Mistletoe and Submission by Kim Dare
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Full Length (151 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex, BDSM
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Buttercup
“Stand under the mistletoe until midnight, naked, bound and blindfolded. Submit to any dominant who wants a piece of you.”
At the junior doms regular poker night, anything can, and frequently does, happen. Add in crackers that contain dares instead of jokes and two men’s lives might never be the same again.
When Carl applied to join the best leather club in the city, he had no doubt about his preference for dominance. It was only when he set eyes on Sloan that he began to wonder if submission might be far more fun than he originally thought.
With no time for club politics and little interest in rising through the ranks, ever since experienced dom Sloan moved to the city and joined the club, he’s been quite content to bide his time among the junior dominants and keep a brotherly eye on a young man who is obviously out of his depth amongst his more sadistic contemporaries.
One man has to do the dare. The only question now, is which man will it be, and are either of the friends ready for the way their relationship might change after a night of Mistletoe and Submission?
Are you strong enough to take what you want? Kim Dare's provocative book Mistletoe and Submission takes a look at the darker side of love, and the strength it takes to find and accept it. Going beyond leather and whips, and into the mindset of her characters, she shows what it takes to be a good dominant and submissive. Despite the somewhat darker nature of the book, Ms. Dare starts and ends with a laugh. I really liked that she did, because no matter what the setting is, at the core this book is about two men that are in love, and love should always have laughter in it.
Like recognizes like, and that is true of Cal and Sloan. They recognize each other on a very basic and intrinsic level right from the start. Their actions convey what their minds are not ready to admit, and that is very simply that Sloan is Cal's dom, and that Cal is Sloan's sub. Even when Cal is acting as a dom, he follows Sloan's lead and Sloan looks out for Cal, providing for his well being. Of course it's not all as simple as that since both men come with some serious baggage and hang-ups about who they are.
Ms. Dare does a great job of showing Cal's reluctance, his confusion about changing from a dom to a sub, not only that but also his worry over losing his friend and how Sloan will think of and treat him, if he admits that he is a sub. Even more than Cal's reluctance to admit that he is a sub, I like that Ms. Dare also shows that Sloan has some misgivings too. What Cal is going through is very obviously going to change his life forever, but for Sloan, at least on the surface, nothing is really going to change. I like that we get to delve a little deeper into Sloan's psyche and see that he's also a little bit afraid of the depth of his feelings for Cal.
I know that Mr. Harrison and Paul are secondary characters but I really enjoyed them. I think they are a good example for Sloan and Cal. Sloan is fond of saying that a dom is a dom and the extra labels don't mean anything, but they do when you compare the behavior of the junior doms to that of a senior dom like Mr. Harrison. You see a marked difference. I think at the beginning Mr. Harrison was disappointed in Sloan. He saw great potential in Sloan and thought he was wasting it by choosing to remain on the fringes of the club as a junior dom instead of rising thru the levels to become a more active and mature member. It wasn't until after the truth came out about Cal, that I think Mr. Harrison began to understand Sloan's actions were not that of a junior dom, but those of a dom protecting and looking after his sub.
Paul is great for Cal. As Mr. Harrison's sub, Paul is happy and confident in his position and abilities, it's good for Cal to see that. Cal's knowledge of the interactions between doms and subs has been largely limited to the actions of the junior doms and their treatment of subs. Since the junior doms are for the most part an immature lot who treat subs as little more than sex toys with no mind of their own it's no wonder Cal is trepidations about joining their ranks. Being able to see that Paul is well treated and happy, and that he understands what Cal is going thru is very good for Cal. I love what Cal says when Mr. Harrison asks him what he wants from Sloan: "I want to obey him because that's what I want to do, not because I don't have enough brains to think for myself, or enough balls to stand up for myself." I love that line and I think it's a shame that Sloan never gets to hear it.
I really love the scene where Sloan asks Cal to set his limits as a sub. There is so much emotion and depth of character, you can really feel everything and it's amazingly well written. Sloan shows such remarkable understanding when he realizes that Cal truly has no idea what his limits are as a sub. I think it's great that they figure them out together. What I don't really get is why Sloan didn't take that conversation as an opportunity to tell Cal his expectations of him, other than obedience. Cal is completely dependant on Sloan even for the most basic things, and there are a few times when Cal simply doesn't know even if he's allowed to ask if he can go to the bathroom, or if he has to wait for Sloan to give him permission.
The nature of the dom/sub relationship doesn't allow for questions, and because of that a lot of things didn't get said when they should have. Of course if they had we wouldn't have had such a good book to read. I love the fact that when Cal and Sloan finally do talk, really talk they are in a closet. So they have to literally and symbolically stop hiding and come out of the closet and admit what they want.
Mistletoe and Submission is a great read, that keeps you on your toes right up to the very end. Ms. Dare's characters are wonderfully complicated, you never quite know what they are going to do next.