Doran is a gambler, at the point I stopped (49%) what I know is he is on a program of getting better, he recently started going to a group (he hates) he has a job and an apartment to live in but he has "restrictions" to help him minimize the opportunity to gamble. So let's start here, this is the WORST time to get in a relationship - not only for him, because he is in a very unstable place, and CERTAINLY not for a guy just meeting him and hearing about the fact he is a gambler paying for his actions. Listen, NO guy would just hop right in and play like he doesn't care. It doesn't make ANY sense AT ALL. It's totally and absolutely UNrealistic. Basically while I got what Doran saw in Xavier, I didn't understand Xavier AT ALL. He was struggling with his attraction to "the kid" (22 years old Doran, younger by 6 years) and also the puzzlement over his need to "boss him around" as Doran seems to crave.
The relationship buildup was non existent, or rather, it moved SO fast, I'm not even sure how it happened. I mean, having sex twice doesn't make a relationship. Especially as they barely know each other. While Xavier was having his difficulties with making Doran own up to his wants but also his limitations, he was basically behaving like someone's mother (not a very patient one..). His temper was hot-cold at times and I didn't get the impression as to why or what triggered those emotions. I didn't get what he saw in Doran except for attraction and maybe a need to "own" him. He knew that right from the start? okay.. maybe.. I don't know. It felt like a relationship I would expect to find between a teacher and his student. Totally off in it's dynamics. I found Xavier to be condescending even. Expecting Doran to answer questions NO ONE answers after such a short time. Xavier kept calling Doran a kid and he WAS. He is immature and seems totally incapable of dealing with life without the carefully structured life build for him. Again, this is NOT the right time to meet someone, specifically when right from the start we see he tries to put Xavier in charge of his actions. While it could be convenient as hell, it's also WRONG on so many levels which means it would have been the time for Xavier to step away. He didn't..
At the beginning I enjoyed the writing, the pace of the story, but as it progressed, I realized I don't even LIKE the two MC. I don't believe them, they are not genuine and their D/s interaction just didn't appeal to me. I really wanted to give this one a better chance which is why I kept reading and hoping to get a better sense of the characters, though we got a little bit of a background it wasn't enough for me to establish WHY they are acting the way they do. Why finding each other is the right "fix" for them when it totally feels as though they are WRONG for each other now because Xavier is exactly the kind of guy who can make everything even worse on Doran (addiction vise) if he EVER let Doran down. I didn't see ANY backbone to Doran. He was a leaf looking for a place to park his lonesome body.
I'm sorry, I know this review sounds horrible. I think it's probably one of the worst I've ever written. I know it has A LOT to do with the BDSM vibe, but it also has to do with credibility which I felt was missing, at least for me. You might feel totally different, or if you ARE into D/s relationship you might really appreciate the interaction between the characters, you might even get it in a way I could never grasp.
One thing I gotta say, this series is SO eclectic! Each book is TOTALLY it's own thing even if the town they live in is the same one and even if some of the characters know each other or work together. Honestly it's hard to know what to expect from each one which is actually a NICE thing. I've read the synopsis of the next book in the series by G.B. Gordon and I gotta say I'm REALLY intrigued, I hope it would leave a totally different impression.
Wolf’s Landing’s success spawns everything from merchandise to movie talks, and Bluewater Bay explodes into a mecca for fans and tourists alike. The locals still aren’t quite sure what to make of all this—the town is rejuvenated, but at what cost? And the Hollywood-based production crew is out of their element in this small, mossy seaside locale. Needless to say, sparks fly.
This collaborative story world is brought by collective authors, each contemporary novel stands alone, but all are built around the town and the people of Bluewater Bay and the Wolf’s Landing media empire.
1. Starstruck By L.A. Witt [Levi Pritchard & Carter Samuels] (Published 3 November 2014) ★★★★
2. There's Something About Ari By L.B. Gregg [Buck Ellis & Ari Valentine] (Published 8 November 2014) ★★★★★
3. Hell on Wheels By Z.A. Maxfield [Nash Holly & Spencer Kepler-Constantine] (Published 29 November 2014) ★★★★★
4. Lone Wolf By Aleksandr Voinov & L.A. Witt [Hunter Easton & Kevin Hussain] (Published 20 December 2014) ★★ (DNF 25%)
5. The Burnt Toast B&B By Heidi Belleau & Rachel Haimowitz [Ginsberg Sloan & Derrick Richards] (Published 11 January 2015) ★★★½
6. Lights, Camera, Cupid (Bluewater Bay #6) Valentine's Anthology (Published 7 February 2015) ★★★★
[ Just Another Day [Levi Pritchard & Carter Samuels] by L.A. Witt ★★★ ]
[ Nascha By Amy Lane ★★★★★ ]
[ No Easy Way [Cary Teijan & Dylan James] By S.E. Jakes ★★★★½ ]
[ Helping Hand [Lucas Wilder & Gabriel Savage] by Anne Tenino ★★★★★ ]
[ I'll Be There [Nash Holly & Spencer Kepler] By Z.A. Maxfield ★★ ]
8. The Deep of the Sound By Amy Lane [Cal McCorkle & Avery Kennedy] (Published 13 June 2015) ★★★★★
9. When to Hold Them By G.B. Gordon [Doran Callaghan & Xavier Wagner] (Published 15 August 2015) ★★ (DNF 49%)
10. Rain Shadow By L.A. Witt [Jeremy Rose & Scott Fletcher] (Published 17 October 2015) ★★★
11. Stuck Landing By Lauren Gallagher [Anna Maxwell & Natalya Izmaylova] (Published 12 December 2015) ★★ (DNF 38%)
12. How the Cookie Crumbles By Jaime Samms [Frederic Jackson & Blaire Caruthers] (Published 13 February 2016) ★★★¾
14. All the Wrong Places By Ann Gallagher [Brennan Cross & Zafir Hamady] (Published 12 June 2016) ★★★½
15. Bluewater Blues By G. B. Gordon [Jack Daley & Mark Keao] (Published 15 October 2016) ★★★★★
16. No Small Parts By Ally Blue [Nat Horn & Rafael Cortez] (Published 19 December 2016) ★★
Though I enjoyed many books in this series, I'm not going to continue past the 17th. Firstly, this series, with so many different authors and different themes and at times sub-genres made the whole experience "bumpy". I had too many books I didn't connect with and I feel like it's going to stay this way with the authors who weren't my favorite. Secondly I feel a bit unsure about supporting this publisher considering its recent revealed "shade".