Teach a wounded submissive the value of his service. The task ought to be an easy one for an experienced dominant like Henry Webb.
But novice Jay Kress challenges his teacher like no other. Still bearing the bruises of an encounter outside the bounds of safe consensual play, Jay is desperate to submit to the man who saved him—and shamed by his desires.
I must admit that I didn’t read past Neighborly Affection and M.Q. Barber before snagging this book. As such, I began it expecting to continue on the journey with my favorite ménage trio – Henry, Jay, and Alice. However, in Becoming His Master, Ms. Barber takes us back in time to show fans how Jay and Henry came to be. Was Alice’s presence missed? Yes, because I was looking forward to seeing how their relationship dynamic continued to progress. Was I disappointed in Becoming His Master? Absofreakinglutely not! With each book I have read of the series, I wanted to know more about Jay and Henry’s relationship, but never did I expect that Ms. Barber would backtrack within the series to tell their tale. Yet she did and delivered an absolutely wonderful book.
I didn’t know it was possible, but with each page that I read of Becoming His Master, I fell even more in love with Henry. As always, the beautiful dominant is ever present in his interactions with Jay. I loved how, from the very beginning, Henry set aside his own desires in order to give Jay the care and guidance he needed. From the previous books, we knew that Jay had suffered at the hands of a sadistic Dom and that Henry had interrupted the scene when it became apparent that Jay’s safeword had been ignored. What we learn over the course of this book is that Jay’s desire and eagerness to serve a Master had exposed him to mistreatment after mistreatment for months – sometimes actual physical abuse, but almost always emotional abuse as Jay was unable to express his needs as a submissive.
Because of Jay’s history, Henry had to walk a fine line so that he could teach Jay to identify his wants and limits, to learn to communicate them, and to learn that above all else, his own safety was paramount, all while not abusing his position of authority over Jay. Having spent three books with Henry, I was not the least bit surprised that he accomplished it. After all, we know that the two are together. But what is mesmerizing is how Henry does it and how he helps nurse the wounded Jay into the wriggly puppy we all know and love. My only complaint with Becoming His Master is that I reached the final page far too soon, but that has happened with every book in the series. Now the countdown begins for the next book in the Neighborly Affection series and as much as I LOVED finally learning Jay and Henry’s history, I do so hope that we return to present day to see how life fares for my favorite trio.
This is about Master Henry and his Sub Jay. Jay was abused by another Dom and a week later is back. The owner of the club, Victor has asked Master Henry to guide Jay before he can be taken advantage again. In talking to Jay, Henry finds Jay is a complete sub but hasn’t had any sort of training or guidance and everyone has taken advantage of his over wiliness to please. Henry has given himself two months to train Jay and find him a more permit Dom before the Dom that abused him comes back. But will he be able to let him go?
I’ve read my fair share of D/s books and what I truly loved about this book was it focused on the sub. Not so much what makes a sub a sub, but what caused this sub to be broken and how to fix him with words first and then small sexually actions. This was not full of huge D/s bondage type acts you normally associate with these type books. Master Henry really wanted to know about his Jay and how to fix him and not through sex but through praise. I really liked that we got the two months of courtship between the two MC’s before any major declaration of love or future. The only thing that really left me confused was the female side for both Henry and Jay, so not sure to class this as a MM book or MMF or bi-sexual or what?
Henry’s watch showed quarter to eight as he mounted the stairs toting carryout meals for himself and his submissive. The hour found the second floor a modest hive of activity as players donned their preferred personas and headed upstairs to the sandbox. Eventually, he too would join the procession, with Jay in tow. For now, he turned right and stepped through the wide double doors into the salon.
The area set aside for himself and young Mr. Kress showed Emma’s unmistakable influence. Tucked into the farthest corner of the room, a three-panel screen of wood and fabric created a private dining nook. Best pray the younger man didn’t recognize the scenes depicted, though the intent shouted for all and sundry to pay heed.
A pair of yellow-ribboned women cast admiring glances his way. Muting his growl, he stepped past them with a curt headshake. Won’t interfere, my ass.
