Book Reviews

Better by Jaime Samms at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / BDSM / Erotic Romance / Drama
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 12-April-2016

Book Blurb

After filing charges that put his abusive ex-Dom behind bars, Jesse Turbul relocates halfway across the country, hoping to escape his past—but, of course, it's never that easy. When Jesse meets third-year law student Aadon at the library where he works, their mutual attraction is instant and obvious.

Despite the sparks, they just can't seem to make it work. Aadon is mired in guilt over his inability to help his older brother, damaged by events far too similar to Jesse’s past. Jesse is stuck in his own desperate wish to forget the painful shadow that continues to threaten him and any hope of a happy future.

The only way to move forward is for Jesse to acknowledge he’s broken and for Aadon to accept he can’t make him better.

Book Review

The past can be a painful place to visit; people don't want to recall memories that can't be changed. They don't want to experience the agony of wrong choices and missteps; but the thing is, for better or worse, what happens in our past shapes our future. We either confront our experiences and learn from them, or we deny them and inevitably get stuck there, allowing them to eat away at us, unable to move forward. Jesse Turnbul and Aadon Dounias are both stuck in the past; they are in denial, burdened with guilt and paralyzed with fear. Until they can come to terms with these feelings, the ghosts of the past will continue to haunt them, preventing them from living a fulfilling life.

I admired Jesse because as hard as it was to do, after Jesse realizes that he'd have to face what happened in order to put it behind him, he takes immediate steps to rectify the situation. He accepts responsibility for his part in it and works to prevent Anthony from hurting anyone else. It may seem backward, but having lived through the ordeal with Anthony and working his way through the pain, humiliation, and fear actually makes him a stronger, more determined person.

Aadon has a good heart, but what gives him problems is that he wants to fix both his brother and Jesse and it frustrates him because he can't. He tries to be patient, but walking on egg shells for fear of setting his brother off into a tantrum, or moving too fast and scaring Jesse, takes its toll. It's difficult for him to sit back and watch them struggle, but he realizes that they are the only ones who can help themselves; yet he also knows that he will be there to love and support them when they ask.

There are so many admirable characters in this story, people who go above and beyond in offering amazing support for both men—Ricky's psychiatrist; Aadon's cousin and best friends; Jesse's best friend, Sarah; Jesse's mother, and a host of others. Even though the book is dark in places dealing with rape, sexual abuse, BDSM gone wrong, and the devastation they leave behind, Jaime's bold presentation of the story and the tough issues it tackles are well worth the angst. If you don't mind an intense relationship with an occasional bumpy ride, but also a happy ending, then I say give 'Better' a try. Thanks, Jaime, for an emotional, but enlightening read!





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook, print and audio
Length Novel, 240 pages/83682 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 27-January-2012
Price $6.99 ebook, $14.99 paperback, $14.99 bundle, $19.95 audiobook
Buy Link