Reviewed by Helyce
David “Beach” Beauchamp has been a delightful and colorful character since the beginning of this series and I was excited to read his book in spite of the fact that I’d been a tad disappointed in the last couple of Baltimore books. Rich, handsome, intelligent and funny, Beach comes off as a carefree, no troubles playboy-but in reality it’s a bit of a facade. Behind the pretty boy, rich exterior is a man riddled in self doubt.
Raised by a domineering uncle after his mother moves to Europe and his father escapes justice by fleeing the country, Beach may have had every creature comfort, but he sorely lacked any kind of love and security once would receive from a parent. When he acted out, there was discipline in the form of a whipping with a switch that Beach himself cut, at the hands of his uncle. It wasn’t until he went off to boarding school and met Gavin Montgomery, who welcomed Beach into his life and his family, that he would experience family and love of a different sort.
Unfortunately, old habits die hard and Beach continues to make poor choices as an adult. The latest of which has him awaiting a trial for criminal trespass. Forced into sobriety, due to the ankle bracelet he dons, Beach is climbing the walls. He can’t drink and he can’t leave town and his curfew keeps him away from all his favorite haunts. One night when he just can’t stand it anymore, he goes into a local bar, orders a drink (which he does not drink) and starts eye-fucking a hot, very muscular guy with some intriguing tattoos. This leads to a very quick, hot, nameless encounter in the bar’s bathroom.
Unfortunately for Beach, karma is a real bitch and when he’s called in the next day for a random drug test with his new probation office, he comes face to face with the man who rocked his world-Officer Tai Fonoti.
I’m going to start this off by saying I really didn’t care for this book. Beach has been a favorite character of mine throughout this series. He’s the butt of jokes among the characters herein and his best friend Gavin is often bailing him out of one situation or another. But I always found him generous beyond words, and he truly cares for the friends in his life-but he is definitely the product of his upbringing in that he’d never had boundaries set, he never answered to anyone and while there may have been consequences for his actions, he was often able to get out of most everything by throwing money at someone to “fix it”.
Having stated all that, I can see why the author decided that the type of relationship that would suit Beach, was one of a D/s nature where Beach as the submissive could give over control to his partner. In this ultimate form of trust, Beach would find exactly what he needed to fill the hole in his heart-to have someone whose sole responsibility was to take care of his every single need-something that he’d not experienced in any real way in his life.
Things move pretty quickly once Tai assigns Beach to another PO and they resume their “relationship”. Tai is clear that this is all new for Beach and he seeks guidance from his friend Nic, his friend and mentor. Unfortunately, as is his style-Beach dives in deep, fast and hard and suffers for it. The learning curve for them is high and they both make some big mistakes.
We don’t really get to know Tai, but what we do see about him I liked. Though his father died when he was young, he was raised in a loving home by his mom who he is very close to. He has a daughter. Though he’d learned that she was not his biologically (he had a drunken sexual encounter with his friend Gina after she broke up with her boyfriend) he is as much a dad as he can be and considers and treats Sammie as his own. He has a strong work ethic and in the end, I felt that he truly cared for Beach.
I don’t pretend to understand the BDSM lifestyle and though I have read some books where it really worked within the contours of the story, it is not a genre I actively seeks out. In this story, I could see how/why it worked for Beach. But I waited a long time for his book and for me, personally, well, this was not the type of relationship I’d hoped to see Beach find. I felt that some of Beach’s personality traits-the ones I’d come to love-were a bit lost as he transitioned into a D/s relationship. I think a relationship should enhance all the good things about you-not change everything that made you, you. Though he was clearly happy in his choice and was finally experiencing unconditional love, with a strong sense of family at a personal level, I just couldn’t relate to it.