Marked by Grief by Caitlin Ricci
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Length: Short Story (130 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play, BDSM
Rating: 2.5 stars
Reviewed by Cactus
Kit is struggling after his brother's tragic death and the man he loves hasn't spoken to him since the funeral. When a broken Kit comes back into Jason's life, will love be enough to heal them both?
Six months after Kit lost his big brother to a drunk driver, he's alone and feeling like everyone has left him behind. He struggles to get out of bed, to feed himself, to talk to his parents. Worst of all the man that he loves, his brother's best friend, hasn't spoken to him since the funeral.
Jason always assumed he'd have time to tell Kit his feelings someday, after the younger man had more experience and maturity. Bear's death changed all of that. He isolated himself, thinking he was giving Kit space to heal. He couldn't have imagined how wrong he was.
When a broken Kit comes back into Jason's life, will love be enough to heal them both?
Sometimes getting what you need comes with a price. Kit is still reeling from his brother’s death six months ago. Losing not only his best friend but his brother’s best friend, Jason, as well has left Kit feeling alone and unwanted. When Kit finally forces himself to see Jason, Jason realizes how much pain Kit is in. Although the attraction is clear, Jason has a few rules and tests Kit must pass for them to finally be together. It’s not the relationship Kit ever thought they’d have but the rewards are worth the price.
Marked by Grief is a decent enough book. The plot relies heavily on the already established relationship between Kit and Jason to make sense of their lightning fast relationship. They basically get together in the span of hours and after sleeping together the first night, they’re in love and committed for all time. Unfortunately the reader doesn’t get to see any of their friendship or the foundation that this new relationship is undoubtedly based on. Instead all we see is Jason bossing Kit around all day and later on in bed, much to Kit’s initial confusion then acceptance. This isn’t necessarily bad but it keeps the relationship shallow without any of the depth of watching a couple get to know each other and fall in love.
Part of this is that the book introduces a BDSM element somewhat offhanded. Jason is supposedly very into bondage and BDSM, thus requiring Kit to be as well. The story goes from nothing to a lot pretty quickly and doesn’t give a lot of context or background. In some places, it’s almost a how-to manual with formal dialogue and instructions. That said, the sex scenes gradually build heat and action in a nice way and there is obvious chemistry between the men. Nothing wrong with the physical in this story.
Marked by Grief is a nice read but I didn’t think it was great. It has some emotion with Kit and his brother’s death but leaves a lot of issues unresolved. Jason and Kit make a well-matched couple but I would have liked to seen more. The story seems too rushed to really explore everything – a new relationship, lingering emotion over Bear’s death, the BDSM angle. It’s a decent story for something quick and easy but not necessarily a memorable one.