Fracturedby Mickie B. Ashling
Roque "Ro" Celdran dreams of a better life, far away from the hand-to-mouth existence of his migrant worker family. He moves to San Francisco to study Landscape Design but finds himself short of cash. Tony, Ro's identical twin, comes up with a plan to help Ro make ends meet. The BDSM club Tony frequents is looking for gay men to act as
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Roque "Ro" Celdran dreams of a better life, far away from the hand-to-mouth existence of his migrant worker family. He moves to San Francisco to study Landscape Design but finds himself short of cash. Tony, Ro's identical twin, comes up with a plan to help Ro make ends meet. The BDSM club Tony frequents is looking for gay men to act as submissives to the Dommes-in-training. Ro reluctantly takes the job and falls headfirst into a world he neither understands nor desires.
Lance Roberts is the new doctor at the dental practice started by Scott Gregory and Robin Kennedy. On the surface, he seems to have it all: the Mensa IQ, blond and blue-eyed good looks, and the determination to make it in his competitive field. Underneath lies a frustrated Dom in search of the perfect sub who can handle his obsessive behavior and debilitating need for control.
When Ro ends up in Lance's dental chair, the last thing either one expects is a physical and mental connection. Ro's attraction to "White Bread" never pans out, and Lance's weakness for Latinos always leads to a dead end. Could this time be different? What happens between the two alphas leads to a lot of soul-searching and some surprising conclusions.
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From start to finish Ms. Ashling has crafted a compelling read bringing together two men from vastly different backgrounds, each with his own pile of emotional baggage, to make for a rocky road to HEA. As characters from past books make appearances, and play a role in the HEA, I found myself enjoying seeing what's become of them and the sense of family this brings to the story as brotherly love is a main theme in this story. Throw in numerous steamy encounters with BDSM-lite intensity and readers are rewarded with a well-rounded story with an intensely emotional romance full of thought-provoking social issues. Roque has had a tight bond with his twin brother Tony since the day of their birth working side by side through the years putting up with (and protecting) him in his increasingly harmful twin-reversals. Tony's getting more and more out of control ever since becoming involved in BDSM and his latest act to gain his own Dominatrix resulted in major facial damage for Ro. It's just one more act that has Ro hating his ethnicity as he's always felt like a lower class citizen. His first love sold him out for being Mexican and the numerous stereotypes hurled at him have him trying to rise above that by working non-stop and going to college. Those feelings still rear their ugly head during inopportune moments and force him and his new love Lance to deal with them head on. Lance has always appeared to have it easy with his smarts and family wealth, but it's led to more pressures that culminate in occasionally crippling OCD and having to hide his sexuality from those in his social circle. Instead he had relationships mostly with those that worked for his family as he could be in control and free of judgements which fueled his need to be a Dom. Those relationships fizzled quickly as they left him unchallenged and the inequality led to boredom. Ro excites him though and is full of contradictions that have Lance giving up some of the power which puts them on more equal footing allowing for a satisfying HEA. Issues of ethnicity are dealt with realistically and sensitively making for some thought-provoking moments. Lance's OCD is handled in a believable and accepting way that made it apparent that these two are made for each other as Ro was caring and supportive during his panic attacks. Their relationship was full of give and take with many moments where they leaned on each other with no judgements between them. The romance between them was at times sweet, always sexy, but always in jeopardy because of Tony's machinations. He was my least favorite part of the book and I could never be as forgiving as Ro was over all his misdeeds. Barring that I found this an entertaining stand-alone read that nicely balanced all aspects of this imperfect pair's lives and recommend it to those wanting a well-written and seductive m/m read with a bit of telenovela added in to ramp up the suspense.