…we're keeping our name but expanding our offerings!
Welcome to The Cage, where you can share the ups and downs of a group of friends as they enjoy a rollicking adventure of sex and love in “the life.”
Being a Dom has always come naturally to Lazar Thornton, owner and operator of The Cage, a thriving adult toy store and meeting place for Lazar’s closest friends, Bran, Max, Otto, and the always flamboyant and fierce Miss Dré. But even the best of friends have different tastes in scenes—and in life.
Good-humored and laid back, but much in demand as both teacher and Dom, Lazar has always run from love. Until Ben Owen, relative newbie to the BDSM world, arrives wide-eyed and eager to learn, and Lazar wants to teach this sub everything he knows. But despite the openness needed for a Dom/sub relationship to thrive, neither discusses emotions. Feeling the sting of unrequited love, Ben isn’t as sure of his place in Lazar’s life as he wants to be. Lazar will need to read his sub’s heart as well as his mind if he truly wants to keep Ben in his life.
Rating this is hard. I’ve not had a lot of luck with books lately so let me tell you what I had problems with first.
This book is not what the blurb says. Yes, we meet Lazar and Ben. Yes, they’re a couple in a D/s relationship and yes, there are issues between them regarding communication of feelings. Feelings, nothing to do with the D/s aspect of their partnership, but actual feelings of like, lust, love. But it’s not just about them. There is more time spent with and on the supporting characters than with the MCs. So much more that it felt like a set up for future books involving these friends.
The first BDSM scene in the book left me feeling awkward and unnerved. I read a lot of BDSM, and I’ve never felt like this before. Lazar and Ben have a role play scene that in no way feels like it’s role playing. There is such a long build up to the scene that I actually forgot they were role playing. I was distracted by everything else going on in the story and scene at the time, that it felt off. There is a lot of humiliation, something I’m not completely adverse to in a story, but this made me feel bad. By the time I was able to reconcile and figure it out in my head, much of the scene was over and I just wanted to move on.
Lazar and Ben’s friends… the supporting cast. If I tell you that practically every stereotype can be found in this group of individuals, I’d not be far off the mark. There are times when characters said or did things that felt so unbelievably stereotypical that I almost put the book down and walked away.
Why did I keep going?
The one liners. The intimate conversations when Ben learns from each of Lazar’s friends, basically the meaning behind so many things. I highlighted so many things that caught my eye. Times when each character stopped being the stereotype and had a voice. A real voice. When Miss Dre, talks to Ben about being a six-foot-five drag-queed Dom, and how most men only see her as a black man they can role play with. How those men only see her as a potential stereotype to be with. It’s a real and truthful conversation between the two and it was fantastic.
Moments when a self proclaimed straight friend meets a woman and is completely smitten after she tells him that she’s transgender. And then their conversation is so open and honest, I felt really good after reading it. Or when someone says how they hate labels and people are just basically people and if we don’t or can’t accept differences, walk away. No harm, no foul. And the time Max tells Ben how people all have their own kinks and fantasies, and how “it’s a miracle when you can find someone you can share them with”.
I kept going because despite all the stuff that bothered me, there were times when this group of friends showed themselves as being each other’s family. These people are the family that Lazar had chosen, and Ben was getting to know them on a more intimate level. While doing this, he’s getting sage advice, as is Lazar, from friends and family who care about him. Family that sticks together. Family that loves each other. Family that while they’re all not blood, they are everything.
So yeah. I had a hard time through a lot of the book, but there was enough keeping me in the story to finish it. I’m really glad I did.