A Hearts On Fire Review TWO HEARTS
--"Freedom in His Arms" is a novel about a doctor, Bryan Newcastle, who is trying to free himself from his selfish boyfriend and business partner in Boston. He finally distanced himself and broke up with the cloying man. Bryan decides to treat himself with a vacation on a gay cruise, try to find himself and be a man with conviction instead of letting people walking all over him, namely his ex-boyfriend. He meets Phil, a Service Top and answer of Bryan's hidden desires to be spanked on this cruise. Phil does not do relationships. He's owns a newspaper in Des Moines and doesn't have time for more than a quick hookup here and there. But the two meet and inevitable romance ensues.
If I had to describe Brita Addams' "Freedom in His Arms" in a few words, cheese and crackers. Cheese due to the cheesy dialogue and weak cheese filled ending. Crackers because overall the tone was dry and slightly dull, even with a lot of sex scenes thrown in.
I'll break down why this book did not work for me:The main characters
- From the beginning, more was told rather than shown. I could get a sense of the characters which made it difficult to care about either man. The POV was switched between the two MC but it was mostly Bryan's POV. He was told to be weak willed, his vacation was supposed to be his "coming out" so to speak, but he continued to be weak during most of his decisions invloving Phil, his ex boyfriend...mostly everyone. He stated he wanted to be dominated at one point and then goes back on his decision.
Bryan wants to have a scene but he doesn't want Phil to act a certain way (which was how Bryan enjoyed him to be from the beginning). Bryan would play cold or storm off. At times, he's comparing himself to his mother, worried about hypothetical issues and crying over them. (Grr...MANTEARS!) I don't know if it was supposed to make a reader feel sympathetic towards him...I just found him pathetic. And one line made me cross:
"As much as he cared for Raquel, dealing with emotional women was well above his pay grade."
He blubbered and cried a sizable chunk of this book, so I couldn't believe he even went there. I went from barely tolerating him to just disliking him.
Phil, he was the more stable of the two but that is not saying much. He started off as seeming like a man who was decisive. He went after what he wants, liked to play and serve his partner in the bedroom. He was against being tied down, slept with someone after meeting Bryan to prove this (I guess, he was also pretty horny) so his declarations of a connection, falling in love so quickly etc. with no build up shown (just told) was eye roll worthy.
At 89%, Bryan finally did something medical. He's a doctor but he did more whining, tantrum throwing and wishy-washy decision making than act like an adult who was a medical practitioner. He name dropped Aleksandr Voinov a lot because it's his favorite author, name dropped two of his books and meets the author. I am unsure if it was supposed to give him cool points or make him interesting. Unfortunately, he was not because he started off weak and continued being weak and childish for the majority of the book.
These are not my kind of leading men.The descriptions
- I knew more about food - menus of cuisine on the cruise, great take out in Boston and Des Moines (Chinese reigned supreme), designer clothing names, cologne names, Bryan bought a Jaguar to show off...but I would have rather learn about the characters. The story failed on that end. At one point, Bryan even said he knew nothing about Phil and at the end I still know nothing about Phil. The story telling dragged at parts that did not need descriptions and over explaining and glossed over parts that could have shown off why this pairing was believable. The disappointing major plot twist
- No build up. It made no sense for it to happen if there was no follow through from the the first and only warning that something was going to happen if Bryan continued with his plan of action. And then weak Bryan covered up everything in the end after he complained throughout most of the book of trying to be an adult and stand up for himself. He disliked the person so much...why lie? It was disappointing all around.The ending
- It is a HEA but from how the characters were presented it went into schmoop forever land too quick, in my opinion. Between an indecisive, weak willed man and a man who did not want to be tied down (and even had a quick hook up in the beginning of the book to prove this), the couple got serious fairly quick. I guess I should have known since the two claimed feeling a connection that I didn't see (the reader is told but not shown) before we get to 10% of the book. And this book ended around 89%, the rest just dragged.
Do I recommend this book? No.
But I am sure there might be group of readers who might enjoy this. If you are not into heavy BDSM, kink and humiliation, this book might be a choice. It's light BDSM 101 between a Service Top and Sensory seeking bottom. I did not enjoy the scenes as much not only due to having no connection with either main character but the over explanation of each scene and reiteration of the rules they discussed already, put me off.
The scenes were tame - mild spanking (nothing over the knee), use of cock rings, spanking bench and sling.
I might try this author again in the future. The premise was okay. The story was longer than it needed to be yet still left more to be desired. Meh.