A copy of this book was provided by the author and the publisher for an honest review at The Romance Evangelist.
I enjoyed reading THE DOM PROJECT earlier this year, and was glad to see that there would be additional books in the LA Doms series. But I did worry (because I’m a worrier) that the loss of the previous book’s co-author might somehow have an adverse affect on the series going forward. The good news is that THE SUBMISSION GIFT isn’t merely the equal to its excellent predecessor; it’s even better, with what I believe to be one of the most realistic portrayals of what it means to have a truly polyamorous relationship in the present day.
Before we even meet the person who will change their lives forever, we see how the past year has tested Jay and Adriana’s marriage. The car accident that nearly took Jay’s life has wreaked havoc on their finances, their love life, and their peace of mind. Even now, Jay is only able to handle the most basic tasks involving physical effort, and has to be ever mindful of what he can and cannot do. Meanwhile, the bills aren’t going away, and Adriana struggles to provide financial stability while laboring in a demanding work environment where the hours are long and her co-workers are trying to sabotage her on a daily basis. But she still has needs in the bedroom that Jay just can’t fulfill, so when an unexpected windfall from the insurance company provides the means, they agree to use the money for something they’d always discussed doing: paying a professional Dominant to share their bed for a night or two. What they didn’t expect was someone like Paul, a man whose rightness for them would surpass any fantasy. But when a series of unconnected events expose still hidden secrets, it will take all three of them working together to transform this fantasy into a lasting relationship that can survive their new reality.
I’m a big fan of menage romances, but I’m also aware that many aren’t exactly what one could call true to life. They tend to take place in lovely fictional towns where everybody accepts menages, or where one or more of the involved characters has enough money to let them exist untouched by any possible controversy. But in THE SUBMISSION GIFT, the triad relationship begins as a financial transaction between a somewhat non-traditional couple and a part-time rent-boy. Even before their first sexual encounter, every one of these three characters is already living on the financial edge, and where they live and love is present-day Los Angeles, in neighborhoods far from the rich and famous. So when Jay and Adriana and Paul make the decision to commit to each other publicly, the direct effect on their day-to-day lives will be immediate and significant.
Even before Paul entered their lives, Jay and Adriana already had to deal with those who thought that their marriage was a sham just because Jay was, as he put it, “a bi guy on the femme side.” But this loving couple soon realizes that Paul is as intrinsic to their happiness together as they are to each other. So when Paul’s hidden past is revealed at the worst possible moment, Jay and Adriana must make the hard choice between reaffirming their love and trust in him, or letting him go for their own security, if not their long-term contentment. It’s to the author’s credit that she never hesitates to show us every ugly moment of doubt, and never flinches from the ugly facts of what these three people will face if they choose each other. But as we see how Paul fills the gap between what Jay and Adriana have and what they need, it’s clear that their unconditional love and determination to make it work will be more than a match for whatever life has to throw at them next. THE SUBMISSION GIFT is a gift to readers who love romance in all its permutations, and it made me believe that a polyamorous relationship could work in a world outside the borders of fictional Romanceland.