Titles: Delayed Gratification, The Start of Something New, Who I Am When I’m With You, Positive Reinforcement, Performance Review
Author: Tamryn Eradani
Publisher: NineStar Press
Length: Serialized Short Fiction
Category: BDSM, Contemporary
At a Glance: Erotic as hell. Would I have liked a dual POV? At times, yes. Did I feel that some parts of the story got left on the editing floor? Yes. But these two things were not enough to detract from my overall enjoyment of the story.
Reviewed By: Carrie
Blurb ~ Book One: Daniel Brown is a man of routine. You might even call him a control freak. So when the new Director of Marketing, Ryan Cole, starts shaking up Daniel’s routine, Daniel doesn’t know how to react. He finds Ryan intriguing, infuriating and oh so attractive, but he doesn’t mix business with pleasure. As their games start to grow kinkier, dare Daniel give in to his desire to let Ryan top him?
Review: The inside of Daniel’s head is a fascinating place to be. He’s uptight to the point of rigidity. He’s punctual and persnickety. He isn’t sociable. He lives within boundaries and doesn’t deviate from them for any reason whatsoever. But, it’s his reasoning for being that way, his unending dialogue within himself, that makes Daniel intriguing and vulnerable and HUMAN. This story is told in installments, each book is a nugget, an insight into the relationship which is developing between Daniel and Ryan. In each book we learn some new nugget, we get a bit of progression, and just like Eradani’s character Daniel, we learn something new with each successive stepping stone. There is an intimacy in the way Eradani has written this story. They are highly erotic shorts and contain BDSM elements—it’s hard core, emotional kink, not necessarily physical bondage or pain. Daniel is a sub who wants to just “be” for his Dom. He longs to be available whenever, in whatever form his Dom wants to mold him into to meet whichever need his Dom may have. He lives for affirmation and the knowledge he has made Ryan happy. It’s erotic as hell. Would I have liked a dual POV? At times, yes. Did I feel that some parts of the story got left on the editing floor? Yes. But these two things were not enough to detract from my overall enjoyment of the story.
In Delayed Gratification, our two main characters meet over a series of donuts. Ryan begins testing Daniel’s self-control, not even being aware of doing it, by leaving a glazed donut on Daniel’s desk every morning. The total mistrust that Daniel shows toward a glazed donut is palpable. The dialogue that follows over breakfast pastries gives us insight into the kind of man Daniel is, and the kind of man Ryan is also. Eradani uses these verbal characterizations of outside influences as tools to teach us her characters. What we get from book one is that Ryan sees Daniel. He sees everything about him and his rigid control of the world. Ryan sees that underneath the prickly exterior is a man who loves donuts but won’t indulge. Why? Because he is also a man who knows that delayed gratification, especially with the good stuff like sex and donuts, is all the sweeter when you do allow yourself that forbidden bite.
The Start of Something New is just that. Ryan has begun tapping into what makes Daniel tick. Daniel and Ryan have scened together once, when the story begins, and the rate that Daniel begins to fall for Ryan is alarming to him. At heart Daniel is a service submissive. His derives great joy from just making his Dom happy, even in the small things. Daniel has decided that he wants to be on display for Ryan; he wants to show Ryan everything he could have, if Ryan will just ask.
“Last night had been a test—if Ryan could ignore him, if Daniel could be ignored, but now that Daniel has his attention he doesn’t ever want to let it go. He wants everything—Ryan’s hands on his skin, Ryan’s voice in his ear. He wants to be spread out, spread apart.
Book two ends with Daniel whispering the word “hope”, internally, as he feels his chest swell with the emotion.
Who I Am When I’m With You skips five weeks down the timeline of this romance. Daniel is discovering that he can find comfort in other things besides his rigid routines. Things like the way Ryan manages to dismantle him bit by bit, or when Ryan totally obliterates his control all together. Daniel is changing, in small, incremental ways as his relationship with Ryan progresses. He is more tolerant of his coworkers and he laughs…occasionally. They have started seeing each other during the week, not just on weekends, and that’s a huge step outside Daniel’s routine guidelines. Daniel still has a lot of self-doubt and issues with feeling like he isn’t good enough for someone like Ryan, but bit by bit he’s working on it. By giving himself to Ryan, he is being molded into a better man, a happier man.
