Author: Clare London
Length: 31 pdf pages, 6500 words.
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: m/m contemporary erotic romance
Before meeting Zeke Roswell, Miles Winter’s priorities were clear: business, then pleasure. Before Zeke, he wouldn’t have cleared his desk earlier than usual, waiting for his artist lover to share his preparations for his latest gallery exhibit—on bondage. And he certainly wouldn’t have let Zeke try out some of the pieces on him, right there in the middle of his office. If he’d had any choice, that is.
This sizzling hot short story is a sequel to London’s 2009 novel True Colors (paperback version currently discounted on Dreamspinner’s site), but you really don’t need to have read the original as everything you need to know about Zeke and Miles is recapped in the first third of Ambush.
I picked Ambush for review because I’d enjoyed reading True Colors and thought it would interesting to revisit Zeke and Miles. Admittedly, it’s a long time since I read the novel, but I could remember how it reminded me of a Harlequin romance with a twist: the millionaire, driven businessman clashing with the feisty, red-headed artist whose gallery he has bought. Sparks truly did fly when they were on page together, and it didn’t take long for the lust to boil over. The sex was white-hot and very explicit, so I had high hopes for this short – and the two that are to follow over the next couple of months.
Ambush certainly didn’t disappoint. The story is made up of one scene between the two men, taking place over no more than about twenty minutes in Miles’ office after everyone else has gone home. This close focus on the two men, and the limited setting and time scale all gave a real intensity to their erotic encounter. As always, Clare London’s writing flows smoothly and she gives just the right amount of background detail to set the scene, without detracting from the dynamic between the two men.
By now Miles and Zeke are an established couple, but it’s clear to see that they still have a lot to learn about each other – sexually as well as emotionally. Partly this is because they are so very different. Miles is composed and logical—an “establishment animal”—whereas Zeke is far more intuitive and spontaneous.
Miles watched for signs of distress or tension, trying to pitch his responses to Zeke’s more volatile moods.
It was never easy, being with Zeke.
This time Zeke springs a surprise on Miles by pulling out his bag of inspirational pictures and objects for an exhibition with a bondage theme. As the blurb makes clear, one of the pieces then gets used on Miles—but I don’t want to give any more spoilers so I’m not saying which! This isn’t really what I would describe as a BDSM story as it involves two novices playing with a fairly tame piece of play equipment, but that doesn’t make the power exchange any less exciting. There’s a real thrill for Miles in giving up control, especially as it’s shot through with fear and nervous excitement. The resulting scene will be especially hot for anyone who enjoys suit porn, as there’s a sharply dressed man in a state of partial undress getting very messy indeed!
The only thing that knocked this story’s grade down from a potential B+ was the rather slow first third. It’s hard to see how the author could have avoided this while still giving the back story, but the recapping of their history in their conversation wasn’t as exciting as the rest of the story, and made the pacing rather uneven. I’m hoping that the next two stories are able to leap into the action quicker, now that us readers have been reminded of what happened before. I love the hints London gives us of what might happen in the next story, and am intrigued by Miles’ newfound interest in bottoming for Zeke.
In short then, a must for anyone who’s read True Colors and wants to catch up on the boys. And for new readers? If you enjoy men in suits getting down and dirty, this should do the trick. Indeed, anyone who enjoys a scorching hot story with well fleshed-out characters and interesting power dynamics should give Ambush a try. Definitely recommended.