Book Reviews

Stained Glass by Jaime Samms at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Erotic Romance
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 27-September-2012

Book Blurb

The violent implosion of Lawrence McKenna’s last relationship left him floundering at the bottom of a bottle. Recently unemployed and struggling with his newly discovered submissive tendencies, Laurie needs his best friend, Jeff, more than ever. One sleepless night of detox and a desperate kiss convince him that the attraction they’ve battled all their lives has become too hard to ignore, but Jeff has other responsibilities that take him far away from Laurie and his self-destructive behavior.

When Jeff leaves, all Laurie wants is to be left alone to wallow. Instead, he finds himself riding herd on his friends who have quit their jobs to achieve their dream of starting their own manga publisher. Those same friends return the favor by riding him: about the booze, talking about what happened, seeing a doctor—and about Jeff, whose abandonment left Laurie bitter and resentful. Laurie knows they can’t have a relationship without forgiveness, but when Jeff returns, can he be what Laurie needs?


Book Review

The phrase 'tough love' may sound like an oxymoron, but sometimes, it's exactly what people need. Loving someone enough to stand by and let them hurt while solving their own problems is one of the greatest gifts anyone can bestow upon someone else. In 'Stained Glass' by Jaime Samms, Lawrence McKenna is in trouble, but being rescued will not solve his problems; in fact, it will make them worse. Laurie needs to learn to be strong on his own before he's ready to share his life with someone else. Fortunately, Laurie has an amazing group of friends who are willing to try and keep him safe, as he wallows through his issues, without trying to 'fix' them for him. The rest is up to Laurie.


Laurie is falling apart because his now deceased ex-boyfriend betrayed his trust. Nash manipulated Laurie in to a position where he was uncomfortable and instead of protecting him, left him hanging which created all kinds of emotional havoc. Worse yet, after extorting Laurie's weaknesses, he went so far as to turn the weaknesses against him, which left Laurie feeling like a whore rather than his lover. When Laurie tries to leave him, Nash made a violent effort to destroy them both. Laurie is trapped in a vicious cycle of self hatred, anger, despair, and guilt. He loses all sense of direction; he tries to drown his pain by drinking too much, but that's clearly not the answer. Fortunately, his friends intervene. Laurie's struggle to find balance again is excruciating; especially the flashbacks of Nash's voice whispering his obscene, hateful messages repeatedly. When he and his best friend, Jeff, cross the line between friends and lovers, Jeff leaves, unable and unwilling to watch Laurie destroy himself.  Laurie, once again, feels the pain of rejection and loss; he's furious at Jeff for leaving when he needed him most. He lashes out at Jeff by trying to shut him out of his life while he explores who he really is and if his desire to be submissive is valid. He goes back and forth with his feelings about Jeff and even tries to convince himself that even if Jeff did come back, he wouldn't be the person Laurie needed.


One of the awesome things about this story is Laurie's eccentric, talented, and loyal-to-a-fault friends. They take turns standing by Laurie while he's wallowing in his angst and self-pity, offering support and keeping him safe, but realize this is something he must work through himself or it won't work. He's a very lucky man and should be grateful for their concern. After a while, Laurie can't help but see that they have his best interests at heart. They add perspective by reminding him of his role in their lives and he begins to realize that their view of him may be closer to who he is than what he thinks at the present. Laurie eventually sees that the parts of his personality that he deems so unacceptable, are not.


This is a story full of angst and stark realism and the often painful road to redemption. It faces the issues of not using alcohol as an anesthetic against pain and a Dom/sub relationship gone wrong, in a realistic and matter-of-fact way. Pulling no punches, Jaime explores the importance of believing in yourself and never letting anyone intimidate you. On a more positive note, the story reminds us how precious real friendship and love can be. I recommend this book to readers who like stories containing struggles, ups and downs, and introspection in a graphic package. Thanks, Jaime, for the outstanding emotional roller coaster ride.




DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 214 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 27-August-2012
Price $6.99 ebook, $14.99 paperback, $14.99 bundle
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