In No Pain, No Gain we meet security specialist, Payne, and explosives expert, Hunter. This book starts with Hunter experiencing the worst time of his life. His past will break your heart. His future will teach us all a lesson in resillience.
NO PAIN, NO GAIN by Ari McKay Publication Date: February 20, 2018 Genre: LGBT, Erotica Length: 68 000 words Purchase: Universal Buy Link Story Rating: 5/ 5 Romance Rating: 5/5
Hi, I’d like to thank the author and Signal Boost PR for providing me with a copy of the book and letting me be a part of this blog tour.
Hunter Callahan loved being a merc. As an explosives expert for Lawson & Greer, he’s dealt with everything from IEDs to rogue nukes. But when a suicide bomber in the form of a seven-year-old boy walks into camp, Hunter learns there are some fates far worse than death.
Payne Gibson recognizes the “thousand yard stare” of the PTSD Hunter refuses to acknowledge, and as a natural caretaker, he can’t resist when his boss, Cade “Hercules” Thornton, asks him to help. Hunter is resistant until their surveillance assignment turns dangerous, and Hunter realizes he’s in danger of losing his career, the only thing in his life that matters to him anymore.
Conventional therapy hasn’t worked, so Payne suggests an unorthodox form of therapy: BDSM. As a Dom, Payne thinks he can help Hunter face the issues he’s been avoiding. Having come to trust Payne and knowing his career is on the line, Hunter agrees to try.
Their relationship as Dom and sub deepens more than either of them expected. Payne knows adding emotions into the mix is dangerous, but he can’t help it when Hunter is both the man and the sub Payne has hoped to find. But Hunter doesn’t feel he deserves love, not when his best friend is dead because of him, leaving behind a wife and child to mourn — and to blame Hunter for their loss.
Payne can help Hunter to stare into the abyss… but what stares back might be more intense than either of them can handle.
Oh, my goodness. This book, the cover – it’s so dark and tormented. I need to start by saying I want to give Hunter the biggest hug ever. Not that a hug would fix much, but the guy pulled on every heart string I have. This book offers a beautifully written and engaging story of resiliency and the importance of healing in your own way. Sometimes the path to healing is excruciating, but maybe there is some wisdom behind that old adage; no pain, no gain.
This is one of the rare times where I choose a book based on the summary as opposed to the cover. I’m a social worker by day, I work with victims so PTSD is one of those things I see all too often. Healing is a long and winding roller coaster. Sometimes, when I have a bad day in the office, I like to find a book about someone overcoming their demons. That’s what this book was for me.
I’ve often argued the healing power of love – trust and unconditional acceptance – I don’t see a reason why reason BDSM can’t be a part of that. I can go on and on about this but I know noone is here for that. Let’s talk about the book!
Ari McKay handled Hunter’s situation in a beautiful and understanding way. Did she provide a super realistic depiction of someone struggling with the disability? Maybe, maybe not. Everyone’s different. Hunter’s mood swings and irritability were captured in what I felt was a very honest way. She didn’t glamorize or minimize a disorder that affects thousands of people. Furthermore, she didn’t trivilize the healing process.
It’s obvious Hunter is hurting in a way most people can’t even imagine. He’s shut down, he’s alive but not living. As a reader, it hurt my heart to see someone in so much pain. However, the honest communication and trust between Hunter and Payne was beautiful. There are few things I love more in my books than seeing the characters becoming truly vulnerable and trusting each other. As sad as the situation was, it made me so happy to see Hunter open up and start to live again.
I’m sure everyone knows how much I love intimate emotional conversations. I’m happy to report this book does not disappoint in that front. In fact, I have to say the dialogue in the play room was some of the best I’ve encountered. It was open and honest and exactly what I want when I read a love story.
Oh, the sexy parts were super sexy too. But you’ll have to read the book yourself if you want to know more about that.
Hunter was such a well developed character. I felt every one of his struggles and successes. More than anything I wanted to see him overcome the memories that had been haunting him and find happiness. I fell in love with him right away.
Payne on the other hand wasn’t quite as well developed. He was strong, and we got glimpses into the pain of his past but never got the full picture. Normally it would bother me, only falling in love with one character, but it made sense here. I’m sure I fell in love with Payne eventually anyway, even though I don’t know all his secrets.
This book is about Hunter and his struggle to overcome PTSD. It’s about resiliency and healing in the best way for you – no matter how unconventional. It wouldn’t have made sense to let the book get bogged down with information about Payne.
Overall, No Pain, No Gain is an intense and emotional read. It’s not overly long, but it’s also not a book that should be rushed. This book tore me apart and kept me up at night long after I had turned my kindle off. I’d recommend this book for a weekend when staying up late thinking isn’t going to be a problem.
Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure. Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as two historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and Finding Forgiveness. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge watching TV shows together.
Arionrhod is a systems engineer by day who is eagerly looking forward to (hopefully) becoming a full time writer in the not-too-distant future. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attentions to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.
McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.