Whatever He Needs by Mia Kerrick
Release Date: May 4th
When I picked this up, I was in the mood for some serious hurt-comfort goodness. And the blurb was really promising too. A young man (Dimmy) taken advantage of by his father, forced to work as a go-go dancer and worse. Then being “saved” by the rich, closeted guy (Liam). That’s some yummy guilty pleasure right there.
Overall, there’s a very black-and-white portrayal of the characters which gave the story a bit of an exaggerated fairy-tale vibe. Think Cinderella, but instead of the stepmother forcing Cinderella to clean, sew and cook, it was Dimmy’s father making him dance and give strange men nude massages while taking all of the money for himself.
Despite that, the read did deliver in many ways, however, I found the writing to be a bit uneven. But the story evolved and, sure, it was predictable in some ways, yet it ended up taking some surprising turns. It also offered more complexity and character development than I expected from the initial first few chapters. It’s like the story, and the writing, hit its stride about 25% in.
This first part of the story, with the over the top evil that Dimmy’s father represented, took away some of the credibility, which in turn actually lowered the angst. Because in the face of such extreme cruelty and callousness, Dimmy’s failure to realize that he was being used just made him appear… less smart. It was more than naïveté (which I’m guessing is what Kerrick was going for) that made a 19-year old accept that he’d need to practically starve, dance all night and also be pimped out – “because money was tight” – by his dad the club-owner.
Liam and Dimmy might be an unlikely couple, but it was more the way they met that made their connection seem shallow at first. On Liam’s part, it was insta-lust. For Dimmy though, it felt more like he was starved for affection – the non-sexual kind – and therefore accepted Liam’s attempts to get close. In other terms, it was a very unequal relationship. Which is the second part of the story. It’s where the (very mild, mind you) daddy-kink was introduced. And to me, it just felt wrong. Dimmy managed to escape from his abusive dad only to end up in an equally dependent relationship with Liam.
Thankfully it didn’t stay that way. In the third and last part, everything is resolved; Liam’s inconsiderate treatment of Dimmy and fear of stepping out of the closet. Dimmy’s insecurities and low self-esteem. And the douche of a dad who gets what he deserves.
Basically, it’s a fairy tale ending to this modern, M/M, NSFW fairy-tale. It’s an entertaining read with occasional steam, and if you get past the overdone beginning, it’s quite all right. 3.5 stars.
* A free copy of this book was provided by Gay Romance Reviews *