Title: Caged Sanctuary
Author: Tempeste O’Riley
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 204 Pages
At a Glance: A good story with a refreshing twist, though a bit too glib
Blurb: Kaden Thorn, a dental surgeon who lives a quiet life, has no hope of finding the love he craves. A vicious gay bashing cost him the use of his legs and confined him to a wheelchair. He has given up hope of finding a Dom or even a nonkink partner to love him. When his best friend practically forces him to attend a dinner party, the last thing he expects is a strong Dom who can see beyond his wheels.
Deacon James is an architect and a demanding Dom, but he has spent the past couple of years without a sub or partner. When an employee invites him to a dinner party to meet his girlfriend, Deacon smells a setup but agrees anyway. He prides himself on being an excellent judge of character, and when he meets the younger dentist, he sees past the chair and finds a sweet submissive man who more than piques his interest.
Kade’s fears and demons continue to haunt him, challenging Deacon to use everything he’s learned as a Dom to earn Kade’s trust and submission. Deacon’s determined, though, willing to battle all of it to have Kade by his side and at his feet.
Review: First off, let me just extend kudos to author Tempeste O’Riley for creating a hugely likeable character who was both wheelchair bound, and submissive, and desperately wanting to be in the lifestyle that a BDSM partnership affords. Kade was clearly a kind and gentle soul to whom horrible things had been done, which included an extreme and violent gay bashing that left him nearly dead and finally, crippled for life. However, the incident did so much more than that. It really threatened to strip from him his heartfelt desire to be someone’s “boy”, a submissive bound to a Dom, a partner to a man who could love him and whom he could serve just as he was.
But while Kade’s physical limitations definitely could hamper serving a Dom, it was Kade’s own internal thoughts of unworthiness and recurring attitude of despair that really kept him from seeing what was right in front of him—in this case, a dominant who was willing to undertake the challenges Kade’s handicap presented. Deacon James sensed that Kade would be an incredible submissive from the first time he set eyes on him. From that moment on, he was determined to remove any stumbling blocks between he and Kade—particularly those that existed only in Kade’s mind. So, Deacon sets out to woo his submissive, to rebuild his confidence and to help him realize he is still worth so much to the right man, namely Deacon himself.
While I loved the premise of this novel—that a submissive can come in any form—and the idea that despite what we might see as our own limitations, love can truly push away self-doubt, the delivery of those messages almost got lost in the fairy tale scenarios this novel espoused. Deacon was just a bit too perfect—wealthy, handsome, and a bit old-fashioned in his approach to dominating. The moments between him and Kade were very loving and often hot and fraught with sexual tension, but I kept waiting for the action to start in this story. For instance, early on Kade alluded to an abusive former partner, and even had a run in with him in an liquor store at one point in the story, but while it was intimated that this former lover really did some nasty damage to Kade’s confidence and ego, there was no real resolution to his past with the guy. This element of the novel was just left hanging without Kade every fully coping with it. Without that emotional closure, I felt it highly unbelievable that Kade could so willingly be mastered by Deacon or trust him fully.
Also, there was a scene of group play that occurred in the novel that seemed a bit forced. Kade had such reservations that he could serve Deacon fully and yet seemed to easily accept the idea that a foursome would work well and would be something that would not trigger all his feelings of inadequacy. The intimacy that is required for a Dom to share his submissive is huge, and I felt that there were still so many finer points that Kade and Deacon needed to sort through together before Kade or Deacon would even think about group play.
All in all, Caged Sanctuary was a good story with a refreshing twist on a BDSM relationship that pushed boundaries successfully. However, I felt that the story became a bit too glib in relation to Kade’s heavy emotional and mental baggage.
You can buy Caged Sanctuary here: