Reviewed by JustJen
Author: Tanya Chris
Series: Aftermath #3
Genre: MM Contemporary BDSM
Length: 332 Pages
Publisher: Tanya Chris Publishing
Release Date: June 27, 2019
Available at: Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: The Ever After series concludes in Aftermath. Tragedy, redemption, love… Ever After
Once upon a time, Casey flirted with a pretty boy at a bar, and that changed everything. Recently released from jail, he’s starting to rebuild without the family who raised him to hate himself. He’s got a new job, a room at his aunt’s, and community service hours at an LGBTQIA community center. But his biggest challenge is figuring out how to live as the one thing his father and brother drilled into him he could never be: a gay man.
Once upon a time, Brooks was a confident Dom with a particular taste for bigger men. But since his run-in with a dangerous homophobe, he’s lost his touch. Big, buff guys are hot but scary, and hurting people isn’t as much fun as it used to be.
Until he meets Casey, the big guy with the problematic past. Casey’s willing to do anything, but does his submission stem from healthy kink or from an unhealthy need to be punished? And is Brooks doling out release or revenge? Two people who share a past as violent as theirs could never fall in love. Unless, somewhere in the aftermath, there’s forgiveness.
Review: Here we have the conclusion of this series which all centered around a gay bashing that resulted in the death of one man (Jamie) with the rest of the characters tied together and spreading out like a spider web. This installment is about Casey, the brother of the man who did the gay bashing that caused the death of not only Jamie, but a few others as well. While Casey didn’t actively take part, he was present and stood by to let it happen. He turned evidence on his brother and is now being released after doing his own short time in jail. Casey also happens to be gay, but being brought up by a homophobic father and brother as role models has really done some damage.
Brooks was one of the victims who managed to fight off Casey and his brother. He is also friends with Syed and Dashiell (who are woven into the story in the first two books) through their BDSM connection. Like Syed, Brooks is also a Dom, but after his narrow escape is having difficulty topping bigger guys without panicking. Seeing as it was Casey’s checking Brooks out in a bar that sent his brother after Brooks in the first place, Casey seeks out Brooks to apologize and make amends. Brooks, in turn, recommends he go to the LGBT center where he volunteers.
Much of this story was about Casey and his coming to grips with being gay. Volunteering at the center showed him there were others like him and that it was ok to be gay. He took a lot of baby steps as his comfort level grew and he became stronger and more courageous. The other part was about him seeking out punishment in the way of rough/bordering on abusive sex. Brooks was encouraged to help him, as he counsels kids at the center about safe kink, etc. and after much reluctance, Brooks gives in and they move forward with showing Casey the difference between safe and consensual BDSM relationships and what he was previously doing. Brooks gets to take his revenge out on Casey and work through his own fears, while Casey receives the punishment he feels he deserves. He has no intention of moving beyond the dom/sub aspects. Unfortunately, a few things happen that are out of their control. They have amazing chemistry, and Casey turns out to be the perfect sub for Brooks, but Casey likes the punishment a bit too much and continues to ask for more which pushes Brooks’ limits. There was a lot of confusion on not only Casey’s part, but Brooks’ as well. Needless to say, they stop things before the waters get too muddy.
They both do quite a bit of growing in this story, but it is Casey who makes leaps and bounds in a better direction. I loved watching him see the light where his wrongs were concerned and then watching him transform as his comfort level grew. Brooks took a little more warming up for me, but he pulls through in the end. There are some fabulous side characters in this story as well. The youngster, Finn, whom the gang all tries to help emancipate from his parents, is a doll. He becomes Casey’s shadow and plays a big part in many of Casey’s changes. I loved Aunt Kit as well, and it was great to see Syed and Dashiell again. While this wasn’t my favorite of the three stories, it was a fitting end and wonderful story of second chances.
Overall Impression: I liked it!
*I received a copy of this book from the author in return for a fair and honest review.*