My first opportunity to read this author came with the book preceding this one which was book four in the series. I read the teaser at the end and found myself anticipating this one after meeting the male lead briefly in the other book. I was amazed how my perceptions of Master Van were blown out of the water when I got into his book where both his present and his past life through flashbacks were brought out in this story. No disappointment here for me.
The pacing, tone and direction of this one was so very different from the story before. I was able to tell that it was connected to a series because of recurring characters popping through and the one scene out at The Ranch that features in this series as the main gathering place, but I loved the unique feel that was specific to Kade and Tessa for their characters and story. This is a reunion romance of sorts. It is two stories wrapped up in one with Kade and Tessa of the past and Kade and Tessa of the present.
Tessa McAllen has returned to Texas after divorcing her cheating husband who made it clear that he thought her little better than a useless, ‘cant stand on her own two feet’, gold-digging, ‘frigid in bed’, trophy wife. Tessa took this sort of verbal abuse to heart after hearing it for years, but no more. She’s made a list of things that she will accomplish on her way to an independent, better, and happier Tessa. Getting tangled up with another man is not one of the items on her list so she drags her feet when her friend Sam drags her off to a gourmet cooking class meet and greet at a posh area restaurant where she meets the sensual mysterious man who helps her check off ‘frigid’ from her list. His intensity and hints of darker needs bring out fear, but her greater emotions are anticipation and excitement to his ideas. She wanted one night and he wants one more.
Kade Vandergriff, successful businessman and dominant in his private life, learns that the woman who grabbed his attention and left him wanting more is none other than the one who got away. In high school, they were both cliches. She was the lovely and popular cheerleader dating the rich boy popular quarterback while Kade was the stuttering smart guy who used to be fat and wanted what he couldn’t have. It had all ended badly. Now here she is again in his life, but this time he has the upper hand it seems since she is the one with nothing and he, a success. Deep down, he knows that there was more to the story back then which is why he put up with her need to hide their friendship before and her ultimate rejection of him. He was the only one who knew the real Tessa and no matter her choice, she was the only one who saw the real him.
Tessa is afraid to trust especially someone who has the reputation as a player and the experience to back that rep up, but Kade has opened up a whole new world for her and she doesn’t want to give that up out of fear or worry of what others have taught her to think of these craven needs inside her. She wants to finally acknowledge her true feelings and not just be and do what others want. She promises herself that it is just physical or ‘pretend play’. She gives herself permission to enjoy the ‘dirty’ and kinky stuff that she does with Kade.
Kade has known from the beginning that things with Tessa are different. This is no diverting little affair or play time as usual with a submissive; this thing with Tessa for him is a chance. He wants it all with her, but he knows that he must come clean about who he really is- that boy she didn’t choose and who took the brunt of her then boyfriend’s angry sadistic abuse- and he must come clean about what he is and wants in a relationship before things go much deeper. He is nervous that either truth will send her running. He lost his ex-wife and chance of more than short visits with his daughter do to his lifestyle and he knows the number her ex did on her, but yet he must know before his feelings grow even stronger.
Tessa surprises him in so many ways.
His heart squeezed in his chest at the honest words, and it took everything he had not to reach out and caress her, but he could tell she wasn’t done. She turned and looked back at him, her gaze stripped clean. “I want you to hit me because being with you makes me feel less fragile. You aren’t afraid to push me, to break me. And sometimes…I wonder how it feels to be broken.” The admission reached inside him and twisted things around into something new, opening up an ache that echoed through his deepest chambers. pp. 293-294 Tessa and Kade from Need You Tonight
His heart squeezed in his chest at the honest words, and it took everything he had not to reach out and caress her, but he could tell she wasn’t done.
She turned and looked back at him, her gaze stripped clean. “I want you to hit me because being with you makes me feel less fragile. You aren’t afraid to push me, to break me. And sometimes…I wonder how it feels to be broken.”
The admission reached inside him and twisted things around into something new, opening up an ache that echoed through his deepest chambers. pp. 293-294 Tessa and Kade from Need You Tonight
Tessa seeing the real Kade.
His focus flicked over her face and his eyebrow lifting, “Enjoying the view?” “You have no idea.” pp. 297-298 Tessa and Kade from Need You Tonight
His focus flicked over her face and his eyebrow lifting, “Enjoying the view?”
