Couples in trouble, worn down through too much stress and everyday worries, are not all that unusual. What they do about it ranges from trying to rescue the relationship indifferent ways to giving up and getting divorced. Of course much depends on how serious the problems are. Donovan and Nate are definitely in trouble, but there is no animosity. After five years together, and both having stressful jobs, they are more distant than they would like, and their sex life could use some sprucing up. Leave it to Donovan to come up with “the solution” for them—a weekend at a remote B&B. But not just any B&B. This one offers BDSM lessons. Donovan definitely likes to be in control, and the few times he and Nate have experimented with rougher sex, Nate has liked being held down. So Donovan figures what the heck, and makes a reservation for them to learn more during a long weekend. It’s a good thing Nate loves and trusts him. Not many men would deal so well with having sprung “let’s learn more about D/s” on them. Nate regrets not being as close to Donovan as he used to be, and he hates making decisions outside of his job. His students keep him on his toes when he is their teacher, but when it comes to the bedroom, Nate wants to let go. He definitely gets his wish, and as soon as they start experimenting, he decides he wants more. If you like stories about men who are very much in love but want to add a little kink to their lives, if a “BDSM for Beginners” story sounds interesting, and if you’re looking for a very sexy read with some kinky fun and lots of loving, then you will probably like this novella. I’m looking forward to my next visit to the Cooper Mountain B&B!
Cooper Mountain, 1
When Donovan Ramsey comes home from yet another business trip he realizes he and his long-term boyfriend, Nate Pearson, have drifted apart. Donovan is used to engineering solutions in his career, but he’s stumped on how to fix his dwindling sexual relationship with Nate.
After a late night internet search, Donovan finds a place that might be exactly what they need to rekindle the romance in their relationship. There’s just one catch: the idyllic Cooper Mountain Bed and Breakfast specializes in BDSM for couples.
Over the course of the weekend, the two men experience a taste of what the BDSM lifestyle has to offer. Will that taste lead to a stronger connection between Nate and Donovan, or will it ultimately be their undoing?
Be Warned: m/m sex, BDSM, public exhibition
Donovan recognized a few of the search results from friends’ suggestions about quick weekend getaways. The majority, though, were ones Donovan had never heard of. “Deluxe cottage, nestled in the woods. Full shower and bath. Total privacy.” Donovan kept that window open, even though the price was way more than what he would normally pay for a hotel room for the night. The next boasted similar features, except this one had a private outdoor hot tub for the guests’ use. Donovan was about to go back to the first listing until he saw one that looked different from the others. “Cooper Mountain. A secluded B&B that caters to couples who want to rekindle their relationship. Fully catered meals, private quarters, and attentive staff. LGBTQ Friendly.”
Out of curiosity, he clicked on the link. The first picture that popped up featured a beautiful cottage situated in a rural setting next to a lake. The next picture, however, had his mind reeling. A wooden cross, labeled St. Andrew’s Cross in the caption below, made him wonder if this was a couples’ retreat or a torture palace. The owner’s message at the bottom of the image gallery explained that play was optional, and every stage of kink was welcome. There were educational classes for newbies as well as complete privacy for the more advanced couples.
Testimonial after testimonial made his head swim.
“Toby and Logan are the perfect hosts. Not only did my partner and I rekindle the passion we thought we’d lost, we found out we really love floggers!”
“Thank you, Logan, for the best weekend getaway we’ve had in years. We’ll definitely be back on our next anniversary to try out the spanking bench.”
And the last one, “A weekend at Cooper Mountain worked wonders for expanding our understanding of the D/s relationship. We’ve grown closer as a couple and can’t wait to take more of Logan’s classes!”
Donovan’s mind raced as he clicked through the image gallery, shocked and slightly scandalized by the images he saw. After all, what kind of person got off on pain? What kind of person got pleasure from tying another person up or by dominating someone else sexually?
I wasn’t going to read this yet. I had other books on my TBR list that kept getting pushed back and for ‘reasons’, I needed to stick to my guns and read them next. Then Stripped Bare showed up on my Kindle. I had no clue what it was about, but Eileen Griffin & Nikka Michaels wrote it and that alone taunted me enough to click on it, “just to see…” Holy crap. It’s BDSM. Just so ya’ know, I’m kinda’ to the point where if the storyline is satisfying in itself, I pretty much skim the sex scenes. I still want intimacy on the page in some form, but I don’t necessarily need (or even want) a Tab A, Slot B view of the characters anymore. I guess I’m getting tired of it. Unless, that is, Griffin & Michaels are the ones writing it and there is, * cough * bondage, involved. I’ll say it again. Holy crap. You girls can write BDSM scenes for me anytime. Forever. And always. If you are a fan of MM or BDSM, you will love this story. If you are a fan of both, well, let’s just say I’m shoving you out the door as I tell you to hurry and go get this book. I’m not saying that just because the scenes between the characters are hot as hell, even though they are. I say that because Griffin & Michaels treat the BDSM lifestyle with the knowledge and respect it deserves. They ‘get it’ and they get it right. In fact, as I’m sitting here writing this, it occurred to me that no floggers were harmed in the writing of this story. Haha. In fact, I’m smiling at how few ‘implements’ were actually used, yet it didn’t even dawn on me until just this moment. The scenes were highly psychological and emotional. Well done, ladies. Donovan, feeling the need to reconnect with his boyfriend Nate, plans a romantic weekend away as a surprise. While researching B&Bs, he stumbles across Cooper Mountain, where they also offer BDSM facilities and classes. On a whim, and without telling Nate, he signs them up for a few sessions and then immediately becomes nervous at the prospect. “What kind of person got pleasure from tying