Power Exchange by A.J. Rose

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Ah, A.J. Rose, you’ve gone and destroyed my heart. 

Power Exchange completely pulled me in. I didn’t even want to put it down to eat. When I read the synopsis, I thought it was going to be a quick, light read that would be sufficient enough to pass the time. What I did NOT expect, was to get so pulled into Gavin’s world that I found myself actively thinking about his character even when I was not reading the book.

“I’d thought I understood at the time, but knowing something intellectually and feeling it in my bones were worlds apart.”

– Gavin

All of a sudden, I found myself feeling invested in Gavin and spent a great deal of my time trying to pick him apart and understand how he ticked. And don’t even get me started on Ben. Ben knew exactly what Gavin needed, before he even knew it himself. 

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And God, did Ben love to tie Gavin up. Oh man, I could have read for days about it. Ben would do anything to see his Gavin immobile, but to Ben it wasn’t just about tying him up and making him look all pretty like a wrapped up present. It was about taking Gavin out of his mind. Gavin spent so much time trapped in his own head, thinking about his cases and worrying, not only about the victims but about his sexual orientation, about his relationship with Ben, about his family and how they would react to him bringing a man home on Sunday. But Ben knew Gavin needed to get out of his own head sometimes. He knew how much Gav needed to stop obsessing over the details and just relax before he exploded.

“I have you where I want you,” Ben said, approaching me. “I can do with you what I will. You trust me not to harm you. I take that trust to heart….I’ll take what I want. You’ll give me what I need. In return, I’ll take on your burdens, set you free.”

And THAT is what made Ben the perfect Dom for Gavin.

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“I don’t want you prepared. I want you to trust I’m prepared enough for both of us.”

– Ben

But it wasn’t just Ben who fit perfectly to Gavin, because Gavin was equally as perfect for him. Ben, this man who was so respected by everyone who knew him, not only in his professional career, but also in his life as a Dom, found himself unwilling to take on a lover of his own. Until Gavin came crashing in and made it impossible for him to turn away.

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Gavin, who had come to trust him wholeheartedly, not only as a colleague and trusted coworker on his murder investigation case, but also as a lover and as a Dom. Gavin was everything Ben never knew he needed.

Dating a man. I never thought I’d be strong enough to try, and it made me weak in the knees. That he was also a Dom gave it an element of danger I was drawn to, the gravitational pull of a black hole strong enough to yank planets out of alignment and into its stormy influence.

– Gavin

People themselves are imperfect.  Gavin was imperfect, but his willingness to love unconditionally, despite his fear, and despite his shortcomings, was exactly the kind of commitment and determination that Ben needed in a sub. And together, they thrived.

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For the first time, I wholly understood the words power exchange. In giving up my power to him, he was, in turn, giving me the power to realize my value, that what I had to offer of myself was worth giving to someone, and I had to trust that particular someone to cherish it.

– Gavin

This book is the perfect example of everything a book in the BDSM genre should be. Not only were the BDSM elements of the book written extremely well, but the book wasn’t entirely about BDSM. This was equal parts a thriller/mystery/detective novel as it was a book about BDSM. I found myself actually interested in the case and getting invested in trying to figure out who the murderer was (and I don’t even like mystery books).

The ending was not rushed in any sense of the word and I was incredibly heartbroken. 

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But I have to give kudos to the author for writing this realistically and not making the characters miraculously be “unaffected” by the trauma. They didn’t just jump back into D/s after their assault and attempted murder. I appreciate that.

The erotic elements of the book were hot hot hot. With every turn of the page I was amazed. Should you read it?

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If you think you might want to read it, save yourself the grief… and just read it. It’s by far the best book in the BDSM genre I’ve read thus far and a great introduction to such.

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