This is the second part of a story that started with the book Still. It is best read after reading the first book otherwise the character’s dynamics will not make as much sense. If you have read Still, you will find Penance to be just as intense and complex as Still. There is so much more to this story than just a love story or even a BDSM romance. If it were just that, the Penance could have ended way before it did. Penance goes deeper into psychological issues such as PTSD, veteran issues and truly trusting someone. The emotions fly across the page making me set it down at points. I’m not sure if it was because things got too close to home or if it was due to the pure intensity of some of the scenes. Most of all, I found this story to be one of hope and recovery. The characters aren’t perfect. There aren’t any magic cures. Crap happens. And, strangely, things become better. Also, in this story is a non-profit that is run by veterans as they work as first responders, giving back using the skills they learned in the military. This is very similar to the real group Team Rubicon. I absolutely loved this book and highly recommend both Still and Penance.
Michelle and Wyatt are on their way to Chicago for a wedding/collaring ceremony of friends of Michelle. Things are going fine until Michelle feels overwhelmed and instead of turning to Wyatt turns to her old mentor and lies to Wyatt. Immediately, things seem to fall apart with Wyatt leaving and Michelle heading home. Is this the end? Or, is Wyatt figuring out how to meet Michelle’s needs? Will they be able to figure this out?
This is a personal note: I am a veteran who has PTSD. Between the initial author’s note and this story, I knew that those with PTSD would be dealt with well. However, this book went beyond my expectations. Thank you to Ms Mayburn for letting people know that veterans, or anyone, are not wild, violent people but those who work on getting themselves together and have skills to help others.
When Wyatt and Michelle leave for Chicago to attend the wedding of an old friend of Michelle’s, Wyatt has no idea how close his beloved Domina is to the edge. While helping Wyatt battle the demons of his PTSD, Michelle has been trying to ignore her own issues, but the past refuses to stay buried and she soon finds herself spiraling out of control. More determined than ever to protect Wyatt from herself, Michelle tries to pretend everything is perfect with devastating results.
Wyatt can see that Michelle is losing it, but he doesn’t know how to help her when she refuses to admit there’s a problem. No longer able to deal with the pressure of pretending to be perfect, Michelle self-destructs. Wyatt is now faced with a bitter choice - leave the woman who owns his heart or start a long and arduous journey to rescue the other half of his soul from her own personal Hell.
Penance is the conclusion of Michelle and Wyatt’s tale of hope, loss, healing, and most of all forgiveness.