another person up or by dominating someone else sexually? He squirmed as his burgeoning erection tented his boxer shorts as he imagined dominating Nate.” Um… maybe someone like you, Donovan? LOL! Both men go into their first session nervous but curious, as BDSM is not something either of them have ever considered. The B&B owners, Logan and Toby, explain the basics of BDSM to Donovan and Nate. This is where Griffin & Michaels excel at writing BDSM. What is explained to the two nervous men is not the floggers and cuffs or the bondage and pain - but the beauty and benefits of Dominance and submission – not just the physical, but the physiological release. I’ve read a lot of BDSM stories. When it’s just kink for the sake of kink… eh… I can take it or leave it – I mostly leave it. But bring in the emotional aspects of a power exchange and now you’ve got my attention. I’m way more turned on by what each man is feeling emotionally than anything being done to their ass. After explaining the basics, the B&B owners, Logan and his submissive, Toby, give Donovan and Nate a little demonstration by performing a scene right there in the room with them. (Remember when I said I wasn’t going to read this yet? Yeah, well, I hit this point of the book at 1:00 a.m. Do you think I was going to put it down now? Pfft.) That scene left this reader whispering the same words as Nate: “’Jesus, that was hot.’” After caring for Toby, Logan returns to further discuss trust and communication. Again, Griffin & Michaels excel at explaining that this is the true nature of BDSM. “’Toby and I have been together for almost seven years. Neither of us shies away from exhibitionism, but every time we scene I get his consent for what we’re about to do. That’s the essence of a D/s relationship. Trust and communication.’” “As insanely hot as Logan and Toby’s demonstration had been, the connection they’d witnessed was hotter than anything. If their lesson involved reviving the connection between him and Nate tonight, Donovan was hungry for all of it.” Logan competently guides them through their first scene – which pretty much left me as breathless as all the men in that room, but even better were the emotions that passed between Donovan and Nate in that scene and for the rest of the weekend. I’m tickled pink – as pink as Nate’s ass - to see Cooper Mountain is going to be a series. I hope at some point to learn more about Logan and Toby. I have no idea what Eileen and Nikka have planned, but this reader wants to lay this out here just in case they see it: Toby: Hot EMT by day. Submissive with an exhibitionist streak at night. Um, yes. More please. Much, much more.
This was a really fresh take on a BDSM-flavoured book. Both Donovan and Nate are new to the D/s scene — in fact, Nate doesn't even know that's the sort of retreat that Donovan has booked for them at Cooper Mountain. Understandably, there's some hesitation, but when both men see the emotional connection shared by their hosts, they decide to give it a try. I really felt how much love already existed between Donovan and Nate. This book was super low on the angst scale, which was nice to read. Donovan and Nate are strong as a couple, but after five years, the passion has waned — as it tends to do — and instead of waiting until everything falls apart before trying to fix it, Donovan takes the initiative to patch the tears now. It was also neat seeing two newbies get into scenes — interested, excited, but not really sure what the hell they're doing and going largely on instinct (with gentle guidance from their hosts, Toby and Logan). Overall, this was exactly the sort of BDSM-flavoured book I like, one that focuses on the emotion and trust involved — though the sex scenes were hot as hell, too! I'm eager to see the next book in this series to discover how Donovan and Nate have progressed with this side of their relationship
For the sake of full disclosure I should start this review by saying that I’ve adored the words Eileen Griffin and Nikka Michaels produce together from before they ever published their first book. The love has only grown deeper and stronger with every subsequent title they released, both together and separately. Stripped Bare once again confirmed these authors’ talent for telling a good story. As always they brought me men I could love and sympathise with, in a story that captured my imagination and left me hot and bothered on quite a few occasions. When we meet Donovan and Nate they are a hardworking couple with little time for their relationship. It is not that they’re no longer in love, more that work pressures have allowed them to take their eyes off each other. With both men tired and stressed at the end of the day, romance has fallen by the wayside. I loved that Donavan refused to accept the status quo. He misses the man he fell in love with and the intimacy they used to share frequently. His decision to book them a weekend away to rekindle the passion is fabulous. The fact that the Bed & Breakfast he picks for their time together specialises in BDSM both adds excitement and a dangerous edge to Donovan’s plan. If you’re familiar with my reviews and reading habits, you will know I love a good BDSM story. Stripped Bare is definitely one of those. Donovan and Nate’s explorations are shown as a joined venture. Donovan may be the Dominant partner but he doesn’t do anything without making absolutely sure Nate is a more than willing participant. Nate on the other hand may have doubts about what his need to submit to Donovan means, he can’t deny the pleasure and relief he finds in their encounters. I love it when authors take their time to explain the dynamic to their readers. “Just acknowledging what you need shows strength. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.” For me the beauty in BDSM is found as much in the emphasis on trust and communication, the fact that true submission requires a deep strength, as it is in the very sexy scenes it tends to lead to. In this book Toby and Logan, the two men who run the Bed & Breakfast, provide a shining example of the true dynamic in this relationship format. “Whoever said submissives weren’t in control obviously hadn’t met Toby or Nate.” No cliffhanger at the end of this book...or is there? Let’s just say I can’t wait to find out who the main characters in the next book will turn out to be. Logan and Toby will be back, of that I’m sure since the stories take place in their Bed & Breakfast. But, will we meet Donovan and Nate again or is there another couple in need of assistance. I can’t wait to find out.