Title: Above the Dungeon
Author: SM Johnson
Rating: 5 Scorching Stars
Genre: Gay, BDSM
This has to be 5 stars from me. I’ve read some dark things lately (Herbert/Barker) and this immediately offered something deliciously lighter: something that could pull me back from the dread and compulsion of picking up a dark reads. I kept coming back to this novel with just a real easy sigh, and it’s been such a long time since I’ve found a novel that’s made me feel so at ease.
I loved the 1st v 3rd switch in pov between Dare and Jeff. The arrangement not only gave both sides of the relationship “argument” here, but also characterised Roman beautifully. And it all played havoc with my loyalties. I hated Roman, even though I should have been hating Jeff; then I was growling at the possible ménage scenario that neither of them obviously wanted. Then I was loving the possible manage scenario because some of the BDSM sex scenes were just so damn hot. And then – stage door opens to allow Dare into the mix.
Jeff, he’s your one-hundred percent sub, but with a twist: always looking for something else -- not someone, just the thrill of something else. I actually loved Jeff. All his insecurities, his selfishness, but mostly how his own selfishness, aided by Roman’s pure patience and understanding, was his own undoing: his Dom gave him everything he wanted, and loved him enough to supply Jeff with everything Jeff thought he wanted. That was something really special to see from Roman, and from a Dom. So when Dare comes into the mix, you can see the possibility of a real threat, and all of Jeff’s insecurities come into play again.
Dare. He’s your typical pretty(ish) rich boy running away from marriage. You could bring in “trope”
here, but Dare, he was a surprise, and one I’m not quite sure where he leaves me feeling in the end. He gets drawn willingly to Roman -- and into Roman’s world -- but, and this is part that helped define him in his own right away from trope characters, he pulls himself away from Roman’s world in a bid to retain individual identity. And it’s this that left me a little ‘hmmm’ towards the end. I’d seen Dare getting drawn in body and soul, then when Dare saw Jeff in the 24/7 state, all that heat almost flat-lined. It left a very strange state, but one I can understand. Some people don’t take one-hundred percent to the sub life. So it was good to see that play out and see Dare try to find his comfort levels, and then acknowledge his comfort levels, especially when it came to Roman.
Roman… Mmmmm. The more I think about him, the more I’d like to pull him from the pages and do wicked things to him. I loved how he kept showing his pure commitment to Jeff, even through his fascination with Dare. The tables turned on Jeff again, going from thinking he needed more, to learning Roman maybe was all he needed, to seeing someone else catch Roman’s eye. The whole constantly shifting arrangements made for a whole snake-pit for disaster, but Roman kept coming into his pure Dom roll, showing Jeff how much he loves him, bringing out the best in Dare, so that by the end, there’s a strange part-time sub v full-time sub acceptance with the relationship. I expected Dare to go his own way with how cool he became, or at least find someone else and keep coming back to Roman, so the ending did surprise me a little.
But overall, a fantastic read, and I’m damn sure I’ll picking up the next installment to this.
Link to author's Amazon.co.uk page.