The Official Description: official description
Just the facts: m/m contemporary romance, BDSM, abuse in the past, sex trade worker
A dark, steamy and sensual novel about over coming the past and fighting for one another. – Kinzie Things
My thoughts bit: First of all, thanks to Evie Drae for including such a well thought out and detailed trigger/warnings page with this book. I don’t need them myself, but I know that many people need them and I always value an author taking the time to include it in one of their books.
This is a heavy book! Sure, you might think it’s a gay romance with a smattering of BDSM but it’s a lot more than that at its core.
Let’s start with a summary. Landon Jenks is a retired baseball player. He got wrapped up in a reality show that resulted in his “coming out” as a gay man, on a TV episode. He was engaged at the time to Garret – his co-star. He finds out later that everything wasn’t on the up-and-up (you’ll have to read it to find out the details!) and he is left feeling betrayed and unwanted.
Landon’s childhood wasn’t easy. His father was cruel and he didn’t feel free to be himself. He has some scars that are a map of the mental struggles he has faced covered by a collection of tattoos that gives off the impression that he’s standoffish and tough. He is quite the opposite of that.
Searching for a night of normalcy… Landon reaches out to an escort service. He gets a motel room and goes there to meet a man.
The man in that room is Toby (Tobias). He’s exactly the kind of man that Landon is attracted to but he becomes quite nervous and struggles to begin the encounter. Something happens to Toby that rarely happens – he finds himself interested in, caring about Landon. He doesn’t ever connect with clients – he doesn’t even enjoy the sex…but Landon is different.
Cliché you say? Sure, it’s a trope…but there’s a lot going on in this novel that makes it worth a read. Nothing in this book is quite what it seems and that thrills me. I love being surprised by the way things turn out.
Both the main characters have issues with self-worth for completely different reasons. As an abuse survivor, Landon struggles to feel as though he is worth anything to anyone. No matter what Toby says he feels… Landon is stuck on what’s happened to him in the past. There are moments when his insecurity cracks through and he feels as though Toby may only be with him because he’s a prostitute. Drae does a great job of writing Landon. It’s not that he truly questions Toby’s motives… he questions his own value. That’s a very fine line for an author and Drae does a perfect job with it.
Toby’s struggle is more with his circumstances making him feel completely hopeless. His battle reminded me of the term “learned helplessness”… he’s just been beaten down so much that he can’t even see a way out for himself anymore. In addition to not thinking he can escape his life, Toby can’t imagine someone like Landon wanting to be with him.
One other wonderful character in this book is Steffon. Steffon lives with Landon and helps out as his assistant and he’s a lovely foil for the other two characters. He is unapologetically himself! He’s gloriously spectacular and speaks his mind. I really enjoyed his friendship with Landon.
Another great book from Evie Drae! If you haven’t read hir books, you’re missing out!!
Things You May Want To Know: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: (SPOILERS) physical/emotional abuse of a child in the past, violence, homophobia, stalking, self-harm in the past, scarring on adult, from self-harm, prostitution (dubious consent/non-consent), human trafficking, the couple explores BDSM.
I received an ARC of He Owns My Heart by Evie Drae from The Author in exchange for an unbiased review.