** Warning, Strain is a M/M adult Dystopian Zombie BDSM novel **
Rhys Cooper is a dead man. Cut off from the world since childhood, he’s finally exposed to the lethal virus that wiped out most of the human race. Now his only hope for survival is infection by another strain that might provide immunity. But it’s sexually transmitted, and the degradation he feels at submitting to the entire squad of soldiers that rescued him eclipses any potential for pleasure—except with Darius, the squadron’s respected, capable leader.
Sergeant Darius Murrell has seen too much death and too little humanity. He’s spent a decade putting plague victims out of their misery and escorting survivors to a safe haven he can never enjoy. He’d rather help Rhys live than put him down, so when Rhys can’t reconcile himself to doing what’s necessary to survive, Darius is forced to save Rhys in spite of himself.
But with each passing day, it looks less and less likely that Rhys can be saved. And that means that Darius might soon have to put a bullet in the head of the one person in years who reminds him of what it means to be human.
Amelia C. Gormley may seem like anyone else. But the truth is she sings in the shower, dances doing laundry, and writes blisteringly hot m/m erotic romance while her son is at school. When she’s not writing in her Pacific Northwest home, Amelia single-handedly juggles her husband, her son, their home, and the obstacles of life by turning into an everyday superhero. And that, she supposes, is just like anyone else
Her self-published novel-in-three-parts, Impulse
(Inertia, Book One; Acceleration, Book Two; and Velocity, Book Three) can be found at most major online book retailers, and be sure to check Riptide for her latest releases, including her Highland historical, The Laird’s Forbidden Lover, the The Professor’s Rule series of erotic novelettes (co-written with Heidi Belleau), and Strain. Stay tuned for her upcoming Riptide releases, which include the final two books in The Professor’s Rule (coming the first week of March) and Saugatuck Summer, coming in May.
You can contact Amelia on Twitter, Facebook, Goodread
s, BookLikes, Tumblr, or contact her by email using the form on the About page at http://ameliacgormley.com/
Rhys Cooper has been mentally and physically abused for most of his teenage years. As one of the few survivors forced to hold up with a religious fanatic that blamed homosexuals for the virus that has almost wiped out mankind, he was ridiculed and shamed for his sexuality daily. Malnourished and already close to death, he’s exposed to the Revenant Strain of the virus while trying to protect his sister and her child. Revs are zombie like creatures that feed off of survivors.
There are three main Strains of the virus. Revenant, Revs, Zombies. Rots, these survivors once infected simply Rot and die. Juggarnauts, Jugs, super soldiers that protect the survivors from infection when possible, and dispose of them when not. This is a government issued virus that we lost control off, how many times does science have to be bitch slapped for messing with DNA and genetics? The virus has morphed into these three categories. There is a possible cure for Rev and Rot, to be infected by a Jug with their strain of the virus. This can only be done through bodily fluids, specifically during sex.
When a team of Jugs comes across Rhys and his brother in law they are immediately taken with the young man and his innocence. They want to save him and protect him, but what it requires they do leaves him feeling even more abused and degraded than he already does. After all he’s never had a choice about anything in his life up to now, and the soldiers that are passing him around like a blow up doll aren’t giving him a choice either. But multiple Jug hosts must transmit their Strain of the virus through Rhys if he is to have any chance to survive. He’s humiliated none the less and unable to reciprocate even a modicum of pleasure with any one, except Darius.
There is something about Rhys’ young and innocent nature, his inexperience that is just a little rough around the edges due to the life he’s led that drives Darius insane with want and need. And as much as Rhys tries to convince himself that he doesn’t enjoy the sexual contact with any of the soldiers, he’s lying to himself when it comes to Darius. As the story progresses so does their relationship. Darkness and death are a daily occurance for these men, and their only light is each other. They both refuse to admit it. Out loud, to everyone around them that can see it plain as day, and least of all to themselves.
Rhys is certain that his body won’t take the Strain, that he is going to die. He captures every stolen moment he can with Darius. Their relationship slowly shifts from forced and just about making Rhys immune, to something more tender, sensual and loving. The dominate and submissive aspect is always front and center. Darius begins to want to love Rhys while dominating him, the two go hand in hand for Darius. But he fears the day that they realize Rhys is not immune, the day he has to kill the young man he’s not sure any longer if he can live without.
This story was long, dark and full of pain and misery. Death is everywhere in this dystopian society and though a lot of couples have sex purely for pleasure. There is the degrading transfer immunity sex. On the run trying to find sanctuary or make it back to base, the team along with their few survivors face Revs, Rots, starvation and basic annihilation. This is an intricately written novel with several things making the back bone of the story. There is the science of the Strains, which sort of bored me a little and is the only reason I knocked off half a star. BDSM plays a huge part of the story, but is the lighter side of this lifestyle. Darius is just the huge, imposing, overpowering, sexual being and it is basically ingrained in him to dominate. Rhys is a natural submissive, so their pairing was brilliance. And then there is that Zombie twist which is made believable with the science.
I know this is a lot to absorb in one book, but it is almost 400 pages. I was intrigued from start to finish, read this book in one sitting that caused me to lose lots of sleep. Fast past and engrossing with lots of action and mystery. You really won’t know until the last dozen or so pages 1, if Rhys is going to survive 2, did the Jug Strain take? Or is he some kind of immunity Strain? And 3, will he and Darius be able to survive each other if they stay together? The sex is off the charts smoking friggin hot! And aside from a couple of scenes that skirt the boundaries of acceptability, but thankfully never jump the fence, no one is forced into anything. I did prefer Rhys and Darius in the latter half of the book when their relationship became more loving and even keel. But BDSM is what it is, that is the lifestyle and kudos to the author for staying true to that aspect of her novel.
Fans of Dystopian, Zombies, Sci Fi, BDSM and an impossible love just maybe having its way in the end will love this book.
Commenters at each stop along the way will be entered into a drawing for the chance to win one of three ebook copies of Impulse: The Complete Trilogy, the all-in-one edition of my novel-in-three parts. Please include your contact information, either email, Twitter, or Facebook. The Contest will be open until February 28th, with the winner being announced March 1—just in time for the release of Every Inch of the Way/To the Very Last Inch (The Professor’s Rule #4 and #5), the final two installments of my series with Heidi Belleau. So stay tuned for that as well!