[Before Joaquin knows what’s happening, he’s squirming on a chair as Ezra watches him jerk off, those clear, intent eyes pinning him in place. This starts a friends-with-benefits relationship with the aim of exploring a submissive and Dominant dynamic in bed, dipping a toe in the BDSM world together.]
Joaquin would never forget the boy who came out in the middle of the school cafeteria when they were both fifteen. Ezra. His unapologetic bravery was something that would haunt Joaquin who, despite being the captain of his high school football team, was too reserved to come out before college, let alone approach the boy he admired from afar.
Joaquin is in his third year at Fox Lake University when he sees Ezra again. Joaquin expects the distance between them to remain unbreeched, but Ezra, as brash and impetuous as he was in high school, crashes into his life. At first, it’s just a shared class project, but it doesn’t take long for things between them to heat up. Before Joaquin knows what’s happening, he’s squirming on a chair as Ezra watches him jerk off, those clear, intent eyes pinning him in place. This starts a friends-with-benefits relationship with the aim of exploring a submissive and Dominant dynamic in bed, dipping a toe in the BDSM world together.
However, nothing is ever so simple. As their sexual relationship amps up, so does their friendship deepen, fed by those gentle moments after sex, underbelly-soft and vulnerable. As Joaquin gets to know Ezra better he realizes that his assumptions about who Ezra is, and even the assumptions he has made about himself, have to be challenged in order to break the cycles that may lead to their relationship breaking apart.
[This story contains banter, a fuckbuddies-to-more romance, and light, exploratory BDSM themes revolving around Dom/sub dynamics. Featuring kinks such as orgasm delay, praise kink, and mild bondage. This story can be read as a standalone with its own HEA.]
My Rating - 5 Stars!
It isn't everyday that you read a book that just shakes you to the core. But, in reading Sicken of the Calm, this is exactly what happened.
This is Marina Vivancos's debut book as an M/M author. And what an excellent debut it is!
Entering his junior year of college, Joaquin sees Ezra, a boy he had a crush on back in high school. Despite being a star athlete at the time, Joaquin found himself in awe of Ezra. Ezra came out to the whole school in the middle of the cafeteria, while Joaquin stayed hidden firmly in the closet. Having never interacted in high school, they are now teamed up together on a class project.
Joaquin continues to be in awe of Ezra, and everyone else, as they seem to be figuring out their lives. He finds himself feeling lost instead. In fact, he sums it up nicely when he calls himself a settler. In Ezra, Joaquin sees defiance and courage, two things he, himself, has never had.
A beautiful message in this story is that everyone makes assumptions, given the information they currently have. If not, you would have to wait, like a journalist, to collect more information before making any assumptions. As obvious as this is, most people still react early on and make incorrect assumptions. As for Joaquin and Ezra, both have made assumptions about the other, that prove to be incorrect.
This story contains a D/S relationship. In the way that it is done, it is beautiful. Ezra is able to take Joaquin's thoughts out of the equation. Ezra tells him what to do and he can just follow Ezra's rules without thinking about the whys or the what-ifs. To Joaquin, the commands are easy to follow and sweet. He enjoys being under Ezra's control and feeling like someone is taking care of him.
At the beginning of their relationship, Joaquin and Ezra agree on a friends with Benefits arrangement. As time goes on, they realize they are actually acting as if they are in a real relationship.
I love their relationship. I love how it naturally grows over time. I love that each man finds something so special in the other. Their relationship ends up being super romantic and charming.
One of the most special moments is when they are exchanging Christmas presents. My heart just melts with how perfect they are for each other.
The only part of the story that I didn't love is when the hook up with the girl. I am fine with M/F/M, but in this story, it just seemed forced and out of place.
As Sicken of the Calm is Book 1 in the Fox Lake series, I cannot wait to read the next book. I absolutely feel touched by this book and am thrilled that I found it. I look forward to seeing what Marina Vivancos will come up with in the future!