Category Archives: someone other than Christian Grey likes to spank

The Film Student and Me

The Film Student and Me
by Julie Hilden
Published by PocketStar
131 pages
Genre: erotica
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview
3.5 / 5

If you discovered your husband was having an affair with a younger woman, what would you do?

Such is the premise of this taut, extremely erotic novella. Whereas some women would head straight for divorce court or others would stoically try to ignore the infidelity, Rebecca decides that her forty-year-old and still hot self will find a young thing with whom she can enjoy the sexy times. Turnabout, fair play, etc., etc.

What Rebecca doesn’t factor into her decision is (a) choosing someone who might be a bit dangerous, (b) falling for him, and (c) allowing him to take her very, VERY deeply into her dark side.

The affair partner in question is the eponymous film student, twenty-something Jared, whom she meets at a university library. Their relationship gets off to a roaring start when Jared brings her to sexual release while in a coffee shop. From there, the two begin meeting regularly at Jared’s apartment, where he introduces her to sexual inhibition and pleasure. They try all sorts of things together, including some spanky panky, a foursome, and some webcam action.

All the while, Rebecca falls deeper and deeper for Jared, and he for her. But what of her marriage? And children? Will she abandon both in the name of great – and it does appear to be GREAT – sex? The fact that Jared is a bit dangerous undoubtedly enhances her attraction to him. Jared loves kink in its many varieties, and Rebecca discovers that she might also like it.

This novella is much darker than I thought it would be. Rebecca’s willingness to embrace an unconventional (to say the least) sexual relationship – and the ease with which she does so – seems a bit at odds with the wife and mother she is. And she apparently feels little conflict regarding this. Her husband cheated, so she will too. He apparently is sexually satisfied with his side piece, so she will be as well. Even when one of her daughters notices a change that has come over Mommy, Rebecca tosses it aside. The sexual allure of Jared is too much for her to forsake.

As for Jared, we find out bits and pieces about him, but not enough to give us much insight. He lets us see flickers that explain his inclination toward sexual perversion, but we need more. Even Rebecca is under-explored. She goes from staid wife and mother to wanton adulteress with seemingly little compunction.

The sex scenes scorch. They are explicit and detailed, and they will achieve certain effects on you. It’s best to read this book with a vibrator or a man friend close by.

I guess my overall feeling about this novella is that it compels me despite its lack of depth. It makes me wonder what I’d do if I were Rebecca, and I found myself thinking about it after I finished.

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Complete Me

Complete Me (The Stark Trilogy)
by J. Kenner
Published by Bantam
322 pages
Genre: erotica; romance; mystery
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview
4 / 5

This is the third book of a trilogy, so here is a big fat warning for you: this review will contain spoilers from the first two books.

Oh, Damien Stark. You hot, hot, HOT man, you. So tortured, so gorgeous, so successful and rich and sexually sublime. Where are you in my life?

When we first met Damien in Release Me, he was a mysterious former tennis prodigy turned corporate superstar. He sees Nikki Fairchild across the room at a party he’s hosting and he instantly is drawn to her. Those of us reading the book perhaps wondered why; Nikki’s fine and all, a former pageant queen, but is she worthy? Of Damien Stark? Uh, no.

But as we get to know our happy couple into Claim Me, we could start to see the attraction. Both Nikki and Damien suffered abuse, albeit in very different forms. Nikki was used by her mother for pageant fame and success, forced into being someone she wasn’t. Damien’s abuse was physical and at the hands of his coach. Both reacted by needing control: for Nikki, it comes in the form of cutting herself; for Damien, it is manifested in his need for BDSM. They recognize this in each other and it cements their bond.

And now we come to the end of the trilogy, where we must face Damien’s murder charges in Germany, onslaughts from a mysterious source, and Damien and Nikki’s continuing need for each other and a “normal” relationship.

The plot is serviceable. We get caught up in the mystery surrounding Damien’s court case, and by now we are fully invested in his and Nikki’s relationship. We even like her more, if for no other reason than Damien does. His need for her is so immense that it almost overwhelms us, not to mention her. To her credit, Nikki occasionally is mystified by Damien’s obsession with her. We hear ya, sister. However, even I can concede that she’s good for him. She understands him the way he needs to be understood; she knows what he doesn’t say as much as what he does, and she translates his facial expressions and small gestures.

Yes, there are some overwrought moments. We’ve come to expect those from this series. Nikki is a pageant queen from Texas, and if it’s possible to overreact to something, she might just do it. Some of her problem-solving skills frustrate us to distraction, even as we know that she means well. She really does.

The mystery occasionally feels forced, as if Kenner thinks she needs it in order for us to keep reading. That part could have been better written, although let’s be honest. We don’t read these for the mystery hooks, do we?

Now, the sexy times. Girls, strap on your vibrators, because there is some super scorching headboard rockin’ going on here. Damien doesn’t just know how to bed a woman, he knows how to talk about it. His words get you as ready as anything he does with his hands and lips. And other things. The best part is that sex for Damien is a way to connect with Nikki and the way he knows to show her that he loves her. So her pleasure – how she feels when he’s with her – is his priority.

Too bad he’s a fictional fantasy, right?


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The Siren

The Siren
by Tiffany Reisz
Published by Harlequin MIRA
432 pages
Published on
Thanks to Net Galley for the preview
4 / 5 cupcakes

Those of you whose kink was tested by Fifty Shades of Grey can go ahead and skip this review, because if you thought Christian and Ana were edgy and disturbing, you have no idea – NO IDEA – what BDSM is all about.

If you’re still here, it’s because you want to find out about this hot, dark and passionate book. And it is … hot, dark and passionate.

We first met Nora Sutherlin in Seven Day Loan, in which her lover loaned her for one week to his friend. Nora was a submissive to her Dominant lover, and if he wanted to share her, he shared her.

In the previous book, Nora’s name was Eleanor, but here, she changed it for several reasons. First, she has left her Dom, a man she deeply loved (and who loved her in return) but with whom she felt a future could not exist. There is a reason for this, which was first revealed in Seven Day Loan. Nora also has become an author, having written several best selling books about – you guessed it – characters who engage in BDSM.

When we see her again, Nora has been assigned an editor, Zach Easton, an Englishman not too fondly known as the London Fog. Zach demands that Nora make wholesale changes to her book, but he assures her that if she tweaks it as he asks, she will write something extraordinary. Yet Zach strongly disapproves of Nora’s BDSM dalliances, causing her to keep a secret from him: she has become the number one Dominatix in New York City.

The Siren is all about double lives. Each character has one, and each must come to terms with which life is real.

First, there is Nora, author by day, dominatrix by night. But Nora, overachiever that she is, has another double life, if not a third. She develops feelings for Zach, just as she tries to understand her feelings for Wesley, a nineteen year old college boy she hired as a sort of manservant. Wesley is a virgin, and he and Nora care about each other quite a bit. She sees herself in him, even though he clearly is more of a vanilla guy than one interested in BDSM. Then there is her former Dom, whom she can’t let go. She submits to him, yet earns a tremendous fortune as a dominatrix.

In the case of Zach, we have the stereotypical stuffy Englishman who is shocked and disturbed by bondage and dominance. Yet he lost his virginity at age thirteen, seven years younger than Nora was. He is married, but his marriage is troubled; he left his wife in England to come to New York (next stop, Los Angeles). He is married, but he isn’t. He is appalled by BDSM, but drawn to it.

Then there is Wesley. Young, sweet, HOT Wesley. He is a solid Christian boy who studies hard in college and is devoted to Nora. Wesley must watch his insulin, because he is a severe diabetic. He says he wants to wait and have sex with someone who loves him, yet he is so determined to not be a romantic part of Nora’s life that he fails to see that she does love him. He is a virgin living with a slut.

But what you really want to know about are those sexy times, right? Tiffany Reisz can write some sex scenes, people. They are not wildly graphic (they are far, FAR less graphic here than in Seven Day Loan), and for the most part, there is a tender romance behind them. For all of her worldly experiences, Nora still wants what most of us want: to love and be loved, and to be allowed the freedom to experience those things.

Her relationship with her former Dom clearly is intended to shock us. Yet he, too, leads a double life (boy, does he ever). What is striking (no pun intended) about him, though, is the depth of his love for Nora. He really does love her, and when he tells her that he wishes she was still his, you feel it. Despite the dissolution of their romance, he nonetheless advises her on Zach and Wesley, and his observations are astute.

