Laurence Dalziel is worn down and washed up, and for him, the BDSM scene is all played out. Six years on from his last relationship, he’s pushing forty and tired of going through the motions of submission.
Then he meets Toby Finch. Nineteen years old. Fearless, fierce, and vulnerable. Everything Laurie can’t remember being.
Toby doesn’t know who he wants to be or what he wants to do. But he knows, with all the certainty of youth, that he wants Laurie. He wants him on his knees. He wants to make him hurt, he wants to make him beg, he wants to make him fall in love.
The problem is, while Laurie will surrender his body, he won’t surrender his heart. Because Toby is too young, too intense, too easy to hurt. And what they have—no matter how right it feels—can’t last. It can’t mean anything.
It can’t be real.
This is a book that I passed up several times before requesting it for review. The person who recommended it to me had the same reservations before they picked it up that I did. I’m always a little hesitant when it comes to books labeled BDSM, but it was the age issue that really stalled me on For Real. Once I started reading it though, it didn’t take me long to realize that it wasn’t as much of an issue as I originally thought.
There was something that drew Laurie to Toby. It was instant and it was scary and the fact that Laurie had the same trepidation that readers did about the age gap made me respect him as a character. He was guarding his heart and trying his best not to feel. Yeah, he was one of those broken characters that I can’t help but love.
Toby knew what he wanted, but didn’t know how to get it. He was searching for the right person to help him feel mentally good about what he desperately wanted to feel emotionally and physically. Laurie would be the perfect mentor, if he wasn’t such a jerk in the beginning.
For Real was an emotional roller coaster. It definitely wouldn’t have worked if readers were only given one of the characters POV. Getting in Toby’s head let you know how much he cared for Laurie and how he wished Laurie would return those feelings. Laurie’s POV let readers know how much he was fighting those feelings that Toby wished for. They both spent a lot of time preparing themselves for the inevitable. The moment when one of them would realize that this was just a fling and would walk away. The simple truth of this book is that love is love and you never know where it’s going to come from.
Toby’s past as well as Laurie’s friends played an important role in For Real. I loved the interactions between the characters and the way Laurie’s friends simply stated the obvious. I haven’t read any other books in Alexis Hall’s Spires Universe, but I have my eye on a couple of the previous books and I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for any that may be coming in the future.