Yet again, Setta Jay has written a satisfying piece of delicious smut. And yes, the pun was intended. Denying Ecstasy has a main theme revolving around Dorian, the guardian, and Rain, a Mageia.
**Potentially triggering book for borderline psychological abuse/Stockholm Syndrome**
Dorian's life was shattered when his best friend was brutally murdered in front of him. He's considered this the ultimate betrayal, and has refused to let anyone near him in the intervening years. Until he scents Rain. He knows that she's his mate, and is bound and determined to never get close enough to her to allow a mating to happen. After all, what if he causes her death too?
Rain has been taken to Tetartos when it is discovered that her best friend is in incredible danger of being kidnapped by Cyril, (which is detailed in the book just before in this series. It is mentioned in this book, and summarized a bit, just in case you need a bit of a refresher.) In Tetartos, Rain is safer. At the Guardian's mansion, she's safer still. But she's still far too close to Dorian for her comfort. She knows he's her mate, but he only has scorn for her. He only wants to wound her, not mate with her. But Dorian has his reasons to stay away, to not let Rain into his heart.
So, Denying Ecstasy is good smut. There's a few good plot lines, one of which is a little confusing, but I'm quite certain it'll be explained in the next book, as the ending is a bit of a neon sign pointing to it. There was some totally hot sex in this one. More than the last in my opinion. Dorian still falls prey to the "Me Alpha male, you weak woman, me dominate you" trope. It is a little off-putting that all the males, every single one, are the super dominating type. Overly protective, not wanting anyone to get close to their mate, being very jealous of everyone even looking at their mates. It's getting where some of the situations are bordering on abusive. The isolation from friends and family, the manipulation, the control of every minute of the partner's life...It's edging towards psychological abuse/Stockholm Syndrome. Overtly disturbing in real life, kinda alarming in Fantasy.
That being said, I am enjoying the books a little more as I read more of them, but I am having to detach myself emotionally during parts of the books due to the actions of the Guardians in regards to their mates. Yes, they're loving and doting at times, but it's like the lull between the storms in any abusive relationship. And that needs to be said fairly clearly.
Would I recommend this book? If you're looking for good smut, yes. If you're looking for some interesting plot lines, yes. If you're looking for Fantasy that pushes all the "hot" buttons, yes. If you're squicked out by overly dominating men, with actions that border on abuse, well, that's a resounding nope. I will be finishing the series, as I've committed to it. I'm certainly enjoying parts, mostly the great smut, but parts are getting more disturbing.