Title: The Difference Between
Author: Blake Moreno
Publisher: Dark Ink
Release Date: 1/12/2017
Genre(s): M/M BDSM Romance, M/M Dark Erotic Romance, M/M Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 242
Heat Level: 5 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Wade Maguire and Russ Paulson are in love. After a year of passion and happiness, they’re buying a home and moving in together. Everything is rosy for them—until a jealous and insane ex from Wade’s past puts all of that to the test.
After being kidnapped and tortured by his deranged former lover, Wade loses his ability to engage with his own sexuality or with Russ. With the help of a psychologist, EMDR therapy, and a sex plan, they work together to overcome the damage inflicted. In the process, they discover wells of love they’ve never known before.
As passion is reborn and their sex life reignited, Wade realizes a need to re-experience certain events in Russ’s loving arms. For Wade, the difference between pain and pleasure is love, and the difference between rape and rough sex is consent.
Dark, and yet ultimately hopeful, this book contains many emotional and graphic sex scenes, as well as some scenes of torture. This book deals with rape and rape recovery. Proceed with care.
Stand-alone with a happy ending.
***Trigger Warning: Before you go any further into this review, please be aware that this book has many trigger warnings. There are graphic scenes of torture, rape and kidnapping.***
I had no small amount of trepidation picking up this book. I read the trigger warnings, skimmed some previous reviews and even read a sample chapter. The author takes the time to warn readers what to expect and the first three chapters are the hardest to read. Moreno recommends skipping those, but mentions of Wade’s abuse and torture are interspersed throughout.
As such, The Difference Between is a difficult book to read and as equally hard to review. However, I also read the author’s note that this story has a happy ending, and I read it for that. I’m glad I did.
Wade travels to California to reconnect with an old lover. He doesn’t expect to get kidnapped by this man–one riddled with mental issues. For a period of time, pain is all Wade knows. After he’s rescued, Wade leaves feeling broken. What follows is a soul-tearing journey for Wade not only to reconquer his personal life outside, but his sex life inside as well. He works damn hard to overcome his demons–for the love of his life, but more importantly, for himself. It’s tough. Because how do you start to reclaim a part of yourself that was taken away so forcibly?
It’s reconnecting two parts of himself with the relationship he had with Russ that’s so devastating to watch. Wade questions everything and everyone–himself included–but he has such perseverance and he faces his past so honestly, determined to conquer his future. If that means embracing new desires he will do it.
This blatant vulnerability in each scene shredded my heart! As Wade slowly puzzles himself together–piece by piece–so too does Russ. His lover feels as if he should have known Wade was suffering, that he should have kept Wade safe. It’s a balance of wanting to help Wade, but not push too fast.
Is this book difficult to read? Heck, yes. Was the resolution worth it? Again–heck, yes. Wade shows such resilience of the human spirit. Russ meets that resilience and is willing to do whatever it takes to make Wade comfortable again–in and out of bed. It’s heartbreaking. I spent parts of this book crying. Some parts are uncomfortable and others downright devastating. But his steps to healing is so heartbreakingly honest-brutal in it, in fact-and I found myself smiling for Wade at the end.
Perseverance and hope and love are powerful motivators in this book. This book isn’t for everyone–maybe not even for most–but If you don’t mind facing Wade’s harsh realities and heed the triggers, then I’d highly recommend reading The Difference Between. It’s going to stick with me long after the last page.