Yogi and the Bear by Nix Knox

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Rating: 2/10 ★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 
Title: Yogi and the Bear
Author: Nix Knox
Genre: M/M Romance
URL: Samhain Publishing
Price: US $5.50
Other Information/warnings: Explicit sexual content
Summary [from the publisher]:
If the fall is inevitable, might as well enjoy the tumble.

Months after a scaffolding accident leaves him in chronic agony, construction worker Ryan Powell has exhausted all that Western medicine has to offer. He’s willing to try anything, even yoga, to get some relief.

He expected to feel out of place at the New Age Center, but he never expected a power-outage bathroom encounter to magically erase his pain. When he discovers the man with the magic hands is his drop-dead-sexy yoga teacher, Ryan decides that there might just be something to this metaphysical thing, after all.

Yogi Niklas Baumgartner has found it remarkably easy to keep his shiny vow of chastity untarnished—until now. Still, a bathroom hand job doesn’t really count as sex, right? But his footing on the no-nooky wagon slips when he realizes the big, blond bear at the back of the class is his man in the dark.

Their unlikely attraction brings out sides of themselves they never knew lurked beneath the surface, sides it takes courage to accept. But when trust is broken, repairing the damage might just tear them apart.

My review:
This story was a disappointment. If I didn’t have to write this review, I would have set the book aside early on with no regrets. The writing is clear and free of errors, but I would have preferred it to be more evocative. The characters and situations, when they were not confusing me with their inconsistencies, failed to hold my interest much of the time.

While I liked Ryan, the hunky construction worker looking for relief from a work-related back injury, I failed to understand why he was so attracted to Nik, his yoga instructor. In spite of his painful injury and unsupportive parents, Ryan is relatively happy and quite stable. He has a close relationship with his sister, Rachael, and loves his job. While Nik is knowledgeable about yoga and gives Ryan fantastic massages, he is nervous, fearful, and unpredictable. It is evident early on in the story that Nik is a deeply troubled man with trust issues. Like Ryan, he doesn’t have an ideal family situation and lives with roommates who are abusive. He is sexually inexperienced, while Ryan has had casual relationships.

I would have liked to see gradual growth in their relationship, emotionally and sexually. Instead we are subject to a nonsensical side plot about Ryan’s sister wanting to give away her baby which was too much of a distraction and totally irrelevant to the story. Though I enjoyed Nik’s and Ryan’s slow sexual exploration, I found the BDSM scenes awkward and out of character, especially for Nik. And what was up with this Nik/Julian thing? Did he have dissociative identity disorder, or was this just his Dom persona? In either case, it was disturbing, and there was no good explanation for Nik’s total change of behavior and unexpected sexual prowess. He should have found a different therapist. I’m still not convinced Nik is mentally healthy.

There are good stories that explore BDSM and deal with emotional and psychological trauma effectively. This is not one of them.

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