“You’re beautiful, “Ryan tells him, his voice far away and yet the only thing in the room, the only thing Daniel’s fully aware of. Another time, Daniel might be embarrassed at the words. But he’s given himself over to Ryan, given Ryan permission to take, to mold, to make Daniel into exactly what he wants. And if Ryan wants Daniel to be beautiful then that’s what he’ll be.
“Beautiful,” Ryan says again, bending his head to press a kiss to Daniel’s shoulder, seemingly the only clean part of him at the moment. Maybe, but he’s more than that. He’s—He isn’t Daniel Brown, man of routine. He isn’t Daniel Brown Director of Sales. He’s Ryan’s Daniel.
Book Four is Positive Reinforcement. We are starting to really get into the meat of these two men, and what they are beginning to feel for each other. It’s a tough week at work for Ryan. Budget meetings and yearly plans have taken precedence over their relationship. Daniel is having a hard time without Ryan, or, should I say he is having a hard not being able to do anything for Ryan? That’s not a sexual statement; it’s the way Daniel feels. So, he begins compensating his own routine to create new ways to have a point of contact with the man he is fast falling in love with. He leaves smoothies on Ryan’s desk, reminiscent of the donut gesture that started it all. He tells Ryan which chair is the most comfortable in the conference room, and makes sure he sits in it. The two men start texting each other, having more and more points of contact, and intertwining their lives even when not seeing each other. This whole relationship thing is creeping up on Daniel and changing the way he views himself for the better. He still stays in his head A LOT. He obsesses mentally about everything. Daniel can be self-focused to the point of exclusion of all else, including Ryan. He is starting to realize that it doesn’t have to always be about his needs as a sub; it needs to be about Ryan and what he wants. When, at the end of a tough week at work Ryan asks permission to stretch Daniel out of his comfort zone in their sceneing, Daniel learns an incredible lesson in true submission.
“I know I asked you to do something you would struggle with,” Ryan says. “You always make everything look so effortless, but I wanted to see the effort tonight. I wanted to see you choose. Choose pleasing me even though it hurt. Choose pleasing me even though it would’ve been so easy for you to say no or ask for something else. One word and I would’ve stopped, would’ve held you like I’m holding you now, but you didn’t say it. You let me spank you. You let me turn your ass red. You stood there even when it hurt, because you wanted to make me happy. You chose my happiness over yours. You’re incredible.”
Daniel has finally discovered his need for yes, please, and always.
Performance Review is episode five, and it starts with Daniel reflecting on which day of the week he likes the best. The answer is Saturday, for sure, because then he has Ryan all to himself; they can play and spend time wrapped around each other, and Daniel still has Sunday to let his body rest and recover before the work week starts. This Saturday, though, Ryan seems to not be in such a hurry to do the things Daniel needs him to do. Once again, we get a glimpse at the internal struggle Daniel constantly goes through to be the selfless sub that Ryan needs. And once again, Ryan proves why he is the Dom and teaches Daniel a lesson in giving over complete control to Ryan and letting his Dom take complete care of him. The systematic way in which Ryan can and does take Daniel apart in this story proves that the two men are made for each other. The journey from what Daniel wants, to the realization he is getting all he needs, is masterful, and Ryan’s assertion that Daniel is beautiful when he finally gives in is affirmation to a man who desperately needs that in his life. At the end, they have taken the next step in their relationship journey and have decided to go away together for a spa weekend. Oh, and Ryan is asking for control even when they are not together—maybe, just maybe, in the next installment they will finally be honest with each other about how they feel. Oh, I hope so!
I have no idea how long this story will be since I couldn’t find any mention of how many books will be a part of the series. I will, however, buy each one as they come out, and eagerly await more, and when the last book has been released, I will probably go back to the beginning and re-read them all through to the conclusion. That’s the downside of having a story parceled out to you; you sometime forget subtle nuances in the storytelling over time. Do I hope Tamryn Eradani releases them in a swift and expedited manner? YES! Because Daniel and Ryan deserve a HEA, and I really need to make sure they get one. I do recommend these books, in order, don’t skip one, you can’t and stay abreast of what happens. They are so short anyway, just a few chapters apiece, but skipping one will mean you miss a building block of the MCs’ relationship journey. Start with book one, it’s been a delightful journey so far!
You can buy Daniel and Ryan (Books One – Five) here: