Story Rating: 3 out of 5 paddles
Sting Factor (kink): 5 out of 5
Jeni is divorced, kinky and a popular blogger. She has responded to an email from a Dominant and they have carried on an email friendship that has grown into an attraction. Her exploration of her sexuality becomes a journey of growing closer to this man that inspires her: Jack.
SPOILER ALERT: Let me get something out of the way. There were three things that bothered me about this book and I couldn’t get past. First, though there were email exchanges between the two of them, Jack seemed to take the Dom role without much negotiation with Jeni. He made a ton of assumptions in my opinion and Jeni had shaky boundaries. She explores her sexuality with another woman (but basically needs Jack’s permission to do so even though he really isn’t her Dom as yet). This woman is in a committed relationship by the way, so if you find infidelity distasteful, this might be tough.
The second issue I had was one moment in the book that tainted everything I read after it. At their first meeting, Jack tells a story about his history, how he had a woman who had said she was a slave, not a submissive and how that had gone down a very painful (and not in a good way) path. The story is told as if Jack was duped and deceived by the woman he had been married to. And yet, when Jack and Jeni have their first full sexual encounter, he looks her dead in the face and says “You’re a slave, Jeni.” I almost stopped reading right there.
Here’s a moment I get up on my soapbox. Jeni has identified herself as a submissive. She’s not inexperienced. She’s not a newbie. She has thought about this a lot. Jack does something that I could never accept from any Dominant. He told her who and what she is. Now, that’s not to say he couldn’t have that opinion. Even discuss the option that she could be a slave with her. But that’s not the way he handles it. He tells her and then proceeds to treat her as if she was a slave. The book is brilliantly written, so Jeni’s love of being a slave is front and center. But to me, her arousal doesn’t excuse his behavior. I wished I’d seen a bit more real negotiation between them that involved matters of their heart. Jack’s aftercare was perfunctory at best. I had a tough time with that, though I think Jeni loved all of it.
The last issue is Jeni’s behavior when she discovers her best friend is sick and needs her. Again, the lack of communication between Jeni and Jack is appalling to me. At some point during the six month period (and considering how open and explicit her emails had been thus far) I have a hard time understanding why she couldn’t say “I don’t have a sexual thought in my head. I can’t even accept what we are right now.” She doesn’t. She walks away, remains distant and cuts Jack off cold turkey. The fact that he doesn’t say “No thank you, darlin’” when she comes back is a bit surprising.
Now, onto what’s RIGHT about this book. There is a lot. This is a great depiction of a kinky relationship. The sensations, the feelings, the subspace are all described in a beautiful and stunning way that kept me reading the story. Jack is a panty melting Master who does wicked things in a wicked way. It’s very clear that the author has either done her research thoroughly, or knows her stuff.
The actual scenes are fantastic and very realistic. Though the emotional dynamic gave me some issues, in the long run, the characters were consistent and believable. I immediately related to Jeni (which may explain my earlier reactions) and I loved reading about her growth and change as she discovered her inner slut.
This book should come with a “SMOKIN’ HOT” label since it has a laundry list of kinks contained in its pages. The author made them all-even the golden showers-very hot and very sexy. I never thought being slapped in the face was arousing until I read the scene in this book.
All in all, this is a brilliant book that had some drawbacks for me but I still enjoyed it.
Reviewed by Jennifer Leeland