Sex without pain is like food without taste. ― Marquis de Sade
The boys from SOCA, the Serious Organized Crime Agency, are back in Lori Toland’s Dangerous Submission (Dangerous Affairs, Book 2), but this time the story focuses not on Nathaniel Bradley and Tony Terranova, the lovers from The Long Con, but on Agent Drake Steele and his soon to be undercover partner, Agent Robbie Covington, a computer specialist and the youngest son of a duke, who are being sent to Prague on a top-secret mission of intrigue and espionage to infiltrate an art-smuggling ring, a job that will just so happen to lead the men deeply into an elite world of BDSM, a world with which Drake, as a Dom, is entirely familiar, but for Robbie is an alien world in which he will be getting all his training on the job, and will discover that being a good sub is far from easy.
These two men couldn’t come from more divergent backgrounds; being a son of the peerage, there’s no doubt Robbie will blend in well in the sophisticated society of art dealers and collectors. But that’s not Drake’s realm. Drake’s world has more to do with whips and handcuffs than tuxedos and cufflinks, and given the surroundings they’ll be thrown into, it will be Drake’s knowledge and talents that will ensure they locate their marks and infiltrate Brandon Mueller’s and Stefan Zuliani’s operation.
Dangerous Submission is more relationship book than spy thriller, which is something I think worthy of mentioning if you’re looking for a story that’s intense with the action of a covert mission and international intrigue. There are definitely dangerous liaisons within, but this story is more about the building of trust and an emotional bond between two men who should be nothing more to each other than co-workers who’ve been given a job to do, and are expected to fulfill it while maintaining a professional distance from the intimacy that can’t be helped, or avoided.
There are enemies and allies, and plenty of non-stop erotic moments that build to the moment-of-truth for Drake and Robbie, forcing them each to examine whether the feelings that’ve grown between them can exist outside of the mission, or if everything that transpired was merely an illusion wrapped within the roles they played.
While I’m the sort of reader who’d have liked to see the crime drama side of the plot a little more fully explored, the single attraction for me in their story, the one thing that made this book more than just a passable read, was the chemistry between Drake and Robbie and the development of the trust between them, a trust that didn’t necessarily happen as a slow and methodical building of a relationship but came upon them in a more intense way through the intimacy of dominance and submission and the surrendering of and the taking of control, and the back-and-forth power play between them.