Book Reviews

Baring It All (Bear Essentials 1) by D.G. Carothers

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Erotic Romance / BDSM
Reviewed by Barb on 22-September-2021

Book Blurb

Welcome to Bear Essentials, where caring for the outside of you from head to toe is our specialty.

Basil Paddington is living his dream. He's built from the ground up a safe space for anyone to get the services they need to feel beautiful. He's very proud of the work he's done and the life he's built.

He has a successful business, friends, and a lovely cat named Arnold. What more could he possibly need?

Basil gave up long ago on finding love, much less someone who accepted who he was sexually. He has his kinks and a very healthy sex life, in his opinion. Little does he know that there is someone right under his nose that's perfect for him.

While Bear Essentials specializes in making the outside beautiful to each client's own eye, it's below the surface where we find the most surprises.



Attention: This book contains explicit sexual content between consenting adults. There are depictions of sounding, needle play, and fuck machines.

Book Review

The author of this kinky story is new to me. It’s the start of a series built in the universe of a former series, ‘Kink Files’. The characters from that series feature prominently as friends of the main character in this book. That’s stated in the blurb so is not a surprise, but in my opinion, a reader would definitely benefit from having read that series first to be familiar with the cast of characters and their relationship dynamics.


Basil is an aesthetician who owns and runs Bear Essentials, a spa and treatment center catering to LGBTQ persons. He doesn’t sleep around and is presented as a mature character who spends most of his time developing his business. He was formerly active in the BDSM scene and still attends demos in a local club, but he has his own collection of kink toys and is happy by himself. The main thrust of the story revolves around Basil, his beauty business, and the “private business” he gets up to during his relaxation time. Of note, his private business is described in explicit detail early in the story (with the machine noted in the blurb) before any romantic relationship develops.


When he does get together with Dylan, in the latter chapters of the book, I became confused because their first date night started with Dylan doing a scene with someone else in the kink club that’s the subject of the other series. Apparently, Basil and Dylan knew each other previously from there, but I found it odd that he’d take Basil to see a demo of him dominating another person as their first official date.


In fact, when Dylan is first introduced in this story it is in a scene with other characters who had similar names like Darius and Darren. Listening to an audio version made it difficult to follow with the similar sounding names and the Southern voice the narrator gave all the characters. My opinion of the narrator greatly influenced my focus, I admit. I absolutely did not like his style, his vocalizations, or the accents. Basil’s soft and sing-song voice, more than the others, distracted and irritated me to no end.


After their night out at the kink club, when the sub is dismissed, Dylan and Basil finally have sex, spend the night together, discuss their attraction, and lay the foundation for moving in together. Then their story abruptly ends. The last chapter of the book is from a different character’s POV and serves as an intro to the next book.


Now that I’ve written all this out, it’s evident, even to me, that one really should read the first series if for no other reason than to meet the characters and get involved in their world.




DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by the author via GRRT for the purpose of a review.


Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novella, 91 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 16-August-2021
Price $4.99 ebook, $9.99 paperback
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