The Ever After series concludes in Aftermath. Tragedy, redemption, love… Ever After
Once upon a time, Casey flirted with a pretty boy at a bar, and that changed everything. Recently released from jail, he’s starting to rebuild without the family who raised him to hate himself. He’s got a new job, a room at his aunt’s, and community service hours at an LGBTQIA community center. But his biggest challenge is figuring out how to live as the one thing his father and brother drilled into him he could never be: a gay man.
Once upon a time, Brooks was a confident Dom with a particular taste for bigger men. But since his run-in with a dangerous homophobe, he’s lost his touch. Big, buff guys are hot but scary, and hurting people isn’t as much fun as it used to be.
Until he meets Casey, the big guy with the problematic past. Casey’s willing to do anything, but does his submission stem from healthy kink or from an unhealthy need to be punished? And is Brooks doling out release or revenge? Two people who share a past as violent as theirs could never fall in love. Unless, somewhere in the aftermath, there’s forgiveness.
Content warning: internalized homophobia, homophobic language, and references to homophobic hate crimes that have occurred in the past
“Casey.” Brooks waited until Casey glanced up at him. “I’m not shaming you, okay? I’m just saying there’s safer ways of getting that feeling. Assuming you liked the feeling.” He wouldn’t ask if Casey had liked it. It wasn’t his business, and besides, he could guess.
Casey still didn’t say anything, so Brooks stood up. “All right, good talk. If you ever have any questions….”
“You’ve done it?” Casey’s words stopped him just as he was about to escape from the room. Apparently they were going to talk, after all. He shut the door and leaned back against it.
“I don’t choke people. There’s really no way to do that safely. Safer, but never safe. It’s not a risk I’m willing to take.”
“But other stuff?” Casey asked his boots. They were work boots, well-worn and hideous. Huge. Which of course didn’t mean anything.
“I’ve been in the scene since I turned eighteen, so yeah, I’ve done stuff. I could point you to some resources, give you a few links.”
Casey shuffled those large boots of his across the floor. “Which one are you?” he asked with a quick upward glance, curiosity brimming in his eyes. “Are you the one who hits people or the one who gets hit?”
“Oh.” And there went the eyes back to the floor again.
“Fine. I’m a Dom. Does it matter? I’m going to point you to the same resources either way.”
Casey opened his mouth, and Brooks suddenly knew what was about to come out of it.
“No,” he said, before Casey could ask. “Definitely not.”
For a moment, Brooks was tempted. God, imagine laying into this slab of a man, putting his marks all over him. Or just getting him to kneel. It didn’t even have to be physical. The emotional high of having his enemy kneeling at his feet would carry Brooks for a month.
But, God. No. Enemy. That wasn’t at all what BDSM was about. He couldn’t go into a scene literally wanting to hurt the person subbing for him.
“You said it wasn’t safe,” Casey said, “what I did. So show me safe.”
Book 3 of a trilogy. Yes, you absolutely need to read the first two books.
A super quick recap: Book 1, brother of man accused of murdering his boyfriend and the brother’s lawyer fall in love. Even though the lawyer is a hard core sub and masochist and the other might be but fights it.
Book 2: Newly acquitted Dom/sadist and lawyer’s assistant lawyer- who isn’t a sub or masochist fall in love.
And book 3. This one centers on one of the guys, Casey, who actually was responsible for the murder (and more). Although really it was his brother. Whatever. This kid needs a smack in the head.
He wants to make amends, so when he sees one of his victims, Brooks, in a bar, he follows him home. BRILLIANT. Also, he only ever tries to make amends with this one guy.
Brooks was a dom until the gay bashing and now he is afraid. Totally understandable. So you know the best way to get over it? Get in a relationship with a baby gay/ baby sub who helped beat you up. *eye roll*
I’m sorry, I am all about redemption and I could have really rooted for Casey’s redemption. If it wasn’t with their first victim. It just made no sense to me.
The book was definitely the BDSM’est of the three books, but it was for all the wrong reasons. Casey wants to be beaten as punishment and Brooks wants to do the beating as retribution. COME ON. No dom worth his weight in floggers would do that.
I did really enjoy the other story line involving the LGBT center and the kids- especially one kid- there. I liked seeing such a positive portrayal of an LGBT center and that it wasn’t just for runaways, but also for LGBT kids who were totally accepted but wanted to hang in a safe space.
I really wanted to like this book, but I just couldn’t.
3 Pieces of Eye Candy