Title: Broken Halo
Author: Michaela Grey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 236 Pages
Category: Contemporary, BDSM
At a Glance: This book isn’t for everyone. If you are looking for a quick, gritty BDSM novel, take a pass. But if you are looking for a romance full of self-actualization, then this one works.
Reviewed By: Carrie
Blurb: Micah Ellis is an affluent businessman, comfortable in his life and work, as long as nothing happens to shake up his routine. Which is exactly what one Devon Mallory does, with his bright blue eyes and dirty skin and the forceful personality that’s everything Micah desperately needs but is too afraid to ask for.
Micah and Devon enter into a Dom/sub relationship and navigate the world of BDSM and Micah’s crippling insecurities as they gradually fall in love. But Micah’s past is coming back to haunt him, and they must face it together—and that means learning acceptance and discovering that they both deserve love their way and on their own merits.
Review: This book begins with the first meeting between our two main characters. And frankly, we end up not liking one of them very much. When you have a character who is, on first blush, not very likable, I always ask myself where the author is going to go with this personality. Grey does a great job, however, of not only explaining this character’s issues, but turning him around. And, by the end of the book you’re rooting for his HEA.
Micah Ellis has issues. In your face issues. He has OCD, is neurotic and a germaphobe to the extreme. He lives his life with a set routine; he finds comfort in a place for everything and everything in its place—oh, and spotlessly clean. Any deviation from this norm for him, and he tends to lash out angrily at whatever or whoever is closest. Growing up in the foster system was hard for him because no one wanted a mixed-race child with such debilitating issues. Micah has known about his submissive tendencies since he was a teenager, but finding a Dom who could handle his issues has been daunting.
Devon Mallory owns and works at an auto mechanic shop. He lives in grease. When Micah’s car breaks down, and he ends up in Devon’s shop, it doesn’t go well. Micah has been pushed out of his comfort zone by roughly a million miles, and when he recoils from shaking Devon’s hand, his mouth has to back up the first insult with a second when it opens and calls the man dirty and uneducated. Not an auspicious beginning to say the least. Devon has worked hard at his business for years, which he owns with his sister, Sean. They are just barely hanging on and he needs all the business he can get—but he draws the line at being treated like trash. BTW, this is where I am starting to wonder about this book and where it’s going! Heh. Then Micah and Devon meet at an IHOP and bond over chocolate chip pancakes, and yeah, you had me from then on. Devon is an incredibly patient man who cares enough about Micah to not only meet Micah’s issues head on but also is willing to learn new things to help Micah cope. He has never been a Dom before, but oh, it’s a head rush, and Devon not only accepts this aspect of his and Micah’s relationship, but he embraces it whole heartedly.
Devon brings balance to Micah’s life. They are yin and yang for each other. But Micah has issues with trust because of his upbringing, and runs away to India to come to terms with his feelings for Devon. Micah is full of self-hate, it’s very deep seated, and he has to learn who he is and what he wants for himself before he can give his heart to Devon. Grey, at this point, takes the novel to another place with Micah’s journey of self-discovery. Devon is left behind with his heart in ribbons, and the whole focus is on Micah. If you liked the movie Eat Pray Love with Julia Roberts, except concentrated in India, that is the journey Micah goes on. Discovering his love for his Indian heritage, his love of food and coming to terms with himself. Micah comes back home and opens a restaurant. His first customers turn out to be Devon and his family. Yeah, a little trite, but you knew it had to happen.
On the whole, I would recommend this book. It is a romance, with some BDSM, but it is a journey and not a fast one. The BDSM is there but isn’t the focus of the book. I thought the storyline of the former Dom was unnecessary. It just didn’t add the right note to the story. Grey should have stuck with the romance of Devon and Micah, combined with Micah’s journey of self-discovery. It gives the story a certain The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel feel.
The imagery of the manta rays and what they meant to Micah could have been played up even more since watching them gave Micah such peace. This book started as a post on Tumblr and was known as Buttons on a Coat since Micah keeps the button from Devon’s coat in his pocket the whole time he is in India. I almost think the name should have stayed Buttons on a Coat since that imagery conveys the depth of meaning behind the button and the manta ray as they pertain to the story.
“I have something of yours,” he said. Devon raised an eyebrow, and Micah pulled the button out of his pocket and held it out on the palm of his hand. “It fell off your coat when you… I kept it. I’m sorry, I should’ve given it back, but I needed to….” He bit his lip. “It was the only thing I had of you.” There were tears in Devon’s eyes too, and he smiled tremulously as he folded Micah’s fingers over the button. “Keep it,” he whispered. “And open the damn door so I can take you to bed.”
This book isn’t for everyone. If you are looking for a quick, gritty BDSM novel, take a pass. But if you are looking for a romance full of self-actualization, then this one works.
You can buy Broken Halo here: