I also really liked Red’s mother and their relationship.
Multiple POVs is a difficult thing to pull off. In this instance, I wasn’t a huge fan of the head-hopping, including the douche canoe, Scott’s boss and owner of the practice. I thought the narrator did a convincing job with the voice narration and character inflections. Although I wasn’t a huge fan of the words he was saying, I would be willing to give his narration another try.
Unfortunately for me, all that build up led to a pretty big letdown. I found it somewhat implausible that a guy who was so far in the closet for the “dream job” he had worked so hard for would jeopardize his entire life’s goal to this point by bringing the “forbidden” relationship into the office. It wasn’t like they were married to others and couldn’t see each other in off hours. Let’s face it, we all know people who have carried on with co-workers, but only the really stupid ones get caught at work—and again, I say this as a thirty+ year HR professional who has seen respiratory therapists get caught “in the act” in the hospital chapel, had managing partners impregnate receptionists at holiday parties (resulting in no combined staff/attorney parties for over ten years), CFOs carrying on with their secretaries and destroying their marriages and families, etc. So it’s not like it’s new to me.
The aspect that broke the story for me, though, was the “big reveal” of the huge secret. Honestly, it was just sooooo unbelievable in too many ways, and I just couldn’t get past it. It truly seemed like the Happy Days “Fonzie jumps the Shark” episode. I would have liked the book so much better without this “twist.” For me, personally, this bit of the story just didn’t work. As usual YMMV.
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