Review: Threshold is an anthology by Lynn Kelling, which corresponds with her Deliver Us Series and Whatever the Cost. She has broken this down into seven short story/novellas giving us a little more insight into the wonderful characters that we love so much.
Since I have already read the Deliver Us series and Whatever The Cost I had previous knowledge of the characters that we read about here. I think if you already know them, as I do, then this was a bonus being able to go back and see where the guys came from and what their life was beforehand. If you haven’t read the series then you are getting first-hand knowledge to their lives and the struggles they have endured giving you more insight as you go into the series. It works fine either way. No matter how you choose the order of your reading, it still is a sweet addition to the storylines. First up is:
EXPECTED LIES – Darrek and Kyle are best friends in high school and it is time for prom. Darrek is excited about going and is trying hard to convince Kyle to go with him. Of course, what Darrek doesn’t know is Kyle already knows he likes boys instead of girls. He can’t find a way to break the news to his best friend so he makes up a few lies to go around the issue. He has someone lined up to spend the evening with. He can’t help it if Darrek assumes it’s a girl.
Back at the prom, however, Darrek realizes he should have stayed with his best friend. These kids will come and go but he will always have his friend. Find out what happens when Darrek shows up early to spend the rest of his evening with Kyle? Misconception about more than one topic comes to the forefront. Will the boys be brave enough to tell their inner most secrets with each other?
DIVINE SURRENDER – Years ahead now, Kyle is looking for a Dom. Someone who is trustworthy, experienced and knows how to give him the things he needs. Things he is unable to give to himself. He sets up a meeting with Ben to see for himself if they have a connection. Ben is intrigued immediately with Kyle and after discussing the do’s and don’ts, what they each expect from the other, they sign a contract. Kyle lives by himself, he doesn’t have any close friends other that Darrek, but he hasn’t even kept in touch with him as much as he should have. He still has nightmares from a childhood experience, something he shares with Darrek, even though Darrek seems to have forgotten or blocked out most of it. Maybe it’s time to get his act together, finally take the plunge for what he needs sexually. He misses Darrek so much, but there are things working on Kyle’s mind that he is unable to share with anyone. Hopefully, now with Ben, those things will change.
Ben is beyond thrilled with having Kyle as his new sub. Gabriel tries to get information from Ben about him but he keeps it close to his chest what he really thinks about him. Kyle is due in for a session and Ben has a plan, with the help of Gabriel, to test his boundaries. Kyle has fallen backwards too many times turning to pills, dangerous sex, or just getting lost in his own head, that he really wants help. He feels certain that Ben is just the man to help him. Will Ben be able to give Kyle what he needs? And if he does, will Ben be able to stay professional about it, or has he fallen too quickly for the beautiful blonde man he now calls his sub?
NEVER HAPPENED – Gabriel has many demons of his own. He was saved close to 10 years ago by Gabriel and Trace. They gave him a home and something to cling to when he wasn’t sure where his next meal would come from. Through the years, Gabriel has worked his way inside Diadem, the BDSM club owned by Trace and up the ladder to where he is now a professional Dom, as well. Ben has always had a part of Gabriel and vice versa. That connection they share will never change. Gabriel can’t help feeling lonely, more so now than ever, since Ben has his own sub, Kyle.
Gabriel knows how to get on Ben’s bad side, something he seems to be doing a lot of lately. He’s not fooling Ben. He knows exactly what he is doing. Ben decides to play his game, but in doing so, he gives Gabriel what he needs. He needs to be dominated by Ben, worked over, and find release. Whether that is sexually or mentally, Ben will make that distinction himself. He has always known what Gabe needs, he knows how to push, how to read his signals. Regardless if Ben has his own sub now, he will not push Gabriel away or leave him to stumble on his own. Unbeknownst to them, Kyle witnesses their session. Struggling with his own feelings and reservations, he tries to do as Ben asks. Will they both be able to get what they need from Ben? Or will there be too many hurt feelings and bad mistakes to get past?
PLEASURE OR PARADISE – Gabriel and Darrek have been together two years now. After experiencing some horrible tragedies, they decide to take a break from the real world and just be together, the two of them. Everyday life has a way of intruding and before you realize you are just going along with the motions. Gabriel and Darrek agree they need time together. They want to re-energize their relationship, go back to how they were when they first came together. Taking a few months off from the real world, Gabriel and Darrek go to a tropical island in the Florida Keys. The resort is for fulltime 24/7 master/slave relationships. Everyone at the island is in the same situation. What makes the island so special, there’s no judgement or incrimination because everyone is in a Dom/Sub relationship.
