T.A. Webb's Reviews > Vessel

Vessel by Mickie B. Ashling
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Oct 27, 11

Read in October, 2011

In "Cutting Cords", we meet Sloan and Cole, two young men who become reluctant roommates through the machinations of their fathers, former major league baseball players. Sloan has a nasty drug habit, and is a cutter (a person who self mutilates in order to deal with emotional issues). Cole is a bi-racial (half Japanese) young man, living in New York, suffering from retinitis pigmentosa, which will leave him blind in a matter of months or years. Cole is struggling with family expectations, fear, and a burgeoning attraction to Sloan.

As Sloan struggles with his own self worth, complicated by Cole's hot and cold emotions and unwillingness to acknowledge himself as a gay man and being in a homosexual relationship, he navigates an attraction to a Dom who misreads him as a pain loving submissive. Eventually Sloan and Cole end up together, Sloan becomes a successful model, and Cole adjusts to losing his sight.

This book picks up the story five years after the relationship begins. Cole is completely blind, a professor at NYU and contemplating starting a family with a surrogate. Sloan is a very successful model, healthy and no longer cutting, happy in his relationship with Cole. Then Cole's father hires a surrogate, a geisha, to bear Cole's child/ren, and Sloan is left out of the decision making process.

Where in the previous book, Cole is treated as a troubled and rather rigid man, he becomes almost a caricature of the man he was. He is unreasonable, haughty, uncaring and vacillates between being domineering and crying about losing Sloan. All of his credibility as a character is lost, in my opinion.

Sloan grows as a man, and I like a lot of the changes we are treated to with him. When he finds out on how many levels Cole has betrayed on and has lied to him, he immediately trashes a five year relationship and jumps into bed with a model who is a Dom, constantly spouting off how much he dislikes D/s and finds it abhorrent. I just don't buy it!

And then Trent. He is the model/Dom/investment broker/special forces ranger (yeah) who knows Sloan is in a committed relationship yet constantly comes on to him, when he sees the first opportunity, almost rapes Sloan. There is a lot of dubious consent, in my opinion. For Trent to pay lip services to the tenet that D/s requires a power exchange and trust, he certainly violates the trust he demands. And why should Sloan trust this man? He doesn't even know him. Within hours of breaking up with Cole, Trent has him in his bed, bound and is having sex.

The biggest issue I have with the book is at the end, when Trent asks Sloan to let him assist him in cutting. Using this very serious mental health issue as another means to get him in bed, he combines erotic knife play with Sloan's very real cutting issue. Now Sloan associates this maladjusted coping mechanism with sexual pleasure. Very nice work, you sleazy Dom.

It feels like Ms. Ashling cannot decide whether Trent is a hero or villain. I find him despicable. And contemptible.

I can see there will be a third book in this series. I will seriously have to think about whether I will trust Ms. Ashling to treat these characters with any integrity and read it. I feel as betrayed as Sloan.

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Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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message 1: by Simsala (new)

Simsala Thanks for the review,Tom.The sleazy Dom did it - I will stay far,far away from this series!

T.A. Webb I loved the first book. This one bothers me a LOT!!!



message 3: by Kioo (new) - rated it 1 star

Kioo I completely agree with your review.

T.A. Webb Thanks, Kioo. I loved the first book, but this one really disturbed me!

message 5: by L'marie (new) - added it

L'marie What a shame. I really enjoyed reading the first book. I love angst but even I couldn’t read this book based on the info in your review and several others. The third book is coming out next month and I’m torn. I hate leaving a series unfinished so I’ll probably end up reading this one at some point and buying the next one.

T.A. Webb I know - I will read the third to try to get the taste of this one out of my mouth. If you follow my reviews, you know this is a hard thing for me to do. But the first one was just so damned good. And I adore Ms. Ashling's writing and her other books. I read the blurb for the third book, and can see there's a happy ending coming. But I have this sense of betrayal. But, in real life, this is probably how it would go.

message 7: by Gaa-chan (new) - added it

Gaa-chan I'm so disappointed. ;( I loved the first book. Thank you for your review, Tom.

T.A. Webb Thanks. Just so you know, I HATED book three with a passion like the sun.

message 9: by Katherine (new)

Katherine So after reading the reviews for books two and three, I'm going to pretend Cole and Sloan get a HEA and Never read the rest of the series!

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