Intoxicating pretty much vacillates between two settings, holy-cow-that’s-a-lot-of-sex and heartbreaking trauma. So it’s basically one hell of a ride.
There’s two ways of reading this book. You can go the superficial route and focus on all the nakey while reveling in the dramatics that is Wyatt’s crappy situation. Or you can choose to appreciate it as the portrayal of a traumatized and abused individual that copes with his pain in an unusual way. I did the latter.
Blurb: So, there’s Wyatt, young and closeted, who’s been abused and neglected by his parents pretty much his entire life. The more or less diabolical father happens to be a conservative senator who is trying to be re-elected. Then there’s Lincoln – Linc – who’s hired to keep Wyatt out of trouble. Linc, an ex Marine, expects a brat, but he soon discovers there’s so much more to Wyatt than that. Linc sees Wyatt’s coping strategies – alcohol, pills and self-harm – for what they are and wants nothing more than to help his beautiful client. It’s clear that Wyatt needs discipline, and Linc is the perfect person to give it.
So, this is a Daddy-kink story. And I quite literally cringe every time I read the word daddy in a sexual context. And yet I liked this book. A lot. I tried to ignore the D-word whenever it occured, and in doing so I could fully appreciate Wyatt’s and Linc’s dynamics. Because all other aspects of their relationship just gave me the warm fuzzies. The way Linc cares for Wyatt in every way, trying to protect him. Both from himself and from his father. It’s beyond loving.
I also liked how, despite all of the shenanigans in this read, it wasn’t just gratuitous sex. It was a way for Wyatt to cope. For Linc to get Wyatt out of his own head, to give him some sense of peace in a life that’s threatening to spiral out of control. I thought that was a an interesting justification for the amount of dicking going on.
There was a lot to work through in this story. All of Wyatt’s past and on-going trauma was exhausting to process, but I think James handled it pretty good. The main focus wasn’t on the past, instead it was on how it all effected Wyatt in the here and now. And how Linc was there trying to help him through it. I really liked that the story didn’t offer excessive details about the abuse Wyatt suffered. It was horrible enough, the glimpses that were shown.
Something that I thought was completely unnecessary was Linc’s PTSD. It was just too much for this short read. It already contained soooo many different angles, adding PTSD on top of that just felt excessive. Especially since it was hardly addressed at all in the story, and apart from Linc’s very first nightmare, it didn’t add anything to the storyline.
To summarize, this is a great story though emotionally exhausting, so it’s well worth reading if you can handle a vicious father, all kinds of abuse (including sexual) and self-harm bordering on attempted suicide. There’s so many triggers in this read it’s crazy.
What I can’t decide on though is the realism of a story like this, I’m not an American. But I have such a hard time envisioning such intense bigotry and hate being an actual thing this day in age. However, I do know there is conversion therapy still in use. How that can possibly be legal is beyond me, but then I look at the current POTUS and if that can happen, maybe the story in this book isn’t so far-fetched after all.