Wednesday, August 29, 2018

No Way Out by Julie Lynn Hayes

Wyatt Findley is an up-and-coming artist, attending a prestigious art institute in St. Louis. His mentor, Lukas Callahan, has snagged a sweet house-sitting job for him in a gorgeous home in a well-to-do part of town. Wyatt can’t help but notice two men who live just across the street.

They make an odd couple, since there must be a good twenty years difference between them. And yet there is something about the younger man that calls to Wyatt.

Shylor Lind has been living with Randy Grant for fifteen years, ever since Grant hired Shy’s mother as his live-in housekeeper. But five years ago, their relationship changed when Shy’s mother sold him to Grant and took the money and ran. Since then, Randy has been training Shy to be his submissive, dominating him in every way. There is nothing Shy can do about the situation, and he has nowhere to go, no one to turn to.

And then Wyatt enters his life… and nothing will ever be the same, as Wyatt engages in a battle for Shy’s very soul.

The author is donating 10% of the royalties from this book to No Kid Hungry.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

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

This book is not for someone who is easily offended by controlling people. While there are some redeemers in this story, it is, for the most part, watching someone be horribly abused. You have been warned.

Randy owns Shylor (Shy). There is no nice way to phrase that. He bought Shy and since then, Shy has only known one way of living... surviving. He is in constant fear and knows that even though his owner tricks everyone else, the true Randy behind closed doors. This Randy is cruel and controlling, wicked and evil. But, with nobody else in his life, Shy has nobody else to turn to.

When Wyatt sees the odd couple outside, he notices that Shy has been doing the same task for quite some time. He wonders to himself why that would be. When he wanders over there, Shy's demeanor calls to him. He knows that something isn't quite right but can't put his finger on it.

The kindness in this story shown by Wyatt was monumental to Shy. Shy has never experienced being asked what he wants or his opinion on anything. He has never been given a choice of whether or not to accept physical touch and never been given affection. Wyatt vows to protect Shy and when an opportunity presents itself, Wyatt knows that despite being told not to fall for Shy, he can't help himself.

I wish that this story had more about the secondary character's actions and Shy's ability to climb out of the hole his life had been. Instead, this is more about watching Wyatt tease Shy's personality from its shell. There are very obvious abuse scenarios, but you never quite see the abuse. Overall, this is about finding and standing up for someone who might not be able to do so for themselves. It also hints that perhaps there might be more to it – is Randy truly gone? Who knows. But I do hope that we get to see Wyatt and Shy more in a different book – perhaps one with a secondary character taking the lead.

It's been nearly a week since I finished No Way Out and Shy’s story is still with me. I’m not quite sure what I expected when I began the book, but I know I wasn’t expecting the story I got and that’s not a bad thing. This book is tagged as a BDSM novel and it is, but it isn’t. Much of the BDSM shown is purposely shown as what a BDSM relationship should not be. Randy isn’t a bad dom, he’s not a dom at all. He’s a sadistic, evil man who uses the title of dom to justify the things he does to Shy and because Shy doesn’t know any better, Randy gets away with it.

To the outside world, Shy appears to be Randy’s much younger lover; in the BDSM club Randy frequents, they appear to be in a Master-slave relationship. In reality, Randy bought Shy from his mother when he was only fifteen and began training the young man to be his submissive – or rather, his twisted idea of what a submissive should be. When Wyatt invades Shy’s carefully constructed and controlled world, neither man has any idea of the domino effect a neighborly hello will unleash. I spent most of the book with my heart breaking for Shy. Because of my field of study, I have an understanding of the unspoken amount of behavior modification Shy endured from the moment he stepped foot into Randy’s house at the tender age of five. I suspect some readers will question why he didn’t just leave Randy, but Shy is no different than the elephant harnessed by a heavy chain around a single foot – they were taught at an early age that there was no escape, so they never question it. That’s why it takes a major incident for Shy to finally exhibit the first sign of autonomy and a desire to escape Randy. And make no mistake, it would be an escape.

Fortunately for Shy, Wyatt is more than ready to be a part of his life and help him escape Randy once he understands the situation the young man is in. This is where I get back to this being a BDSM book, but not. The skewed Master-slave relationship between Randy and Shy isn’t BDSM, it’s abuse and probably a form of human trafficking. However, there is a very light dose of domination and submission that takes place between Wyatt and Shy. This is the other part of the story that I found fascinating because Wyatt must step outside of his comfort zone in order to give Shy what he needs to break free of all of Randy’s chains. Shy is one of those characters who, due to his upbringing, I can’t quite determine if his submission is natural or if it was beaten into him. At the end of the day, it didn’t matter because when Shy’s world gets tipped on its head, Wyatt does what he must in order to give Shy what he needs. It was the slow, thoughtful manner with which Wyatt and Shy become friends, then how Wyatt becomes Shy’s anchor, protector, and teacher, and how their relationship continues to morph until they become more that kept me glued to my Kindle. For me, No Way Out was a riveting read. Yes, Shy’s transformation occurred quicker than it would have in reality, but Hayes made it believable in the page count she had to work with and without dragging the story out. Not to mention, I wanted Shy to break free sooner rather than later so that he had a chance to start a life with Wyatt and hopefully find his happy ending. Usually I reserve a five-star rating for books I’m likely to read again, and although I’m unsure if I’ll read it again, the fact that it’s still on my mind a week later means No Way Out is a five-star read for me.

JULIE LYNN HAYES was reading at the age of two and writing by the age of nine and always wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Two marriages, five children, and more than forty years later, that is still her dream. She blames her younger daughters for introducing her to yaoi and the world of M/M love, a world which has captured her imagination and her heart and fueled her writing in ways she’d never dreamed of before. She especially loves stories of two men finding true love and happiness in one another’s arms and is a great believer in happily ever after.

She lives in St. Louis with her daughter Sarah and her cat Ramesses, loves books and movies, and hopes to be a world traveler someday. She enjoys crafts, such as crocheting and cross-stitch, knitting and needlepoint, and loves to cook. While working a temporary day job, she continues to write her books and stories and reviews, which she posts in various places on the Internet. Her family thinks she is a bit off, but she doesn’t mind. Marching to the beat of one’s own drummer is a good thing, after all.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of No Way Out by Julie Lynn Hayes to read and review.

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