Soft Focus by Reno MacLeod and Jaye Valentine
Ethan Bouwer has always been the adventurous sort. A freelance nature photographer, he travels the globe and writes erotica on the side whenever things get a bit slow. Hunting for a topic for his next writing project, he stumbles upon a man named David Turner and the taboo world of BDSM. His curiosity piqued, Ethan discovers that David Turner and his beautiful partner Kiyoshi are coming to town for a convention.
Ethan makes arrangements for them to meet, but little does Ethan know that he is about to embark on a safari into a world more wild and untamed than anything he has ever encountered before.
Innocently unaware of how little he truly knows of BDSM, Ethan steps unprepared into a world where he is challenged to step out from behind his safety as an observer and enter the scary, uncertainty of participating. His next twenty-four hours are comprised of moments where his choices, however large or minor, alter his path, as well as David and Kiyoshi’s.
All three characters are fully developed and wonderfully drawn from the intense and loving relationship between Kiyoshi and David to Ethan’s wide-eyed eagerness and yearning for more. Kiyoshi is a charming, intelligent, spoiled brat. He is wonderfully written with a deft hand, clearly showing a man, no matter how beautiful he may be with his stilettos, make up and clothing. His devotion and service to David shows the true strength and elegance of a BDSM relationship, where the “ownership” is clearly on both sides.
David is much more of an enigma; for all that he is clearly an essential aspect of the threesome relationship. He is engaging and scene stealing, confident and charismatic with an obvious strength. His love and adoration for Kiyoshi is charming and their interaction is lovely to watch. The authors clearly have a true understanding of how a healthy, vital BDSM relationship works and creates a magnetic dynamic here between these men. Many of their interactions are subtle but show the strength, love, and purpose shared between David and Kiyoshi without the need for grand gestures.
There are a surprising number of elements woven into this fabulously engaging and riveting tale. Between the ménage relationship, BDSM elements, tension from outside forces, the mixture of personalities, needs, and wants; Soft Focus delivers a well-written, cohesive and beautiful story. Although this is a romance, the characters have an intensity and edge that never mistake this for an easy relationship.
Ethan and Kiyoshi relationship shows great depth and growing emotions while Ethan navigates his place as submissive to David. The complex interactions and intense relationships between the three men amidst the BDSM backdrop creates an engaging story filled with graphic sex and violence but fitting the characters and setting without turning the reader away. There is no question all three men desired each other with very steamy sex scenes, which thankfully weren’t just there for the sake of sex. The BDSM elements are clever and interesting, showing a great deal of knowledge while poking gentle fun at a great number of misconceptions. The knowledge of the authors or their research is clear and refreshing to have an honest and authentic perspective versus perpetuating ideas simply because some find them sexy.
The interesting and incredibly hot men drew me into the story very quickly, leaving me rapt at Ethan’s earnest missteps and honest emotions. I was kept guessing as to what would happen in each moment. As the path of your life can change in an instant, the fascinating turns that follow the lives of these three men will keep you glued to their story. This book is a steal at only $2.50 for 167 pages.
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*this review originally was for Rainbow Reviews