Barnaby, J.P. “In the Absence of Monsters”, Wilde City Press, 2014.
Jayden Carter has planned his life. He wanted to get a graduate degree in history and teach. But we all know that things do not always go according to plan and when he answered an ad for a roommate, he met Ethan Bryant, a mysterious doctor and he then enters a new world, a world he had never dreamed of.
This is a story of self-discovery and self-acceptance and learning to deal with oneself. All the components of life here—fear, friendship, love, hope—things we take for granted until we have to go out and get them for ourselves. Ethan brings a whole new aspect to Jayden’s well-regimented plans and on one occasion he opened a door that we was supposed to and discovered that it was filled with gear associated with bondage and sadomasochism. When Ethan realizes this, he con fronts Jayden and tells him to get naked and come to him and meet him or vacate the house by the end of the month. Neither the reader nor Jayden had any suspicions that Jayden was anything but straight and he therefore had to struggle with himself to do what Ethan said. When he did meet Ethan, the Jayden who knew himself so well discovered something new about himself. Ethan had already been training another submissive guy, Lexi and now Jayden joins them. While this became easier for Jayden as he learned, it caused rifts with his family and Jayden has to speak for himself and his lifestyle. When Lexi left, Jayden and Ethan came to know each other better and soon a relationship was forming. Jayden begins to understand why Ethan has to feel in control but Ethan feels that he has let down his guard, he feels that he can no longer train Jayden to be a sub—they are friends and equals so Ethan begins training Jayden to be dominant and everything is good until a death in the family requires Jayden to travel home to Chicago.
Lexi comes to Chicago to finish her graduate studies and Ethan finds that he is all alone and he begins to feel the loneliness. It is here that Jayden is no longer telling the story but now by Ethan and through this we really learn more about the characters of Jayden and Ethan. We now see Ethan as somewhat weaker than we would have thought. He falls apart without Jayden and he wants out of the life that he has created. Lexi and Jayden go back to Ethan for they will not let him sink into despair. Ethan is now able to write his own journal and get his feelings out so that he can deal with them. He and his parents find a way to mend their broken bridges and he even has a reunion with a former love, Gabriel who left him when he began his spiral downward. Now Ethan is in a position to make decisions about his life and whether he is to be with Jayden or Gabriel.
This is no easy read and I recommend having something nearby to dry your eyes as you read. There is much more to the plot but that is for you to read yourself.