I am on a streak of extraordinarily good books. Anna Zabo is a phenomenally good writer. I know kinky queer romance isn’t everyone’s bag, but Zabo is such a good writer I want everybody to read them. They write so beautifully I have been unable to review their novella, Weave the Dark, Weave the Light because it is beyond my ability to describe. I can only say the language cuts you like a knife and then you say thank you.
Maxime and Tom have circled each other for years, part of the same queer kink community, but making sure to never interact. Tom is a sub who likes pain and sex. Max is a Dom and a sadist who believes in love and boundaries. Their shared circle of acquaintances has been collectively scratching their heads about why they have never gotten together.
I keep coming back to the first chapter of Cinnamon Roll because it is perfect. It sets up the rest of the book and hooked me so hard I was completely invested in Tom and Max’s relationship long before they ever kissed. All of the elements to their relationship are laid out in this first meeting: the attraction, the flirting, the common ground, the pathos, and the insecurities that will be the road blocks to their relationship. Zabo also uses my love language – food and drink. Max opens the door for Tom to engage by sending him a cappuccino dusted with cinnamon sugar. All of their major conversations are around a meal or a beverage. I find this enormously relatable.
One of the common themes in the books I’ve read lately is getting to a point where a character feels safe enough to ask for what they want. Max wants to show Tom that consent, respect and care taking goes both ways in a power exchange relationship, and for himself he wants Tom as his long term partner. Tom has experienced where toxic masculinity will take power exchange (no place good) and now he has to get to a place where he believes that what he wants is important. The nature of power exchange means that Max has to be very careful about when and how he asks for what he wants. Cinnamon Roll is about two men creating a safe space for each other, not overcoming an outside force.
What I’m saying is, in far too many words, Anna Zabo continues to write beautiful queer romances with consensual kink. I love the way they use words to build rich characters and living worlds. If you have never read a queer romance and want to start on a high note, check them out.
I received this as an advance reader copy in exchange for an honest review.