Author: L.M. Somerton
Book: Serving Him
Series: The Retreat, Book #1
Page/Word Count: 151 pages, 57K words
Categories: Gay Romance, Erotic Romance
Release Date: July 24, 2018
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Cover Artist: Cherith Vaughan
An escape from the real world can only ever be temporary.
Rowan Stanton knows he is submissive. He loves to look after people but the country hotel he works at can’t quite fulfil his need to serve. When he succeeds at getting a new role as houseboy at The Retreat, an exclusive BDSM hideaway in the New Forest, he believes it’s his dream job. Inexperienced in many ways, he soon realises he’s not as prepared as he thought for the demands placed upon him.
Lorcan Wilder is young, rich and successful. He’s also haunted by nightmares and has sacrificed a decade to his business. Selling it gives him the freedom to explore his dominant side and four weeks at The Retreat are the start of a new life. He doesn’t expect the young submissive employed to serve him will have such a profound effect on him. Exploring and pushing Rowan’s boundaries is exactly what he needs to separate himself from his past.
Lorcan makes full use of The Retreat’s facilities from the genuine dungeon to the secret toys concealed in every room. He rediscovers his energy for life and gradually reengages with the world. However, his efforts to compartmentalise the past ultimately fail and he comes to realise what he’s always known – that true submissives have an inner strength he can only envy.
By the end of his stay, Lorcan can’t let Rowan go, though he thinks he must. What will convince him that’s he’s allowed a happy ever after and will he find the courage to accept it?
3.5✨s – When I read the blurb I was intrigued by the premise and the characters. I enjoyed reading about Rowan and Lorcan, though I wanted more. There was something missing from their relationship and it didn’t feel entirely real to me. When I read BDSM I need to feel the connection between the characters to believe the relationship. There are so many aspects of the lifestyle that is based on trust and I need to be able to see that.
While I could feel the connection between Rowan and Lorcan I felt like there wasn’t enough on the page to experience it.
There are some great scenes in this book. L.M. Somerton explored a more heavy side of the lifestyle and I had fun reading what the characters got up to in the dungeon and bedroom. Outside of that, I wish there was more on page time with the characters.
Rowan and Lorcan are great and have well-rounded backstories, but there wasn’t enough, in my opinion. Lorcan has a history and while I was surprised to learn about it I would have liked more depth. Based on the blurb I felt like there was more hype than was necessary, since the conversation in the book didn’t reveal much.
Rowan was a fun character and I loved his support system, even though we didn’t get to see much about them.
I think, if the author fleshes out the characters in the other books of if this series, if she spends more on page time building the emotional connections then it’ll be great. Because I liked the story, I like the characters and the writing, but there’s so much more potential.
I can see multiple stories coming from the secondary characters and I’ll consider reading more.
Overall this book is a pretty quick read with some sexy scenes and a lot of BDSM. The characters are nicely thought out, even if there wasn’t a lot on page they still had plenty of personality to go around. Despite wishing for a little more emotional connection, I thought it was a good book.
5✨s – What an unexpected delight this book was! I loved the location, setup and characters involved in this story. Rowan needs to look after people, it’s all he’s ever wanted to do and his new job at The Retreat, a BDSM hotel in the country, allows him to do that for whatever Dom pays for his time. Lorcan has just sold his business after losing ten years of his life to it and now wants to immerse himself in his dominant side which has been neglected for far too long. A four week stay at The Retreat is just what he needs, as is Rowan. The two men click straight away, they are very attracted to each other and they both easily fall into their roles of dominant and submissive. But it’s not just their roles that they are acting upon, is it possible that their hearts are involved too? Firstly, I want to say how well the setting and location of this book was written. I could actually picture myself in the environment that L.M. Somerton was describing, both in The Retreat and on the grounds of the estate – such beautiful English countryside. I instantly fell in love with Rowan, he is just so adorable and wants to care for everyone. But also with Lorcan, someone with hidden pain and hasn’t had the chance in the past few years to just be himself. The freedom that is offered at The Retreat is amazing for both of them, allowing both men to fully settle into their preferred roles and make the connection that soon becomes so strong. The story moves along at a good pace, there are occasions where a couple of days are skipped but it’s clear nothing is missed. The BDSM scenes between the two are very well written, it’s clear that it’s what both men want and that consent is an important aspect. I think that this is a fantastic start to a new series and I can’t wait for the next book to arrive. I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.
About L.M. Somerton:
LM lives in a small village in the English countryside, surrounded by rolling hills, cows and sheep. She started writing to fill time between jobs and is now firmly and unashamedly addicted.
She loves the English weather, especially the rain, and adores a thunderstorm. She loves good food, warm company and a crackling fire. She’s fascinated by the psychology of relationships, especially between men, and her stories contain some subtle (and some not so subtle) leanings towards BDSM.
LM is winner of the National Leather Association’s Pauline Reage Award for best novel and the 2016 Golden Flogger Award for best BDSM novel in the LGBT category. She has received multiple Honorable Mentions in the Rainbow Awards and won the Action and Adventure category of Divine Magazine’s Book Awards in 2015.
Where to find L.M. Somerton: