Blurb: On the surface, Ben seems to have it all: money, influence, good looks. He smiles and jokes in all the right places, but it’s all a façade. Inside he’s a wreck, and it’s only getting worse. With his Congressman father using Ben’s recent kidnapping for his own political agenda, and Ben still struggling to get over the only guy he’s ever loved, he feels like he’s losing his grip on reality and he’s quickly spiraling out of control.
Then he meets Dante, an enigma of a man with as much self-hatred as Ben has. In Dante, Ben finds what he didn’t know he needed: Dante’s control, his power, is the only thing that clears the fog in Ben’s brain. For the first time in his life, Ben has a lover who just might need Ben as much as Ben needs him. When they’re together, the demons from their pasts don’t lurk so heavily on their shoulders.
But Dante can’t fix him. Not when a memory from Ben’s past is haunting him in ways he doesn’t understand, waiting for him to put together the missing pieces in his head…and what he discovers just might have the power to break him for good.
Review: Ben finally gets his story inLosing Control, by Riley Hart. This is the 3rd book in the series and I would strongly encourage you to read them in order. However, I do believe this could be read as a standalone and get along just fine.
Now…about the story.
I had no idea Ben was so troubled. I knew he cared for Tristan which was evident in Full Circle, but I didn’t know how deep-rooted his feelings were. Also, he is struggling and I mean REALLY struggling with the aftermath of his “quote…unquote” kidnapping that turned into a bloody mess with Javier and Mateo from book 2.
Losing Control picks up a few months after the ordeal with Javier but Ben hasn’t moved forward. In fact, he has retreated into himself quite a bit. He took leave of absence from his job. He has no friends other than Tristan who is busy building his own life with his two men. Ben doesn’t want to be reminded that Tristan will never be his like he wanted.
Tristan never loved Ben the way Ben loved him and he is having a really hard time grasping life with that knowledge.
It had always been Tristan and that knowledge continued to screw with him. After all this time he should be over the man. Should have been a long time ago. The weakness ate away at his insides but he still couldn’t stop it. Couldn’t stop letting Tristan wreck him.
After the kidnapping, Ben told his family about his sexuality. He hates his father, his mother is a poor excuse who drowns her own sorrows in a bottle and the bloodbath with Javier has taken Ben back into his mind to think about his sister. A sister who committed suicide and for whatever reasons that Ben can’t remember he blames himself for her death as well. He was only a small child but he remembers the blood, her pleas for help and it is destroying Ben.
The only way Ben is able to drown these visions and voices in his head is the have sex. Sex with strangers, sex in clubs where he becomes a Dom and gives pain to whomever is willing. All of these things that used to work for Ben, that offered even a small bit of peace, are no longer working. He is losing his mind and everything around him is closing in.
Dante has his own pain and hardships. He immediately recognizes the same signs in Ben one night in the club. He knows what it feels like to hate yourself and he sees all the same signs in Ben. They are like a kindred spirit in this regard and both are suffering from loss and devastation. Dante knows he can help Ben, give him something to cling to for his sanity, however, it will be Dante’s way or no way. He’s not looking for love or a relationship. He doesn’t want to save anyone. He will take away Ben’s control, his wants and desires, and only give to him what he feels necessary. If Ben is willing and will adhere to his demands maybe they can help each other.
This story was a lot different from anything Riley has written so far, in my opinion. She really exposes the emotions of Ben that are raw and bleeding. He is a sinking ship and a few times I wondered if he could even find his way back. Dante isn’t any better. He is pretty much closed mouth unless it is to control Ben. One thing Dante does and he deserves recognition for it, he always tells Ben how much he wants him and how sexy he is. I really like when the characters open up and express their feelings and desires.
This story was like a punch in the gut. There was so much pain and anguish, flashbacks from troubled childhoods, devastation even though they were by Ben’s own hands and his own way of thinking. Ben is deteriorating right in front of everyone, yet no one sees him but Dante. He’s not eating, he’s not sleeping, and he can’t get an erection which really throws him into a tailspin. He is digging his own grave with his actions and you can’t help but wonder if the call will be coming that says can you identify his body in the morgue.
This is not a romance story even though there is a HEA. There won’t be long talks in the bed arm in arm wasting the day away with each other. As a matter of fact they can’t seem to get out of the bed fast enough and out the door as soon as the sex is over. With that said, there is love in this story. You will see how much Ben loved his sister and why it is destroying him now. You will see Dante pour out his soul as he tells about the one he couldn’t save.
The one he loved but couldn’t pull from the darkness. It becomes even clearer why he is so standoffish with Ben. There will be no big declarations of I LOVE YOU’s but as I said there is a happy ever after so they find peace with themselves and each other.
One thing is really bothering me though. Since book 2, Ben and Tristan, Mateo and Josiah have come to a better understanding.
They are friends as much as they can be and Ben respects Tristan, the decisions he’s made and the men he loves. In book 2… (Why I suggested you read them in order) Mateo does what he has to in order to save them all. He takes out the bad guy because it had to happen.
I understood that, felt a huge relief when that was over. I don’t however understand his motives in this story. I’m trying hard not to give away any spoilers so I’m sure this makes absolutely no sense to anyone who hasn’t read the story yet. Mateo does what he feels is necessary and they let him. This isn’t vigilante justice, IDK maybe it’s just me. Maybe I didn’t understand it right.
Anyhoooooo….Riley is a great storyteller. She is one of my favorite authors and an auto-buy for me. Even though this book was different, I kinda like that. Not knowing what to expect or how the story will play out always ups the anticipation. There was a lot of angst in this story, a lot of things we didn’t really know what was going on until much later in the book. The execution of the plot I felt was handled seamlessly.
She takes us back to Ben’s childhood, back to his college days and his days with Tristan. As the story unfolds and more facts are brought to light you have to give the author a lot of credit and respect for her originality and creativity. The twists and turns, at times, seem endless and before you know it you are at the end.
Everything has a place and time and by the end you see it all, you smile and feel elated for all of them and where they are in their life, now. They all are at peace, they all have the love they have searched a long time for and it is truly a happy and loving place.