Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
Length: 120,000 words
Dr. Mikhail “Misha” Budnikov takes one look at fellow fencer Ryan O’Connor and instantly knows his type. The undisciplined hothead is all ego with no finesse and even less control. In short, Misha’s pet peeves personified. To put the arrogant kid in check, Misha challenges him to a sparring match, which he predictably wins.
Not so predictably, Ryan asks him to be a mentor and show him how to fence. Startled by the moment of humility, Misha agrees.
What begins as fencing lessons becomes something much hotter, and before they know it, Misha is giving Ryan an entirely different kind of education. Dominance, submission, pain, pleasure—at the hands of an older, experienced man, a whole new world is opening up for Ryan.
As the trust deepens and their bond strengthens, though, Ryan retreats because that sham called love left him jaded long ago. Cynical beyond his years, he’s not letting his guard down, least of all for a thrice-divorced man twice his age.
Now Misha has to find a way to crack through those defenses…or accept defeat and walk away from the submissive who might just be the love of his life.
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Ryan and Misha meet at a fencing tournament.
Misha being an older, experienced fencer sees how Ryan's sword work is aggressive and arrogant, so he decides he wants to bring him down a notch. Once beaten, he doesn't expect the words Ryan says to come out of his mouth. In fact, a lot of the words that come out of Ryan's mouth he doesn't expect.
Ryan broke my heart. He's so completely jaded and cynical about love and relationships. It's no wonder when you finally uncover all his guarded truths. The truths are some Whoppers too. I found myself breaking down with him. Normally I can't connect to characters such as his, but he really is a humble guy, and you can't NOT feel for him.
Mikhail, or Misha, was also a bit unexpected. Not only does he teach fencing now and again, but he's also a college professor, but a Dom (a good one at that). On top of that, he's a deep rooted romantic. Even though his many attempts failed, he still believes in love. It just adds into the fact of how opposite these two are, yet they couldn't be more perfect for each other.
Now, I mention the professor part, no he's not Ryan's professor. Yes, there's a large age gap, and while there's student/teacher aspects, it's not the taboo "they're going to get busted" kind of story. Those always make me so nervous!!
This story is wonderfully written. I never knew a story about fencing as a sport could be so intriguing, but it was. It wasn't ALL there was to it either. There was the Dom/Submissive relationship, Ryan's schooling and family, and OMG the best part? Misha bringing one of Ryan's fantasies to fruition. *fans face* You should read it for that alone! LOL!
Needless to say, I smiled, I cried, and I completely rooted for these guys. The ending was perfect, and I couldn't have asked for more.
L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut…
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