“You have no idea.” pp. 297-298 Tessa and Kade from Need You Tonight
Kade in awe of Tessa’s gift to him- her trust
She took the pills and swallowed them back. “This definitely goes on record as the first sex I’ve had that required medication afterward.” “Gold star for me.” The completely shameless grin he gave her made her laugh. “Hey, I’m the one who’s not going to be able to sit down tomorrow. Don’t I get some stars?” He climbed in bed next to her. “Tess, I’d give you all the stars in the sky right now if I could.” p. 303 Tess and Kade from Need You Tonight
She took the pills and swallowed them back. “This definitely goes on record as the first sex I’ve had that required medication afterward.”
“Gold star for me.”
The completely shameless grin he gave her made her laugh.
“Hey, I’m the one who’s not going to be able to sit down tomorrow. Don’t I get some stars?”
He climbed in bed next to her. “Tess, I’d give you all the stars in the sky right now if I could.” p. 303 Tess and Kade from Need You Tonight
Sorry, just had to share those. I had so many more quotes marked that struck me in this story.
So my thoughts on the story…
As I said, this one strikes its own tone and I loved the gentle pacing to that thrilling scene near the end.
I don’t normally give a ton of warnings and make excuses for a story’s path, but I feel the need to issue one or two just so people know what they can expect and won’t be disappointed. I’m not anywhere near an expert at erotica or BDSM genres, but in the few that I’ve read, I’ve noticed that heat and kink many times take the lead even to sacrificing story development. Those stories do have their place, but aren’t what you’ll find here. This book takes the time to build a huge porch and foundation before putting up the rest of the house if you catch my drift (lots of character and relationship building before the other).
The BDSM is moderate even though there are hints that Kade can go way darker- he’s a sadist. Tessa is slowly discovering an enjoyment of pain which pleases them both. Truthfully, much of what is here in the story is on the milder side- fantasy scenes, exhibitionism, spankings, binding, toys, nuances, but that is because it is an introduction for Tessa into Kade’s lifestyle. And Kade can’t really get to that until they clear the air about their past and deal with the verbal and mental abuse her ex dealt her. So yeah, my advice…be patient and expect a true romance here that will also have you squirming at times particularly when Kade heats Tessa’s butt with his hand.
My take on the characters was to be very pleased with both of them. I’m tough to please when it comes to BDSM story characters. I like heroes who walk that fine line between being a sexy, caring dominant and an arrogant jerk. I like heroines who are beautifully submissive, but still have a backbone. I’m not a lover of the bratty sub or the doormats. Kade and Tessa were fantastic.
Kade had every reason to take out his bitterness and anger over the past on Tessa, but he didn’t. He patiently guided her and waited for her to move past all her issues even though he had some pretty big stuff of his own to get through- his past with abusive step-dad, attack/beating from Doug, and ex-wife keeping him from his little girl. He kept himself in check afraid of a second rejection from Tessa even though he pressed on hoping that this time it would be his turn to get the girl. He knew he had to be honest with her if he wanted a real future together. That’s scary stuff laying all that on the line which is why I straight up thought he was something truly heroic when he did it.
Tessa only wanted a short-term fling. Her issues go back to her days of being abandoned by her mother, growing up in the foster system and then her cheating husband. This is the first time in her life that she is showing her real face and it scares her. She wants Kade, but is afraid to go for more because she thought he was just using her to scratch an itch and would toss her aside when he got bored. She also had the right to take her time about all the new stuff and new way of thinking that Kade was throwing at her. I loved how she processed things. Bad stuff happens and she just takes a deep breath and keeps on going. Each new thing with Kade makes her stop and think and then go ahead. It was neat seeing her trust for Kade literally form and grow before my eyes.
In the end, I was struck once again by my love for this author’s writing, her characters, story development and her ability to write a steamy scene. I didn’t speak to the action and suspense in this story, but it was there too. I eagerly await Kade’s bestfriend Colby’s story now.
If you’re like me and enjoy a building story around your passion scenes then this BDSM Contemporary Romance series might be a good fit. And just as an aside, I found that this one was okay to be read standalone if you are like me and accidentally grab a book out of order though this is not true for every book in the series.
My thanks to Penguin Group for providing the book in exchange for my honest review thoughts.
We have one paperback copy of Need You Tonight by Roni Loren up for grabs. Just leave a comment below to enter.
US only. Giveaway ends April 10,2014 at 11:59 pm EDT.
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