Title: Touch and Trust, A Velvet Glove Story
Author: Sean Michael
Length: 16,300 words (66 pdf pages)
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: m/m BDSM
Sampson is too tall to be anything but awkward outside, but in the Velvet Glove he shines, confident in his ability as a top. When he meets Alain, it breaks Sampson’s heart. Alain has been without a top, and any kind of touch, for too long. Can Sampson prove himself and win Alain’s heart.
Originally published on The Turn of the Screw, and in the print book Velvet Glove, Volume 2
Your enjoyment of this story is going to hinge largely on a specific writing device and less on the characters or plot. Sampson is very tall and awkward except when he’s wielding a whip. He has spent his last cent of savings on a one year membership at the Velvet Glove club which includes one meal per day, so even if he’s barely scraping by on his window washer salary, he’ll have one good meal per day. He’s nervous about his first visit, and whether he’ll fit in, however Kestral, the concierge of sorts, soon finds him and puts him together with Alain who will show him around.
Within minutes, Sampson has discovered that Alain’s Master died about a year ago and they are deeply attracted. Dinner is cut short to go up to Alain’s rooms. It seems Alain has had a rough year, he went a bit wild with drugs and drinking the year after his Master died, but has settled down now, but feels he is too old (early 30′s maybe) to find another Dom. However Sampson is thrilled to take on the role, although he wants a more equitable relationship rather than the Master/slave relationship Alain had with his Master.
So what’s the problem you ask, beyond a smacking of insta-love? The two of them are sweet together, Sampson realizing how desperate Alain has been for comfort and touch since his Master died and Alain not minding in the least that Sampson is huge and unsure of himself. The insecurity is where my problems lay. Sampson hesitates when he talks, a lot. There are ums and ahs interspersed liberally in his speech. When I say liberally, I mean VERY liberally. A couple of examples:
“Yes um, please a drink would ah, be nice.” He offered his arm to Alain. “Would it be ah, rude to ask who um, Harry is?”
“Wow. That must be um, really hard. That ah, he’s dead now –passed um, away I mean.” He petted Alain’s hand again. “If you don’t want to ah, talk about this you should um, just tell me.”
I did a word count and found 600 usages of um or ah in the story. At first I had thought that once Sampson become more at ease with Alain the speech pattern would settle down, but it doesn’t. 600 is a lot for a 66 page story. I started to find it increasingly distracting as large portions of the book are simply dialogue between the two men. This was originally published as a serial and perhaps if once a week or month you got 6-10 pages it wouldn’t be that bad. I appreciate that it shows a Dom who is less than suave and seeming “perfect”, but I just found it so distracting that it took away from how sweet they were as a couple.
So some readers may not mind the affectation at all and enjoy this much more than I did, but I was so frustrated about half-way through it was a chore to keep going, which is a shame as they were a cute couple.