Gabriel needs to push Darrek, change things up, and help him to remember what it is that makes them so special to each other. Darrek finds that even after 2 years Gabriel can still bring him to his knees, literally, with a look or a simple word. To keep from going stagnant within their relationship Gabriel tries to help Darrek come to terms with some of his hang-ups. Public viewing being one of them, but Gabriel has a plan, one he feels sure will help Darrek step out in front of all the eyes on the island. Of course, what goes around comes around. Darrek will get his time as well when they trade off positions. Will Darrek be able to do what Gabe wants him to do? He is struggling with the scene Gabriel has laid out for him. This will take all of his courage if he goes through with it. It also could strengthen their relationship, something they need desperately. Will Darrek go through with Gabe’s plan, and if he does, how will he get back at Gabriel for putting him in such an embarrassing situation?
ESCAPE – In this story, we have the previous lives of Jacen and Liam who we got to know in Whatever the Cost. Liam convinces Jacen to tell him about his abusive and torturous past. They both go under new names and identity now that they have moved on but to go back into that world, even just in their minds, is a hard thing to do.
Travis, now Jacen, back at home in his mind, tells of the struggles and mind games he had to endure as a teenager. All to the horrible, demeaning actions of his neighbour. Afraid for himself, his brother, and his family, Travis goes along with the abuse thinking he is saving the others. It was hard reading this, as no one wants to experience or be a witness to this type of sickness. However, Travis experienced it, lived it, and was brave enough to do something about it, therefore, making me want to be there for his journey. Liam is there, holding him tightly, as he subjects himself, once again, to that time in his life. He is a very brave, smart, and kind soul who, with the help of his beautiful and wonderful Liam, can now move on with his life and the future they make for themselves, together.
TRICK AND TRUTH – This story follows along with Avery and Timothy and their time in the foster care system. The boys are young and pretty much have to take care of themselves. The foster parents are in it for the money and very seldom see to the care or needs of the boys. Timothy is quite sick and not able to get out of bed often. Avery knows he needs medicine and the only way he can think to get it for him is prostituting himself for money. How hard could it be? His housemate, Jimmy, does it all the time. So with some of Jimmy’s make up and his wardrobe, Avery sets out to do what he feels he has no other choice, and that is to save Timmy, whatever the cost may be to him.
Avery succeeds in getting medicine but Timmy questions him profusely about how he was able to get it. It’s tearing him up thinking Avery may have done something horrible on his behalf. Avery cannot bring himself to tell what he went through, even though it will haunt him, to get the much needed medicine. He knows right now, with Jimmy’s failing health, it is better to lie than to upset him.
Will Avery convince him he didn’t do anything inappropriately to get the medicine? If Timmy doesn’t take the medicine, he will only get worse and that is something Avery cannot deal with. He cannot lose his Timmy, even if he has to lie.
BETWEEN HERE AND THERE – The boys have aged out of the foster care system and are now on their own. Avery and Jimmy struggle to make ends meet but they are in it together, no matter what happens. Avery is having a hard time keeping thoughts at bay as he continually remembers seeing Timmy with other guys. He even allows him to take a picture of him blissed out after incredible sex for his own. Something he can keep and look at. He definitely doesn’t want anyone else to see it, but Timmy thinks differently.
Avery feels it is important for both of them to start using condoms. Timmy has put them in some bad situations so to keep things from getting worse. He hands over a condom for Timmy to use. They both know what the other is thinking but he puts it on anyway. He will do whatever is necessary to protect the person that means more to him than anything.
Lynn Kelling has put together seven stories to further complete her Deliver Us series and Whatever the Cost. She has given us a deeper insight into all the characters’ lives and the struggles they faced getting away and into a better life. I don’t normally read anthologies, mainly because I like longer, stories that are more involved. However, for me, this was a must read.
It is a remarkable gift when an author gives us more history to go along with the stories we already love so much. I have really enjoyed going through each one of these and having some questions answered and basically getting to know each one on a deeper level. Lynn has created many amazing and beautiful characters within her series and to have a chance to only increase what we already know was quite a bonus.
As I mentioned earlier, if you haven’t read the main stories already, having this beforehand will only give you a much better understanding of where they are now. Lynn Kelling is an incredible author who devotes a lot of herself, her time, and research to give us the best she can in her books. You only have to read one to figure that out. So, if you haven’t read any, I would strongly encourage you to go for it. If you have read her books, again I would strongly encourage you to pick up this anthology and savour it, like fine wine, for the gift it is.