3.5 stars, rounded up. While I usually round up, books don't usually piss me off so much. Or if they do, they make up for it. This one did - and barely - with laughter, which is, apparently, the easiest way to my heart.Still, half stars option would be highly appreciated.The writing was beautiful, poetic, rich and captivating.The bdsm element didn't bother me. Didn't appeal to me, either, but I didn't really mind it.What DID bother me was that (almost) every screwing up went without apologizing to the wronged part.My probably biggest problem was this: “Stop it. Go away. Damn it, stop. STOP. ” “Sshh…sshhh.” Marcus. Marcus’ touch on his back, Marcus’ thighs straddling his hips, the other men moving away at Marcus’ murmured word. The electronic stimulation stopped. “Let me go.” “In a minute. I promise, in just a minute. You need to calm down first. Deep breaths.” “Why did you do this? This wasn’t about…l ike the rest. I’m not…” I’m not theirs. I’m yours. Thomas wanted to say it, but he didn’t. Not right now. He was angry, hurt. He wanted to be let go.This makes me SO MAD! And all we got from Marcus - and only in his head, later on, was that he "didn't know what had gotten into him." Puhleaaaze.I know Thomas didn't use safe word (And seriously, stop??) before that particular part started or even when Marcus told him others were going to touch him, but exposing a private person to this kind of "scene" and nearly causing him a panic attack is not okay. And Thomas should have addressed it.As he should have addressed his moronic mother. How could a parent do that to a child they claim to love? And I'm not talking about the "You have responsibilities, so you can't be happy. No, wait, you can, but only on my terms" BS and guilting him into staying. I get that. And I get that, on some level, Thomas was using it as an excuse. But the crap with the painting is beyond me. On a bitchscale from one to Vivienne, Thomas' mother rates in the top three without difficulty. Which is why I don't buy the last scene between her and Thomas and the phone conversation with Marcus and her change of heart. And she didn't apologize about the painting, either.Neither did Thomas apologize for prying into Marcus' past. It's true that waiting for "Master" to trust him was going to take forever, but an apology for getting into another's private business was not out of order. Duh. Or maybe I'm wrong.As a result,I am exhausted. This was a beautiful book, but not one I would reread with pleasure. And definitely not one I'd recommend for a first m/m read.Comic relief:“You and the rest of the world. He’s very private. Likes living on some ass-end remote island off the coast of Florida.” Thomas stopped dead. His charcoal made an uncontrolled smudge as he forgot to remove it from the paper during his swift turn. “J can actually stand for a name beginning with J,” Marcus pointed out. “Like Joshua. Josh.” “I was talking to J. Martin? That’s Josh? Holy—why didn’t you tell me? Holy Christ. I… You fucked J. Martin. Holy Christ.” Thomas broke off, scowled when he saw Marcus with his hands laced behind his head, eyes dancing with laughter at his reaction.“So now it’s okay that I fucked him?” “You dick. I’m going to throw you off this roof.” “Security will not let you stay for dinner tomorrow night if you kill me,” Marcus said, rolling to his feet more quickly than expected as Thomas came after him. He dodged around a tree anchored in a massive clay planter. “I’ll make it look like a suicide,” Thomas promised.I needed that laugh. Honestly.