Out Of The Fire by Ariel Tachna
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: Full Length (273 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/M/M, M/M, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Fern
Evan Nichols likes his nice, quiet life in Boston. An established and respected Dom in the BDSM scene, he isn't looking for a sub, a slave, or a 24/7 relationship. Then a phone call from his best friend and fellow Dom, Rhys Calhoun, shakes up his comfortable routine. Rhys needs Evan’s help to rehabilitate an abused sub—a sub Rhys has fallen in love with. Evan has misgivings, but he could never say no to Rhys, any more than Rhys would ever refuse to help him.
Before he knows it, Evan finds himself at Rhys's home in Las Vegas with a sub who can barely stand to be in the same room with him and a Dom whose emotional involvement threatens his control. Add in the sexual attraction that's always simmered between Evan and Rhys, and it's a situation that has the potential to go very, very wrong. Determined to heal both Takoda and Rhys, Evan doesn't realize how many assumptions about his own life will be called into question as he tries to help them find their way forward together.
Out Of The Fire is a story that addresses the darker side of BDSM, delving into what happens when the sex isn’t safe, sane, or consensual.
When Evan Nichols is asked to help with an abused sub, he reluctantly agrees. Although he doesn’t know how he can possibly help, the person doing the asking is his childhood best friend Rhys, and the damaged sub is the man Rhys would have as both a lover and a partner. Upon Evan’s arrival in Nevada we meet Rhys, a fellow Dom who has a shaky grasp on his emotions. He explains Takoda’s situation, as well as the circumstances that left him broken and bloody in the basement of a sadistic Dom. As the tentative plan is hatched to aid in Takoda’s recovery, Evan and Rhys will have to gain Takoda’s trust and show him the true joys and pleasures of BDSM. Which isn’t easy since trust is essential and Takoda isn’t quite ready to place his into anyone’s hands.
I love a story with strong emotional impact and wounded characters, and there is plenty of that offered in Out of the Fire. From the moment you meet Takoda, you know it’s going to be an uphill climb. He’s been tortured, humiliated, and finds it next to impossible to remain in the presence of anyone but Rhys. As Rhys can’t shake the image of Takoda in the dungeon after the police saved him, he too needs Evan’s help to get centered and trust in his abilities to care for and nurture the sub he’s fallen in love with. It’s a tricky progression, and requires some intense sessions in the playroom, followed by stark and upfront conversation directly after.
I feel it only fair to mention that Out Of The Fire, while erotic, isn’t truly a romance. While it can be debated that Rhys and Takoda offer the romantic foundation, the story is told through Evan’s POV, therefore it didn’t resonate as such. Rhys, Takoda, and a sub Evan becomes involved with at probably three-quarters of the way into the story, provide a minute amount of it, but if you’re looking for a tale with a strong romantic presence, you might be disappointed. What you will find is the journey of a couple on the long and difficult road to recovery and trust, and Evan’s realization that perhaps it’s time for him to find a permanent sub and partner of his own.
Out Of The Fire isn’t an easy BDSM read, but it’s one I’m sure fans will enjoy. If you like darker tales on the D/s spectrum, I’d recommend you give this one a try. The material is well written and the characters are carefully developed. You get to know Evan, Rhys, and Takoda, as well as take deep glimpses into their pasts. There were several instances when the plot lulled and lost my interest, but I continued on and settled back into the story comfortably. The themes are rather dark and can become discouraging, but make the outcome all the more worthwhile. This is the kind of story that takes a lot out of you, even as it provides hope for all the characters by the end of the final page.