Title: The Deeper He Hurts (Kick: Book Two)
Author: Lynda Aicher
Publisher: Loveswept/Random House LLC
Length: 236 Pages
Category: Contemporary, BDSM
At a Glance: This book isn’t only fascinating with regard to the BDSM aspects; it’s also an interesting character study in guilt, grief, and loss, as well as a truly gorgeous love story.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Asher Ruggiero, a partner at Adrenaline Kick Adventures, is living a lie. As a control freak whose big Italian family thinks he’s straight, Asher likes his encounters concise, dirty, and discreet—until his company’s new rafting guide walks into work, dripping with brooding, intense sexuality. Sawyer Stevens is a mystery man with secrets and rough edges, and he makes Asher want to get to know him inside and out.
Ever since the tragic death of his parents, Sawyer has dedicated himself to the rush of adrenaline that comes from pleasure and pain. Moving from one guy to another, hiding when life gets too complicated—that’s all he can handle. So why does Asher make him long for something lasting and honest, when the gorgeous geek can’t even be true to himself? Sawyer wants to give Asher his heart, but he just doesn’t know how. After all, a life without integrity is a life without passion—and that’s the one thing Sawyer craves.
Review: When I first read it back in September, this was the first sentence I wrote in my review notes immediately after closing the book: “Whoa. I’m still catching my breath from this one, guys. Seriously intense, gripping, and emotional—Lynda Aicher pulled out all the stops in The Deeper He Hurts.” After just finishing a reread of the book almost five months later, that sentence is still accurate. This book grabbed me from the initial introductions of both Sawyer and Ash, and had me for the entire ride. I’d love to just lay down about half of the sixty-seven passages I highlighted—I know…I may have highlighting issues—but, that might be a wee bit excessive. Hopefully, I can get my point across without resorting to that. 😉
As you guys know I hate to rehash plot, or parrot the blurb…so, as usual, I’m not going to do that. We do know from the blurb that Ash is afraid of sharing his true self with his family, and that he is immediately intrigued by Sawyer. We quickly learn that Sawyer came to work at Kick specifically because he was intrigued by Ash. He knew who Ash was, and a bit about his secret cravings. And, we also know that the loss of Sawyer’s family was tragic and affected him deeply, and that he hasn’t always been safe and sane in his methods of dealing with that loss. The blurb gives you a good overview of the storyline, and I never want to risk potential spoilers, so instead, I like to focus on how the author executed the story, how much I liked or disliked the characters and the story flow, and how all of the above made me feel while reading.
Usually in a book, I have a pretty clear-cut ‘favorite’ MC; that is not the case here. I love these guys equally. In fact, it was a very well-balanced book in general. There was such a good balance between sex, and scenes, and story. So much emotion on every page. Ash and Sawyer are both very intense characters; they each brought tons of passion and fire into both their work, and their personal relationship. Their backstories were both well-told and compelling, and I loved how well they meshed together and filled the gaps in each other’s lives. Their needs and personalities complimented each other’s perfectly—Ash’s sadist being able to give Sawyer’s pain slut exactly what he needed.
The fact that Sawyer is a pain slut is obviously a huge component of the story. And, one I must admit I was a little worried about before reading the book. I’ve read my share of BDSM books, some more well done than others, but haven’t read anything with such extensive pain play. While the scenes were absolutely intense, my worry was needless. There was nothing I couldn’t stomach; and, as I said above, Aicher did a fantastic job balancing the scenes with all of the couple’s other interactions. And, I was so happy that she took the time to explain that sadist doesn’t equal dickhead. I think it’s easy for people to misconstrue what a sadist really is.
Asher sat back, voice levelling out. “Inflicting pain on others and analyzing how they respond is layered so deeply within who I am it’s impossible to separate it out. But it doesn’t change who I am. It doesn’t make me a monster or evil or a sociopath. Just like wanting a guy doesn’t make me a pedophile or a sinner.”
I really did love Asher so much.
Another thing I’ve enjoyed about this series, this book included, is the adventure sports business itself. I’m sure Kick is modeled after a business that actually exists, but, not being an extreme sports person myself, I’m not familiar with one that encompasses everything together in one adrenaline-junkie package. The idea behind the company, and the partners, and what they’re trying to do is just very cool. A fun premise, for sure.
The Deeper He Hurts is many things. It will punch you in the feels—I teared up during an emotional scene between Asher and his mom—as well as make you think. The characters are intelligent and insightful, and you will absolutely be enthralled by their power exchange, and their dynamics during scenes. This book isn’t only fascinating with regard to the BDSM aspects, however. It’s also an interesting character study in guilt, grief, and loss, as well as a truly gorgeous love story.
You can buy The Deeper He Hurts here: