Brio is Ash's partner in the company that makes the artificial intelligence software that is the key to Delphic Agency's success. But where Ash is a Dom, Brio is submissive, and almost dangerously so. When his needs aren't met, he starts engaging in risky behavior. What Brio needs is a really good Dom, but so far Ash and the Delphic Agency haven't had much luck finding one that can handle the genius's erratic needs. Painter has been a highly successful escort for the agency for many years, but he avoids long term contracts and steadfastly refuses to consider kink work, even though it's much higher paying, and the agency's AI suggests he has a high aptitude for domination. It takes a lot of convincing to get Painter to give it a try, but can he ever be the Dom that Brio needs?
“Paid to Take Control” builds on the possible near-future scenario set up in the first book of the series, Paid to Kneel, where prostitution is no longer illegal, but highly regulated through companies like the Delphic Agency. As such, you'll want to have read the first book before reading this one, even though the focus is on two different characters. The two protagonists from the first book, Ash and Richard, do play significant supporting roles in this story.
The character of Brio is rather key to this story. He's initially painted as a “dangerous” sub, which I always find a little hard to grasp. It's difficult to get a good picture of someone whose tastes in kink are so extreme that you can't find any common ground with them. However, as we get to know Brio, it becomes clearer that the challenge he presents isn't so much that he tends to the extreme, but that his needs can swing wildly from one thing to another, and when he wants to, Brio can unleash his considerable psychological skills to cut a Dom down to size.
Painter is also a complicated character, although perhaps a little easier to empathize with. The Doms in these stories are usually experienced and full of confidence, completely embracing that aspect of their personality. Painter, on the other hand, tries to deny his dominant side, and even once it's clear he has one, he still tries to keep it strictly controlled. It all makes a rather pleasant change from the rather cliché story line of perfect-dom-meets-perfect-sub.
One of the things about the basic premise of this series, so far at least, is that there's a built-in turning point when the escort's contractual obligation to the client ends, and the two need to decide if there's more to their relationship than just sexual compatibility. It adds a bit of predictability to what will happen, but it also eliminates the need for any artificial dramatic events to drive the plot to its conclusion. With most books like this, there's not much doubt where things will end up. The fun part is how they get there.
“Paid to Take Control” is available from Amazon.