Title: Just the Right Notes
Author: Sean Michael
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 200 Pages
Category: Contemporary, BDSM
At a Glance: I enjoyed this book because I enjoyed Elliot and Graham, and I would have loved having just a little more from them.
Reviewed By: Carrie
Blurb: Elliot is an up-and-coming architect who just opened his own firm—which is a lot more work and pressure than he expected. His partner, Graham, is a respected composer and conductor. They share their love and lives in a beautiful house designed by Elliot, and whenever things get too hard to handle, they retreat to their cabin getaway where Elliot becomes Dom to Graham’s needy little sub.
When things at Elliot’s firm begin to crumble, Graham needs to be the tough one, the one to suggest the cabin and the games they play there, knowing Elliot’s role as Dom will give him strength and that their games will recharge his lover. Together, they keep working to find that precarious balance in their lives—until an accident threatens to change everything. Elliot and Graham’s love faces its greatest challenge yet, and only the resilience they draw from each other can see them through hardship and keep the music in their lives.
First Edition published by Torquere Press, 2010.
Review: This book originally came out in 2010; it has an updated cover and is being distributed through a new publisher, but the content is essentially the same.
I loved the main characters in this book. The dynamic and the chemistry between them was apparent from page one. Elliot and Graham have an interesting relationship in that their everyday interactions do not necessarily portray their Dom/sub bond. We meet this couple after they have been together for several years. Their relationship is established already and the story Michaels tells is an interlude of time when that relationship is being tested and the MCs have to reevaluate their lives and their lifestyles because of the conflict coming their way. This didn’t bother me at all, the book starts seamlessly and I didn’t feel like I missed out on any part of Elliot and Graham’s relationship; it was more a start of a story of old friends that I maybe had once met. Which, if you have read any Sean Michael, you will recognize his characters, so that’s probably why. I appreciated the snapshot of a working Dom/sub couple and how they handle conflict within the paradigm of a working committed D/s relationship. I also found it interesting that this couple had a cabin which they used as their getaway. Day to day, they are partners, equals, but when they get to the cabin, roles change and it offers a respite for them from their everyday stresses. It isn’t just the cabin, it is decision to go, the drive up there, the chance to air any and all problems or grievances before they walk through the door, and the loving care they have for each other within the cabin’s walls. It’s a nice concept and one I haven’t run across before, which helped keep this book interesting for me.
Elliot is a Dom; he is also an architect and is trying to make a go of having his own firm. I appreciated that Michael draws this character as a real person—Elliot has faults and he makes mistakes. He’s in over his head with a new architectural firm, and we get to see how huge a stress this is for the man. Elliot is human first, and that’s something not a lot of Doms are portrayed as being. He is also head over heels in love with his partner and sub, Graham.
Graham is a composer; he has an artist temperament and tends to extremes in his habits. Elliot grounds him in a way that he can only express through music. Elliot also is the only one who can make the music disappear for a while. His intense sessions with the man are as necessary as breathing because Graham hears music in everything and everywhere and Elliot gives him a peace he hadn’t known existed. When Elliot’s firm goes under and Graham has to assume the role as bread winner in their relationship, it turns things topsy turvy between the two for a while, and challenges them to learn new depths about each other.
I do wish there had been a smidge more storyline to this book. I know it’s billed as erotic, but Michael gives us just enough to really wish the story was fleshed out a little more. The sex of course is hot, no one writes a sex scene like Sean Michael, but he also likes to pare his books down and give you just enough of the main characters as is necessary to carry the storyline forward. I enjoyed this book because I enjoyed Elliot and Graham, and I would have loved having just a little more from them. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book. It was hot, it was sweet, it was romantic, it was kinky—what more could someone want?
You can buy Just the Right Notes here: