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    Book 65, Suncoast Society series, by Tymber Dalton

    From the moment Rusty met Eliza in high school, he knew he loved her. But are things ever really that simple? While Rusty may be happy, responsible, and loving on the outside, he carries darkness deep in his soul, darkness he's never revealed to anyone. As Rusty and Eliza become friends, Rusty's utterly devoted to her. Despite that, Eliza's certain she'll never marry. And Rusty has responsibilities that would crumble a man twice his age. As their lives move forward with LARPing, SCA, ren fair, and martial arts activities, the two develop trust, rely on each other, form a gothic-type relationship. Eliza's the lady fair, Rusty the knight in shining armor. Rusty's Eliza's barbarian. Eliza's Rusty's rock, the force that secures him. But Eliza knows the darkness in Rusty's soul is ever present. She can't push him. If he's ever going to open up, it'll be on his terms, in his time. Eliza could never have been prepared when that time comes. Anger, loathing, and hatred erupt in Eliza when Rusty's secret's revealed. And it's up to her to protect her barbarian, her knight. But at what cost? What happens when Rusty realizes he's opened his soul to Eliza? How can they deal with the consequences of his confession, the aftermath? It's not easy. But as the future passes and the threat seemingly disappears, Rusty locks the trauma behind steel doors in his mind. Is it gone? Absolutely not! But he and Eliza have an unbreakable foundation. Their lives move on. Then, after nearly 30 years, Rusty's past returns, wreaking havoc, ripping his soul to shreds. It's up to Eliza to pull her barbarian back from the brink. Can she? Does Rusty even want her to? The doors behind which he'd locked that agony are shattered. Old trauma returns with a vengeance, ready to destroy everything. Does Eliza have the strength to give her knight what he needs? Or will all they've built, their love, trust, and devotion, be totally annihilated? This book hit me on such a deeply personal level that there were times I had to literally stop and take a break. I've never had to do that with one of Ms. Dalton's books before. This is a look at the BDSM world through the lens of a Domme and her sub. It's utterly fascinating. Rusty and Eliza's love, their BDSM dynamic, and how it formed over the span of their lives to the present is a wrenching, heartbreaking, and life-affirming story well worth reading. These two fit together like two interlocking pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Their love is undeniable. The trauma is so very real. As I already stated, this hit me a little too close for comfort at times. Rusty's past absolutely shattered me. But the affirmations of hope, belief, love, and absolute trust that Rusty and Eliza share filled me with joy and the deepest hope that love can conquer even the most gut-wrenching situations. Rusty and Eliza's story reflects truth in so many ways. Ms. Dalton always shows her understanding of not just the BDSM world but of people, how life events shape and mold our life choices, and the power that genuine love has to heal. She also demonstrates an innate understanding of life, that it can deal out all sorts of cruelty and horror. But, as always, she's also shown that love truly gives us the ability to rise above any trauma and transcend the pain. Congratulations, Ms. Dalton, on yet another absolutely stunning story. One final note. Please be an informed reader! This is an ADULT book. It contains explicit language and BDSM sexual scenes. If you already know you won't enjoy this genre, this book may not be for you. There are book synopses and reviews available on Goodreads and all booksellers' websites. Use these resources. DON'T LEAVE A NEGATIVE REVIEW WHEN YOU KNOW YOU WON'T ENJOY THE BOOK. It's not fair to the author! She works hard to provide a quality work product. If you know you'll object to the book's subject matter before you buy it, you're doing yourself and the author an extreme disservice. Thanks for reading my review and happy reading!
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