Title: Stroke Rate
Author: L.M. Somerton
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Pages/Word Count: 183 Pages
At a Glance: If you are looking for a quick romance with some kink and great chemistry, then this is the book for you.
Reviewed By: Carrie
Blurb: Lucien Thorne likes to be in control, but the boy he wants to own may take some convincing.
Gorgeous but shy, Benedict Astor does his best to keep a low profile at the rowing club where he works. However, unbeknown to Benedict, he has attracted the attention of Lucien Thorne, rowing aristocracy, an Olympic medalist and a lord.
Whilst looking for a new rowing partner, Lucien believes he has found what he needs in Ben. He pushes him to his limits on the water and it becomes clear that rowing with the pretty young man is not his only interest. Ben is attracted to Lucien but confused about his feelings. Lucien is demanding, arrogant and dominant—which Benedict responds to even though he feels he should resist.
Fighting emotions he doesn’t understand, Ben has to contend with the bullying rowing club president and a humiliating auction of promises.
Lucien recognizes Ben’s hidden submissive streak and makes his own need for control very clear. He bids for Ben’s time, then forces Ben to admit to his own desire to test the ground between them.
When the deeds to the boat club are gambled away, Lucien and Ben must work together to save it. Will their growing love survive the pressure, Ben’s uncertainty and Lucien’s desire to own him completely?
Publisher’s Note: This book has been previously published by Pride Publishing. It has been revised and re-edited for release in 2016.
Review: Previously published in 2013, L.M. Somerton has added around thirty-five pages to Stroke Rate for its re-release, as well as the book getting a great new cover. I have read and enjoyed books by L.M. Somerton in the past (the Tales from the Edge Series is great), and love her usual alpha men with a BDSM kink, but this one missed the mark for me. This book is more plot driven; as in, there was a story the author wanted to tell instead of letting us really meet these men through characterization. Don’t get me wrong, though; I enjoyed the story overall, and the characters left me wanting more from them and their story. Stroke Rate is an exceptionally easy read, with next to no angst and two great guys. The problem is that even though more has been added to it, it still needs a bit of polishing—loose ends tied up and the pacing fixed.
But oh, Ben, you will love Ben. Ben is a shy college student who just wants to do a good job at the rowing club where he works, and at university where he is a literature major. Being on the water is his happy place, and the author does an amazing job of describing just what rowing means to this young man, which is why he took the job as caretaker to the boathouse. Ben deals with a lot in this story, especially for someone with such a reticent personality. I loved the Cinderfella aspect of this book—the idea of the overworked young man, the overbearing boss who abuses his good will, and the charming Lord who sweeps in and saves him from it all is always going to be a great storyline. We all love the fairy tale, and when it comes with a sexy savior with a tendency to take over… well, swoon!
Lucien Thorne is demanding, he is arrogant, and he needs someone to match his Olympic level athleticism to help him compete. He knows Ben can be that man, and sets out to make sure that Ben is not just in his boat, but in his life and his bed. Problem is, he is a bit too autocratic. There develops a fuzzy line between DD and the BDSM in the book, especially since they are both relatively the same age. Also, L.M. Somerton uses some unfortunate phrasing for the way that Lucien views Ben’s submission and Lucien’s actions/reactions during their scenes together. You start to see something darker lurking inside of Lucien, but it is never explored, so you are just left wondering why. He wants Ben, all of Ben, and he is going to make sure that Ben knows how good they can be together. The single-minded purpose he expends to this end is great romance and a pleasure to read.
What worked in this story is the chemistry between the two men, the romance aspect, and the sex. I loved the title; it is spot on for the story and a fantastic play on words. If you are looking for a quick romance with some kink and great chemistry, then this is the book for you. Just remember that fairy tale romances are meant to be enjoyed and not analyzed.
You can buy Stroke Rate here: