Painting Fire on the Air - J.P. Barnaby JP Baranby’s writing could permeate even the hardest of hearts, this is an excellent story that will stay with you, a journey of two men that have broken hearts for different reasons, finding what had for so long evaded them was really right there all along.

This is the second book in the survivor stories, they are not connected so can be read as stand alones but what they both have in common is the main characters Aaron from book one and Ben from this book are survivors, both having lost someone they love to a heinous crime and how the guilt that comes with that loss and their own survival festers and mentally becomes an unbearable burden.


I will sit and castigate myself yet again, that I have not read all of JP Barnaby’s work… why? Because she is a remarkably gifted writer and her talent lies in her character development and ability to create that emotional connection that binds you to them. I empathised with Jude and Ben, became invested in every minute detail of their lives as though it were my own. Ms. Barnaby feeds information in such a way that my heart was bleeding for these two characters, I laughed, cried, shouted a few profanities along with them and was overwhelmed at her capacity to create such intensity and emotion all through her literary skills… and the sex, well, hose me down now! With Kage, it was fierce, raw and powerful as the BDSM scenes were played and with Jude and Ben, together, there was an intimacy and sensuality that intensified what was already between them… I just love it all!!!

In the prologue, we meet Ben in a scene with his Dom, Kage, enduring the pain his body and mind crave, we see deep into the soul of this man that feels it is a penance, that he deserves the intolerable pain he receives at the hands of his Dom, but the abuse to his body fails to to dissipate the agonising ache, a constant that overwhelms his heart, but for Ben it is a moment of oblivion and a way to control the nightmares that plague him, and his way of dealing with keeping those demons at bay.

Kage is… well, I am lost for words as to how pissed off I was with that man! I wasn’t particularly enamoured from the start, they have a Dom/sub contract, an arrangement based on needs and sexual desire, with a distinct lack of emotion. Ben’s body is a slave to what Kage can give him which is just something else he feels guilt over… the utter disgust with himself for his depravity.

Kage sliced the flogger through the space between them, creating spiralling torrents of light and color like an Olympic gymnast twirling a blazing flame, Kage painted fire on the air.

Ben see’s himself as broken, a failure but to me he was just a frightened boy, scared of letting go of all that emotion, depriving himself of any kind of love and affection as further retribution… with the secret of his lifestyle also weighing heavy on his mind, especially with Jude, his flat mate and best friend, and also a man with his own secret and heart ache.

To Jude, Ben is the confident, fun loving man he has known for four years and loved for almost three of those after a drunken night of sex that was never repeated, fear of losing his best friend and fear of losing Ben FULL STOP, was what was holding him back… only Jude can think of nothing else… unrequited love, I am sure at some point we have all been on the receiving end of that particular torture! It takes a motorcycle accident and the discovery of Bens lifestyle for Jude to finally let out all the pent up sexual frustration and emotion through fear of losing the man he loves… and Oh. My. God! Baton down the hatches and be prepared to be WOWED by the intensity and emotional connection that will leave you breathless!

So Jude lets Ben have it just the way he likes it… only he is left conflicted, he will do anything to keep Ben in his life, but physically harm the man he loves? There was no denying his own reaction, but that came not from inflicting pain but because he was the cause of Bens ecstasy. When Jude finally opens his heart and is honest with Ben, well, I thought my heart would burst it was so full. I felt as though I was also finally free of the heavy weight that had been burdening it.

Seeing a BDSM Club and the lifestyle through the eyes of Jude the geeky accountant was enlightening to say the least and so funny, I chuckled all the way through his initiation... apart from the last bit, that just left me in a puddle of lust!  Initially I wasn’t convinced that Jude, being so selfless and susceptible in his love for Ben, wanting to do anything to keep Ben happy, would make Dom material and I worried he was doing it for the wrong reasons as the whole thing scared the shit out of him thinking he would do more harm than good, and failure to be what Ben needed would mean the end of the spark of hope for a future he was so tenuously clinging to… Ben on the other hand was like a kid who’s Christmas's had come all at once and he will do anything it takes to at least get a compromise from Jude.

“Let’s do a little light bondage, cuffs because they’re better for beginners, use an implement for impact play, and then finish off with a nice hot fuck. What do you think?” A twinkle appeared in Ben’s eye that hadn’t been there, a mischievous look that said he wanted to show Kage what he’d left discarded on the dungeon floor.

“Okay, first, what do you mean about an implement and impact play?” Jude asked. 

After all the initial angst and heart break it was a joy to watch this relationship develop, to see them open up and be truly honest with each other and work through their insecurities, making the dynamics of this relationship very interesting! Ben and Jude melted my heart as they made their own rules… and I liked that Jude could also be needy and vulnerable because that was also who he was. There are no stereotypes here, they worked with what they had because at the end of the day, what was more important was the fact they had each other. Ben needed more than just having his ghosts momentarily forgotten by having his sexual desires sated, and he craved the love that he had denied himself for so long… and Jude, I loved seeing him grow in confidence and step out of his boring accountant shoes and explore a side to him that he never in a million years thought he had in him… and I had tingles down my spine when he got all growly!

With everything he was, he wanted to be collared again; he wanted the collar to belong to Jude. Even if Jude had a problem with pain and inflicting it on Ben, they could work anything out as long as they did it together. Of that, he was almost certain. Almost.

Aaron sits happily on my all time favourites shelf and will soon be accompanied by Painting Fire On The Air… we will sit pretty and wait to see what happens in book #3 Spencer! CAN’T WAIT!!!

If BDSM is a genre you love, with tortured souls, angst and a kaleidoscope of emotions with lots of kinky sex and a bad ass Dom… then you will enjoy this book and I Highly recommend it!