This is a good book. If you are curious about BDSM, please do not use Fifty Shades of Grey as your idiot’s guide. Instead, read this one. There are some wonderful explanations of the lifestyle, what draws people to it, what keeps them entrenched, and how it affects them. There also are some interesting discourses on erotica, which is the genre Nora writes. While there are not a lot of sex scenes, and those present are relatively tame, it’s because the focus here is the characters. In Seven Day Loan, the focus is a sort of sexual awakening.

And now I must go get ready for Angel, which is the next book in this series.

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The Theory of Attraction

The Theory of Attraction
Delphine Dryden
Published by Carina
121 pages
Available on
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview.
4 / 5 cupcakes

You know what? I really liked this silly little book. I liked it a LOT.

Neighbors in an apartment complex largely inhabited by a bunch of geeky nerds, rocket scientist Ivan asks computer programmer Camille to help him woo prospects for funding grants Ivan needs to continue his research. Camille gamely agrees, largely due to her growing attraction to Ivan. At first glance, he is cold, forbidding and opinionated. But as she gets to know him, Camille discovers that Ivan is complex. He is passionate, for one thing, and he craves control in all aspects of his life.

Those of you who read Fifty Shades of Grey or Bared to You know what that means, right? Our boy Ivan likes to dole out punishment (as needed, of course) and exert his influence over the woman in his life. Ivan, you see, is a Dominant, and as her relationship with Ivan develops, Camille comes to discover that she might be submissive.

There is a plot here, believe it or not. Camille tries to help Ivan get what he wants, and in return, he helps her discover things she never knew she wanted. The plot doesn’t get in the way of the crux of the tale, which is a woman embarking on a venture of self-discovery while the man lowers his inhibitions long enough to allow her into his life.

Bottom line, is this a good book? For what it is – a quick, hot read – yes, it is. We don’t get to know much about the characters, but that’s okay. We don’t need to know more about Camille or Ivan to understand how and why they are drawn together. Ivan’s sexual predilections are explained, which helps, but we nonetheless are left intrigued by him, much like Camille. These two have been friends and then progress into romance.

Now on to the good stuff: these two rock the headboard and then some. Ivan likes CONTROL, and he exerts it over Camille. We empathize with her initial confusion and continue to empathize with her as her understanding, acceptance and enjoyment of Ivan’s lifestyle evolve. The sex scenes are HOT. Delphine Dryden knows how to write about sexy times, people. Oh, does she ever.

Are we talking The Great Gatsby or Pride and Prejudice? Of course not. But we are talking about a fast read with some well written sex scenes. Read this, let your brain check out for a little vacation, and enjoy,

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Power Play: Awakening

Power Play: Awakening
Rachel Hamowitz & Cat Grant
Published by Riptide Publishing
256 pages
Available on Kindle
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview.
4 / 5 cupcakes

When we last we left off with Jonathan and Brandon in Power Play: Resistance, their Dominant/submissive relationship had gone through a bit of a rocky patch. Brandon realized that he wants to be with Jonathan, Jonathan realized that he needs to treat what they have as a relationship just as much as an opportunity to exert his Dominant side, and those two crazy love birds decided to give it another whirl.

But of course it does not come easily to either of them.

Whereas Resistance focused on Jonathan breaking down Brandon, Awakening is the story of building Brandon back up. It’s also something of Jonathan’s story, as we get to know him better. We meet the man who introduced Jonathan to the Dominant lifestyle, and we also meet a female ex-sub of his. Whereas Brandon’s issues were obvious, Jonathan’s are more subtle; he has to change every bit as much as Brandon if their relationship is going to work.

If Resistance was the set-up, Awakening is the payoff and the love story. As Jonathan and Brandon come to terms with themselves and each other – as they  fully trust each other with all that they have and are – their feelings intensify. Brandon begins to understand that with submission comes power. The power to overcome everything that has held you back, the power of confidence and trust. He also comes to see the power in giving himself to Jonathan for the latter’s sadistic needs.

This is an unconventional love story, to say the least. And not because it’s about two men. It’s more the way they come to love each other, through domination and submission, through pain and pleasure. Unlike Resistance, there are moments of sweetness in this book, of courtship and love.

About the sexy times: they are every bit as graphic and brutal as those in Resistance. But they are not repetitive; Jonathan takes Brandon through different experiences, and because of the love story aspect, the headboard rockin’ takes on a different sheen. It’s still about power and submission, but it’s also about love. You know, feelings and all that stuff.

Will you like Brandon more? Eh. I don’t know. I still am not a big fan of his, although goodness knows the man fully gave of himself to Jonathan. I just couldn’t warm up to him the way I think I was supposed to. Now, Jonathan, on the other hand? I love him.

If you read Resistance, you must read Awakening.

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Power Play: Resistance

Power Play: Resistance
Rachel Haimowitz & Cat Grant
Published by Riptide Publishing
254 pages
Available on
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview.
3.5 / 5

If Fifty Shades of Grey was too hardcore for you, let me just say that (a) the BDSM community finds you precious and (b) don’t even THINK about reading this book, especially if the spectre of gay lovin’ scares you to death.

Brandon “Bran” McKinney is one of those men whose rough and tumble background has caused him to be arrogant, tough and unyielding. So why Jonathan Watkins thinks Brandon will make a fabulous submissive is a bit mysterious. Yes, Brandon drops to his knees during their first assignation, after Jonathan kind of forces him to do so. And, yes, Brandon does not unlock the cuff that Jonathan puts on him. So those two slim artifacts appear to be enough to convince Jonathan that Brandon will be the sub to his Dom.

Well, as anyone could have told poor old Jonathan, Brandon is a tough nut to crack, and he does not go willingly into the sub lifestyle. He agrees to a six-month contract, only because he wants $3 million to buy his own contracting company. But Brandon turns out to be woefully naive, because the whole “You are mine and you must do as I say” thing rubs Brandon the wrong way. No pun intended.

Brandon puts up a mighty fight, so much so that Jonathan finds himself at a loss. Brandon won’t use his safe word, won’t leave the contract, but also won’t submit. What is a poor Dominant to do?

This book, folks, is raw. The sex scenes are severe, brutal and graphic. Brandon has Issues, and Jonathan is determined to beat them out of him, so to speak. Can this relationship be saved? You need to read to find out. (But here is a hint: there is a sequel.) Brandon is such a pig that it’s difficult to sympathize with him, even from the standpoint of his shock at Jonathan’s proclivities. Jonathan, on the other hand, is adorable, and he’s the reason you will keep reading this book. Unfortunately, the focus tends to be on Brandon.

The thing about this book, though, is that ultimately it is the story of trust. How can you get someone to trust you? How can you learn to trust when doing so has brought you nothing but agony?

Give this a whirl if you have a hankering for some gay lovin’, bondage styles.

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Seven Day Loan

Seven Day Loan
Tiffany Reisz
Published by Harlequin Spice Briefs
38 pages
Available on
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview.
5 / 5 cupcakes

If Fifty Shades of Grey was too graphic for you, then you can click on out of this review, because Seven Day Loan might just blow your mess out.

Ostensibly about a submissive woman in a BDSM relationship, this isn’t so much about domination and submission as it is about why we stay with people. Oh, who am I kidding. This novella is about SEX: lots of it, and as kinky as possible.

Eleanor is a submissive to a Dominant we only know as “him.” As he heads out of town for a week, he loans her to Daniel, a friend of his who is getting over the death of his wife three years earlier. Daniel, like Eleanor’s lover, is a Dominant, so when the lover snaps his fingers and makes Eleanor kneel before him, Daniel is neither shocked nor surprised.

So then the lover leaves, and it is GAME ON for Daniel and Eleanor.

Oh, people.

These two engage in all manner of sexual hijinks, including one particularly graphic encounter on the kitchen floor. Daniel reassumes his domination after a three-year mourning period, treating Eleanor as if she is his (temporary) property. She is there for him to use as he sees fit, and both of them know it. Eleanor is a willing, participative submissive, and she believes she belongs to her lover. But Daniel is so tempting, and he can offer her things that her lover cannot.

This is hot erotica, well done. If we don’t understand Eleanor too much – if we don’t understand her relationship with her lover at all – that’s okay. What we need to understand is the passionate connection between her and Daniel, and understand it we do.

Just submit (HAHAHAHA) and enjoy.

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