Books 7 With 1 Blow by Caraway Carter
7 With 1 Blow by Caraway Carter
445 0 1 0 0 0
October 21, 2016
This story contains scenes of sexual intimacy and BDSM.
The man of the evening arrived—late as usual, but no one was surprised. It was just his style. During his few short years in the Scene, Taylor Little had gathered quite a following between customers, hangers-on, flatterers, and the occasional scene partner. It wasn’t the most experienced or the most prestigious crowd in the local Scene—in fact, many of Little’s followers were even less experienced than he was—and people had noticed. Important people, people who could make or break a new Dom.
Not that Taylor Little cared. He’d ruined munches, crashed play parties, and generally acted like an arrogant banty rooster in a too-small hen yard. It wasn’t surprising when he would show up at a munch, poach an inexperienced boy, and put him on the web in a BDSM porn shoot a week later; it was just inappropriate.
His lateness was also par for the course. Taylor Little—who called himself “Dom Seven”—made his elaborate entrance. Normally, his slaves crawled before him, regardless of the venue or whether it was appropriate. The sharper-tongued members of the Scene whispered that it was because of his height, which, even with his heavy boots, topped out at five foot seven. But this time, his current slave walked in front of him, shirtless, his neck enclosed inside a black leather collar. A chain snaked away from the collar’s single jump ring and into Taylor’s black-gloved hand.
In an uncharacteristic nod to propriety, Taylor had had this slave wear dirty white Converse tennis shoes and tight black jeans, with a thick black leather belt. As they entered the room, a scowl crossed Taylor’s face. It were as if no one had paid attention to anything he had done with his slave; the crowd was still looking at Mistress Joan.
Taylor and his slave were the only ones not looking at Mistress Joan. Instead, Taylor looked around the room to see if anyone was checking out his new boy while the slave kept his own eyes focused on his shoes. Not a single soul was looking their way. With a frown and a muttered command, Taylor tapped the slave on the shoulder. The boy nodded his head and dropped to his knees as Taylor looked around for an open chair. As the boy fell to the ground, the door of the backroom swung shut so that no one, aside from those gathered in the room, was witness to the slave boy’s further humiliation.
When Taylor Little, who styles himself "Dom Seven," is unwillingly taken into custody by the Cadre, he is put between a rock and a hard place. Either he will go to jail for his abuses against the local BDSM community, or he will accept retraining from the bottom up, learning to be a slave before he ever lays a flogger on another human being again. In this tale of redemption, Taylor must face his demons as he learns to accept his status with mouth, mind, and heart.
A story of redemption, forgiveness, and reconciliation
Taylor Little is a Dom gone wrong. He has no sense of propriety or concern for the boys he trains. At the start of the story, he's aggressive, arrogant, and cruel. He's taken (unwillingly) by a group known as the Cadre in order to rehabilitate him. This is his journey toward being a better person, both through his own redemption and through the forgiveness of others.
As a person unfamiliar with the BDSM community outside of having a few friends who are involved, I can't speak to the realism there. I can imagine it probably isn't typical to gather intelligence and blackmail someone into penitence, but this is fiction and not real life. That's hardly the point or the most important aspect of the story.
Over the course of the book, Taylor's entire way of thinking shifts. He develops from a distrustful, carefully guarded, angry person into someone who cares about the well-being of others. The final act of his redemption is emotional and beautiful.
I'm a sucker for a good story about repentance and forgiveness, so that's what resonated most with me about Taylor's story. He's not just being trained in how to do it "right." He's a hurting person who has done great harm because of the manner in which he was treated and the lack of good care or a healthy example in his life. Even for people unfamiliar with BDSM, Taylor's struggles will feel familiar. The stages he goes through from acknowledging his pain to fighting his inner demons are common to most people.
It would be hard to choose a favorite scene or side character. There are so many good ones. This story has no wasted space. There are no precious minutes devoted to lengthy explanations or back story. Everything is focused on moving forward in Taylor's journey to forgiving himself and the person who brought him to such a painful place.
I have to say, I think Boy Bob, who serves as a same-level mentor and confidant of sorts, is my favorite character. Taylor is fairly unlikable until near the end, which means it's necessary to attach to the side characters. Fortunately, they are surprisingly well-developed, given that we mostly see from Taylor's perspective and a few scattered scenes in a neutral point of view.
There is some sexual expression in the story, which I found typically emotionally rather than erotically charged. Some of the scenes in which Taylor was rewarded with discipline left me feeling raw in a good way. My favorite, which I won't spoil the details of, involves Taylor and some well-used kitchen implements. It's a highly rewarding and intense moment.
This is not a romance, an erotic tale, or a fantasy. While there are elements which transcend realism, this is by no means a story intended solely to excite or arouse. It's heavily character-driven, there is no love story (unless you count Taylor's development of genuine self-love), and even the few brief sex scenes are functional more than sensual. On the whole, I found the story highly satisfying, with its strong literary style and attention to the emotional detail. Those elements might not appeal to every reader.
At the end, I was left feeling glad I'd read this. Sharing Taylor's experiences of self-acceptance, growth, and redemption was everything I hope for in a good story.
For an intriguing take on an old fairy tale, a stellar cast of characters, and a spiritually deep story, this gets 5 stars.
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