Once a Brat by Kim Dare

Why I read it: I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  Experienced dominant Marcus has a stalker. On the plus side, the boy following him around his local leather club is gorgeous and a self-professed submissive. Unfortunately, he’s also inexperienced, bratty, and liable to drive Marcus insane within his incessant chatter and questions.Bret Daniels fell head over heels with Marcus the moment he first saw him. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to get Marcus’s attention and prove his worth as a submissive. He might not be a traditional sub, but he knows he has a lot to offer a dom who can handle his quirks.When Marcus gives in and agrees to do a scene with Bret, sparks fly. One scene quickly becomes another, and another. But will it be a case of once a brat, always a brat? Bret intends to prove to Marcus that—expectations and experiences aside—he deserves his master’s collar.

What worked for me (and what didn’t): The blurb gives fair warning there is insta-love from Bret to Marcus and insta-love is not my favourite thing.  I like to read romance for the courtship and the emotional connection.  In some books, there can be instant feelings but there is still time and interaction for the feelings to develop and to sell them to me as the reader.  The problem for me with this book was that the interaction was almost all sexual and, while the scenes were very hot and well written, there wasn’t much interaction outside of that.  Bret and Marcus didn’t have much by way of conversation.  I didn’t see them falling in love, at least not Marcus falling for Bret.  I was told it happened by didn’t see why.  There was certainly a sexual connection but that is a very different thing IMO.  I knew that Marcus generally avoided relationships but I didn’t know why.  And, when he decided to break that rule for Bret, other than the sub’s persistence, I also didn’t see why.
I did enjoy the story.  Like I said, the sex was hot. The characters (what I saw of them anyway) were engaging. I especially liked Bret’s internal monologue regarding his decisions (it was kind of a constant decision making process actually) to submit to Marcus, to be honest with his Dom but also to put Marcus’ wishes above his own – one example is when Marcus orders him to be silent and Bret really wants to make a smart-arse remark but because Marcus asked it of him, he decides consciously to obey.    Marcus didn’t put Bret at risk and I thought the their discussion about safewords and the importance of them was also very good.The way submission was portrayed in this story definitely bumped up the grade.

I enjoyed the author’s voice – I just really would have liked more conversation between these two.

Grade: B-

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