Dark BDSM with a Menage Twist…Safeword: Arabesque by Candace Blevins #Review

Dark BDSM with a Menage Twist…Safeword: Arabesque by Candace Blevins #ReviewSafeword: Arabesque by Candace Blevins

Series: Safeword, #9
Genres: BDSM Romance, Menage Romance
Published by Excessica on October 23, 2014
Pages: 486
Format: eARC
Source: Author
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four-stars  

Warning: Contains graphic language, consensual BDSM, male/male sexual practices, bondage, male chastity devices, and the use of toys including clamps, canes, paddles, floggers, plugs, and gags. There is also a rape scene that may disturb readers.

The Delight

It’s nice to see growth in Candace’s writing, but I also had a hard time with some elements that made me uncomfortable. It’s a long story that at times can seem to never end. There is love, violence and a happy ending. You have been warned.

When Candace requests I review her books, I jump all over it, but I also know I am not going to get a light BDSM love story. It’s going to be painful for the characters and at times myself to read what is done to them. This book stretched my boundaries and I found a few even I am not ready to cross…hard limit!

The story starts out very abruptly at a bachelorette party for her friend Sam (Safeword: Matte). She witnesses Frisco leading a “boy” around on a leash named Cameron. She’s intrigued by the leash and all the rules that seem to be in place on Sam and Cameron that wets her appetite, but she also believes Frisco is gay and should tell all his friends. Back story, Cassie’s dad comes out, divorces his wife and marries another man. So she has a perspective of being honest about your sexuality. Sam, Frisco and Cassie all belong to the same dojo, so it’s hard to avoid each other. On top of that Frisco has been asking her out for months, but now seem to avoid her.

Well, Sam hoodwinks Frisco into “training” Cassie when Frisco is very clear he is bi-sexual and only does the beating on boys, not girls. So this relationship isn’t really a relationship. Cassie feels submissive, but Frisco won’t go there with her. During this time, she becomes good friends with Cameron, who is on contract to be trained as a slave with Frisco. Whoosh! Cameron is in college to become a graphics artist while also exploring his passion of dance.

Long story short, Cassie isn’t getting what she needs and decides to go to a munch where she meets another man. Things are going great until there is a glitch and now she has to find someone new…once again or wait. In the mean time she heads to Vegas for Sam and Ethan’s fight where something tragic happens. Let me say the story was quick, interesting and flowing great right up to this point.

Cassie is raped. It might be a spoiler, but then again it is something I really can’t leave out of my review. While the rape isn’t very detailed, you know what is happening and how it is happening. If this isn’t your cup of tea, I understand. This why I am warning you ahead of time.

Now this is where the story started to drag for me. All three men that have been in her life come to the rescue. Frisco, who couldn’t give her what she wanted, Cameron as a friend, who is gay and Issac, the man who was her dream guy, but had to step back. All but one of these men had in a way abandoned her and I was feeling very angry with them. Cameron was the only one who stuck with her through everything. When Frisco let her go, Cameron was still her friend. When Issac let her go, Cameron stuck by her. Cameron just couldn’t give her want she needed sexually, nor in a D/s relationship. They were soul mates in a way as they both got each other.

So the latter part of the story is about overcoming Cassie’s trauma, which in some ways was awfully quick. Dealing with intimacy, mental trauma, and learning to trust again. Frisco needs to come to terms with is feelings for Cassie, but also the fact that someone else loves her too, Issac. Issac has to come to terms with taking on Cameron as well if he is going to love Cassie. Cameron has to learn to trust both Doms after some events.

So why did I feel the ending half was slow? It felt less like story telling and more like the author struggled to get the emotions right. While Cassie felt anger, it felt weak. I didn’t feel like I really understood her struggle. The scenes seemed to be so planned and hardcore. I just found myself not connecting with the characters as much.

While I liked Issac calling Cassie Sweet Thing, I also got tired of it. Frisco seemed to be non-committal even though he tried hard at the end. Cameron was way to submissive for me. I loved him. Oh, and his dance moves had me wanting more about dance.  (Yeah, I have a dancer in my house.)

The one great part of this story is how the polygamous relationship grows organically through separate relationships rather than a group looking to add more. Cassie was a BDSM virgin at the beginning of this book. Not even thinking of more than one man. None of the characters really were, which was a refreshing looking at multiple partners falling in love.

The BDSM is brutal. I don’t mean non-consensual. It is all very consensual, but I kept crossing my legs and gasping in phantom pain for the characters. But all of it in the end is loving. While the Doms are sadist, they also so compassion for their prey.

I have so many mixed emotions about his book. On one hand, I really enjoyed it and on the other hand there were parts I can’t say I enjoyed.

 

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Shari is the Delighted Reader. Married to her Prince Charming and mother to two Princesses and one Prince. When she is not slaving away as Cinderella she loves to get lost in the pages of a good book. Never without a reading device and a few good paperback books, because she never knows when she might get 5 minutes to read!
  • Melanie Simmons

    I’ve read some of Blevins stuff in the past. It wasn’t dark, just heavy BDSM. I’ll have to check this out, because I love dark. I’m reading Prisoner right now by Skye Warren and Annika Martin. It’s really dark. Great review.

  • Wow! That is a lot going on for one book. I don’t know if I could handle the hardcore BDSM, but the dynamic of all those people coming together fascinates me. And cool, a dancer for you. 😉

  • Oh I love hers. I wish I had time for this one right now. Sometime soon hopefully 🙂