Tattoo artist Geoff Gilchrest is convinced his life is some sort of cosmic joke. Why else would a hemophiliac also be a masochist? He’s given himself more than one elbow bleed since puberty just doing what guys do when alone and bored, so forget about whips and chains. How many partners would contemplate playing with someone even a mild flogging could kill?
Gallery owner Robin Brady knows he can deliver what Geoff needs: to be taken to the edge of danger but never beyond. But Robin came to Saugatuck to get away from the leather scene and heal from a betrayal by his former sub, so he’s not sure he should get involved with Geoff. His ambivalence isn’t helped by the fact that Geoff’s unwillingness to communicate about his well-being hits Robin in some very raw places.
Geoff’s hemophilia isn’t the obstacle he thinks it is. Instead, a lack of trust—on both their parts—is what could end them before they have a chance to begin.
My mini pre-review on Goodreads went something like this… “Finally! An author who writes a series in the crazy mixed up way I usually read them!” If you look through my previous reviews, you probably won’t have to go back very far to see that I’m notorious for reading books out of order in a series. I don’t do it on purpose… most of the time. Sometimes a book catches my eye and I request it for review or pick it up without actually knowing that it’s a book that falls later in an existing series. I actually did this with the Saugatauk series. I read Saugatuck Summer before the prequel to the series, The Field of Someone Else’s Dreams. Even though Risk Aware isn’t listed as a part of this series, it definitely is, at least in my mind. Not only that, the timeline of this book falls before Saugatuck Summer because in that book both Geoff and Robin are already a couple. Now, of course I’m going to have to go back and re-read Saugatuck Summer… sneaky author. (But one I can totally relate to 😉 )
Risk Aware took the BDSM lifestyle to a totally unique level. Because of Geoff’s condition, he knew he could never have what he craved. Robin knew he could give him what he wanted, but not without Geoff’s trust that he wouldn’t go too far as well as Robin’s trust that Geoff would be totally honest with him about his condition. They were walking both a physical and emotional tight rope.
I’m not sure which one of this pair I felt for most. Geoff had his reasons for keeping things to himself. His mom kept him in a bubble – or tried to. He longed for normal. Robin had been burned by his former sub and couldn’t put himself in that position again, but he knew he could help Geoff. They had more than a few obstacles and almost lost it all… Throw in people jumping to the wrong conclusions – regardless of how well meaning they were – and things became even more complicated.
I have to admit that I almost passed this one up because BDSM books aren’t my normal go-to. I’m really glad that I took a chance Risk Aware though. The life-style is a major part of the book, but the way the characters learn to trust and work through the obstacles that they’re faced with made it so much more than that. It also made me realize that I need to search out more books by Amelia C. Gormley.