Title: Giving an Inch
Author: Heidi Belleau and Amelia C. Gormley
Length: 11,400 words
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: m/m/m BDSM contemporary romance
History grad James Sheridan thinks his biggest problem in life is trying to find a suitable outfit for his upcoming Ph.D. candidacy exam. That is, until he accidentally texts a changing-room selfie meant for his fashionable sister to his ex, the domineering Professor Carson.
James and Carson haven’t seen each since James fled their power games two years ago. Back in his undergrad days, Carson was his Professor, and not just in the academic sense: a man of unusual tastes and extreme sexual demands, James had been happy to sate Carson’s savage appetites. Too happy, in fact. He never could trust himself not to let Carson push too far.
Now James is older and wiser, and sharing some seriously flirtatious vibes with a cute menswear rep. When Carson replies to James’s errant text, ready to pick up where they left off, James can’t help being drawn back into Carson’s control. It’s only when Carson suggests involving the salesman that James has to ask himself how far is too far, and whether he’s willing to go there with Carson again.
I think the blurb for this short story may end up being longer than this review so I won’t bother rehashing what the story is about.
There are a few interesting ideas in this short. Firstly there’s the relationship between Carson and James. They’ve been apart for two years, but as the story develops we gradually discover the nuances of that past relationship, how it started and what ended it. The mistaken text and following text conversations stirs up feelings in James and I liked the mix of remembered desire, love, fear and attraction shown in James as the story develops. I also enjoyed the comparisons that James makes between how he was with Carson and the older, perhaps wiser man he is now. We discover quite a lot about Carson, just through text message and James’ thoughts and recollections. It was all rather cleverly done so that by the end of the story I felt that I had a firm grounding in the basics of the relationship without ever having met Carson.
Secondly, because the story is from James’ point of view we discover quite a lot about what makes him tick. His disordered life and internal sarcastic voice was amusing and He comes across as nervy and unsure of himself which I personally found rather appealing.
Finally, the story is a hot encounter between James and Satish, the shop assistant in the store. I really enjoyed the slow build to this, with casual touches, admiring looks and conversation which was laced with promise. In fact in many ways I enjoyed the build up more than I did the sex itself. I’ve put this as an m/m/m story because Carson is very much involved in orchestrating the encounter and without his prompting, James would not have encouraged Satish.
The story ends on a bit of a crossroads. James has reconnected with Carson and there’s a probability that things will be taken further. James and Satish also have a possible future and it will be interesting to see where these authors take the story. Until then I can recommend this story to those who like a touch of BDSM to their contemporary romance.