Wednesday, March 28, 2018

No Pain, No Gain by Ari McKay Blog Tour

Hunter Callahan loved being a merc. As an explosives expert for Lawson & Greer, he’s dealt with everything from IEDs to rogue nukes. But when a suicide bomber in the form of a seven-year-old boy walks into camp, Hunter learns there are some fates far worse than death.

Payne Gibson recognizes the “thousand yard stare” of the PTSD Hunter refuses to acknowledge, and as a natural caretaker, he can’t resist when his boss, Cade “Hercules” Thornton, asks him to help. Hunter is resistant until their surveillance assignment turns dangerous, and Hunter realizes he’s in danger of losing his career, the only thing in his life that matters to him anymore.

Conventional therapy hasn’t worked, so Payne suggests an unorthodox form of therapy: BDSM. As a Dom, Payne thinks he can help Hunter face the issues he’s been avoiding. Having come to trust Payne and knowing his career is on the line, Hunter agrees to try.

Their relationship as Dom and sub deepens more than either of them expected. Payne knows adding emotions into the mix is dangerous, but he can’t help it when Hunter is both the man and the sub Payne has hoped to find. But Hunter doesn’t feel he deserves love, not when his best friend is dead because of him, leaving behind a wife and child to mourn – and to blame Hunter for their loss.

Payne can help Hunter to stare into the abyss… but what stares back might be more intense than either of them can handle.

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Book 7
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Avid Reader☆☆☆☆
M/M Romance
Triggers: Click HERE to see Avid Reader’s review on Goodreads for trigger warnings.

Hunter is suffering from PTSD. Despite him knowing this is happening to him, he doesn't really know how to ask for help. He is also suffering from surviving a terrible war situation. He is hired on to a security firm in the interim, before he's allowed to go back to disarming bombs, but while there, he's assigned a partner, Payne. Hunter is immediately put off by having to jump through hoops in order to go back to work. He has a chip on his shoulder that makes him act like a child.

Payne is used to people underestimating him. He isn't a huge guy, but his training and nature make up for his stature. Payne is also a dom and has helped a few fellow teammates with getting past painful situations. Payne has also had the help of a fellow dom when he himself has difficult cases. When he sees how much Hunter is hurting, he suggests that potentially BDSM is a more effective therapy for Hunter.

What follows is their journey to healing, friendship, acceptance, and love. I did think that Hunter and Payne had a fairly quick transformation. I didn't get great chemistry from them, but it was adequate. I did wish to have more of a development in their relationship, but it focused mainly on the healing that Hunter had to go through. But, I did enjoy the story and liked it well enough.

I will start this out by saying I have not read any of the other books in the series; there were a few times they referred to people or things from previous books, but I didn't feel like I was missing anything and enjoyed it as a stand-alone book. I was just coming off from reading a really depressing book and the beginning of this book made me so sad and I was hoping I wouldn't become depressed reading this one, but I didn't. This story was well put together and the characters were amazing. I loved Payne instantly, he was funny, sassy, and adorable. Hunter was damaged but so wonderful when he let down his walls. I loved how Hunter was finally able to let his walls down and ask for help and actually give it a chance to work. This was a beautiful story between Payne and Hunter, and them learning to deal with Hunter and his past and building something amazing together. Lots of hot sexy times too! I just might go back and read the others in this series because I enjoyed this book so much!

ARI MCKAY is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure. Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as two historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and Finding Forgiveness. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge watching TV shows together.

Arionrhod is a systems engineer by day who is eagerly looking forward to (hopefully) becoming a full-time writer in the not-too-distant future. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attentions to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.

McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of No Pain, No Gain (Herc’s Mercs #7) by Ari McKay to read and review for this tour.

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