Velvet Glove, Vol 2 by Sean Michael

Velvet Glove, Vol 2 by Sean Michael
Stars: 4/5

While probably my least favorite of the volumes, it isn't saying much (or else it says alot) since I still gave it 4 stars. This volume didn't feel as fresh or creative as the first and fourth, although it has its moments (like when Jewel is tempted by his old life and when Daniel shatters the glasses). The stories are still good, although I recommend pacing yourself during the reading.

The Misadventures of Daniel and Zane
While Daniel is not as spoiled as Love from Vol. 1, he does have an attitude, creating a nice struggle between him and Zane. His attitude is mostly due to his fear of not being seen, and as Zane begins to show Daniel how much he is seen, the bond between the two men grows. This is a hot start to the book, but doesn't forget to be tender and sweet too, as we are so often given.

A Bird in the Hand
A unique story among the Velvet Glove bunch, A Bird in Hand follows Kestrel and Jim as they court. Unlike the other BDSM stories in the series, this is solely a romance between Kestrel, who helps Mal run The Velvet Glove, and Jim, a bartender. No whips, no paddles, no kink. It's a sweet break from the heavy emotions that normally get tied into Michael's stories.

Touch and Trust
Sampson, who has saved up all his money for a year membership, meets Alain, long-time member and a sub who is looking for someone permanent, having lost his previous lover some time ago. Alain is still struggling to come to terms with being alone and Sampson is there to help him find a happy middle ground.

The one negative is that Sampson has a speech impediment, where he "um" and "ah" a lot. While I give props to Michael for having a character with this, it can be disruptive for the reader, although it depends on reading style.

Two Men for Two Twins
Rivan and Kytan are twins who live together in an equal sexual relationship, but they both yearn to have their own subs. Rivan finds Jewel working the streets and brings him in, having to bread him of a drug habit and overcome his feelings of self-disgust and low self-esteem. Kytan is given Hinton, who witnessed his parents' horrific deaths and has fallen into a self mutilating habit that has escalated to dangerous proportions.

This is my favorite of the bunch, being longer and more thorough in the character developments. While BDSM shouldn't be in place of therapy, in Hinton's case it's hand-waved as being a last resort as medication (and assumedly therapy) haven't worked. It's thin ice, but this is a fantasy novel, so I give some leniency. I would have liked Hinton to have struggled a little more; he felt "cured" a little too easily in some ways.

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