By Luna David
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Gideon McCade–weighed down by memories of his previous life as a Navy SEAL and a CIA agent–has blood on his hands. He turns to his BDSM club, Catharsis, and Dominating submissives to get him through the daily grind of civilian life. Knowing his past is too much to inflict on a life partner, he keeps his connections brief and superficial. When his former life comes back to haunt him, his desire for revenge pulls him back into the shadows, darkening his hopes for a future in the light.
Temporarily sidelining his career as a tattoo artist, Sebastian Phillips works as a composite artist for the local police department. To alleviate the inescapable burden of a congenital medical condition, he immerses himself in his art and seeks the catharsis of submission. But with life weighing heavily on his shoulders and darkness encroaching, he yearns for a contract with a Dominant that sees past the protective barriers he’s erected to the vulnerable submissive within.
When happenstance brings Gideon and Sebastian together, their connection is undeniable. The knowledge that they are both too damaged to form permanent bonds of love causes them to rely on an impersonal contract to fulfil their physical needs. But staying emotionally detached becomes impossible, and breaking their contract seems the only option. Will Gideon’s need for vengeance and Sebastian’s declining health destroy what’s grown between them, or will they help each other find their way back into the light?
Saving Sebastian is an extremely well-written book – style and detail, plot strength and development, intimate characterization, vibrancy of storytelling, you name it. The cusps and chasms of vulnerability, and the raw, clawing edges of emotion, were almost too much to grasp and bear at some points – rarely am I brought to tears, but Sebastian’s wounds and scars could force ice to thaw. Gideon was a powerfully intoxicating figure, a protector, in so many ways. To explain and convey the romantic and authentic devotion, commitment, and love these two held for one another is nearly impossible to do… it just was.
When I started reading this book, the first I’ve read by author Luna David – I hadn’t experienced Zavier’s and Braden’s story – I wasn’t immediately awestruck, even though I could tell that the author was an exceptionally gifted and talented writer. I scouted the early reviews a couple to three times, and after consistently finding “brilliant!”, “outdone herself!”, etc., I forged on. The pace wasn’t fast, things weren’t “changing, happening, and jumping,” and the scenes evolved steadily, logically, and languidly, almost at life’s pace – the two grew and evolved naturally, questioned themselves, faced demons, lived life, expressed regret, felt, heard, thought, and breathed. And then it happened for me – it all made sense, the build-up and story-building all fell into place, and I was entrenched hook, line, and sinker until the final page.
I was blindsided by Luna David’s brilliance with words and her magical storytelling ability in the best way possible: mesmerized without warning. Saving Sebastian also left me with a greater understanding of and appreciation for the D/s lifestyle – and I’m thankful on so many levels for that.
There are so many scenes and episodes I continue thinking about – for me, that’s a sure sign clincher of a masterful work, one that remains with you, in your heart, your head, your thoughts, and your dreams. There’s no doubt about it – Saving Sebastian certainly delivers on all counts.
Oh, and that cover? Breathtaking.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader’s Copy of Saving Sebastian.
Review originally posted on Amazon and Goodreads on August 6, 2017.