Dreamspinner Press, J.P. Barnaby

“Painting Fire on the Air” Is A Story Of Grief And Love

“Grief is not as heavy as guilt, but it takes more away from you.” ― Veronica Roth

Ben….what to say about Ben. This man is just a hot freakin’ mess, but he isn’t beyond repair. From the time his younger sister Juliette comes home his parents impress on Ben that his job as a big brother is to watch out for his sister. That is exactly what he did for sixteen years, but one night he let his attention wane and it cost him and his parents everything. Juliette Martin was kidnapped, raped and murdered and Ben couldn’t do anything to prevent it. His eighteen year old mind was convinced that it was all his fault, and he has never been able to shake that belief years later.

Ben gave up all of his vices: no smoking, no drugs and no alcohol. So how was he supposed to cope with all of this pain in his heart? Ben was introduced to BDSM and after a while he realized that the physical pain could keep his emotional pain contained. He ends up with his Dom, Kage, and their relationship, as it was, worked for Ben. There was no love but he got everything he needed physically from Kage. Until one night a bike accident threatens to remove all of Ben’s safety nets.

Jude Archer is Ben’s best friend and roommate. They have lived together for years, but Ben has never told Jude about Juliette, Kage, or his need for domination. Jude describes himself as a boring accountant and he has simple needs. The thing he needs and wants the most is Ben. One time he had gotten to have Ben. One time and only one time. He didn’t dare try again, because he was afraid their friendship wouldn’t survive the awkwardness between them the next day, and months afterward, a second time.

Ben tells Jude about Juliette and a little about his sexual needs. Jude comforts him about Juliette but he has no clue what to do about the BDSM part. Jude realizes he has been in love with Ben for a long time and he would do just about anything to keep the man close even if he can’t have his heart.

Following a serious motorcycle accident all of Ben’s deepest darkest secrets come to light. Jude cannot understand why Ben would want to be beaten and he doesn’t believe for a second he would be able to hurt Ben. When Kage throws Ben away like a broken toy after the accident Jude watches Ben spiral into an emotional black hole. When he discovers Ben is looking for a new Dom Jude decides he is going to have to step into a role he isn’t sure he can play.

Jude comes to his decision and he and Ben have a hot scene in the bathroom and then an even hotter one in the bedroom. Jude is being pulled in two different directions though. He wants Ben, but the idea of hurting him makes him physically ill. The two men work together to try to find a happy medium in their relationship, but it is not smooth sailing. They try a BDSM club and they try working things out between themselves at home but Jude just can’t do it. He succeeds in putting Ben off for a time, but eventually Ben’s needs push him to an emotional outburst and Jude finally has to either do what Ben wants or risk losing him. Jude and Ben end up training with an excellent Dom and not only does Jude realize he may not be able to give Ben everything he WANTS, but he can give him everything he NEEDS. He also makes Ben seek counseling before he will agree to any training. Whether their relationship will stand the test of time is unknown, but they have a great start and so much love between them I wouldn’t bet against them.

I have heard it said that no one can learn to be a Dominant. They either are or they aren’t. I don’t really follow that belief; I think every one of us has a need to be taken care of or a need to care for others. That is basically how I see a D/s relationship, if you were to strip it down to bare bones. It seemed to me that as Jude moved forward with learning how to please Ben, he found that there were some parts of being a Dom that he truly loved, but there were some things that he knew he could just never do. I loved how J.P. let us work through the emotions with Jude and experience everything he did. I also liked when Ben got called out for manipulating the situation and was forced to get some help. This is a very engaging story with plenty of super hot smexing, and OMG, I would love to see a demonstration of the fire flogging.

The BDSM scenes were extremely hot and I appreciated the difference between Kage and Jude as Doms so much. Jude may not be the end all/be all of Doms, but he had the one thing Kage never had with Ben and that was Ben’s love. One of the final scenes of the book was a kind of showdown between Kage and Jude, and I swear I was pumping my fist in the air, cheering for Jude. This book has it all, you guys. There are uber-hot motorcycle men, strong Doms and beautiful submissives, all surrounding a wonderful love story.

Don’t miss this one you might find yourself asking for a flogging if you do!

You can buy Painting Fire on the Air here:


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