A paean to Greek mythology and literature graced each panel. Achilles and Patroclus circled each other with shields and spears, their sandaled feet the only flesh not on view. Apollo strummed his lyre while a boy—Hyacinth, given the field of flowers—lay at his feet. Beautiful Ganymede proffered a cup beneath the sheltering wings of Zeus-as-eagle.
Stalking across the room, he considered the ready excuses sure to be on Emma’s lips. A shield to keep the boy from prying eyes, lest his table manners prove less than impeccable. Hadn’t he himself insisted on protecting Jay from possible criticism? No, of course the scenes hadn’t been deliberate. Convenience had dictated the choice. In no way had she meant to imply Jay Kress was his eromenos.
His beloved boy. His to mentor and protect. His sweet lips to kiss, his beautiful thighs to fuck.
Cock pressing at his fly, he swore in silence. Was there no mercy to be found?
He rounded the screen.
Jay sprang to his feet.
No. No mercy at all.
Despite Emma’s claim, his student wore a suit as well as he wore leather shorts. Temptation beat at him, an unrelenting pressure, the image of his submissive on his knees with the same earnest delight on his face.
He forced himself to turn and deposit the bag on the table. Slow and easy.
“You’ve set a lovely table.” He told himself navy wasn’t Jay’s color, despite the good sense he’d shown to pair his suit with a solid white shirt and a pale blue tie with a diagonal thin-stripe in white. “I trust your wait has been a pleasant one?”
“Yes, Master Henry.” Jay stood straight and tall, a slender vision of grace. “Mistress Emma showed me what to do.”
“It’s just Emma, my boy. No title. She’s a submissive here, as you are.” He unpacked the tote. Salads first, the light containers atop the others.
“But she’s in charge of things.” Jay tilted his head. He started to roll his shoulders before stopping himself.
Warm foil container deposited on the table, Henry paused in his work to study his submissive with more care. “Yes, she handles some functions at the club.” The neat half-Windsor had to be Emma’s doing. “She also submits to her husband.” Likewise, the white rose boutonniere pinned with Jay’s red ribbon, the symbol of his ownership. The younger man’s purity and innocence bound under his protection and control.
Pinned. Of course.
“Tell me, how many pins did it take until Emma was satisfied with the drape of your jacket?”
“I’m not sure, Master Henry.” Jay half-smiled, his eyes shining. “She made me stand still for a long time, though. Do you like it?”
With such an enticing invitation, he smoothed the fabric from the lapel to the right shoulder.
Jay caught his breath and rocked his hips.
“Quite handsome,” he murmured. Such promising responses his pupil gave, eager physicality impossible to miss. “But you cannot relax, can you? Afraid you’ll disrupt her handiwork if you so much as breathe too deeply.”
“I don’t mind, Master Henry.” If you like it, he didn’t say, though the worship in his gaze made the words unnecessary.
Humming, he traced the edge of the lapel downward and unfastened the button holding the jacket closed. “I mind.” Hanging the jacket on the chair back wouldn’t do any harm. “Your comfort is my responsibility during our time together.”
He pushed the coat from the boy’s shoulders. He’d remove his own to ensure his dinner partner felt no awkwardness.
“No, no, please.” Jay clutched at the fabric, fighting the motion, his voice rising. “Master Henry, please.”
What the devil was he—
“Please don’t take my ribbon, I’m your good boy, I’m yours—”
Henry kissed him.
He knew the instant their lips touched he ought not have done it.
Soft and pliant, the younger man opened his mouth with a throaty little whimper.
Irresistible. A possessive haze descended, snarling heat pushing out from his center. He ground his cock against his submissive and claimed his mouth.
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USA Today bestselling author M.Q. Barber likes to get lost in thought. She writes things down so she can find herself again.
Often found staring off into space or frantically scratching words on sticky notes, M.Q. lives with one very tolerant, easily amused husband and one very tolerant, easily amused puppy.
She has a soft spot for romances that explore the inner workings of the heart and mind alongside all that steamy physical exertion. She loves memorable characters, witty banter, and heartfelt emotion in any genre.
The former Midwestern gal is the author of the Neighborly Affection contemporary romance series. Pick a safeword, grab a partner or two, and jump in.