I was in the mood to try a new to me author and a hot romantic suspense so I picked this one up after reading the blurb. Whew, yeah, it jumped right in on the hot stuff and the suspense wasn’t far behind. It was a moderately engaging read that definitely lived up to my expectations.
The story opens with Alex Rogers, Deputy Sheriff and submissive way in the closet attending a Kink party at her friend’s house to meet a potential Dom that Cap vouched for. Alex recently got out of an abusive relationship with a jerk claiming to be a Dom and she is gun-shy of it happening again. One scene with Frank Murphy and she can tell the difference really quick that he is the real deal. He gives off the Dom vibes, but also has a real Dom’s need to care for his sub. He gives her the rough play she wants and needs, but he holds back so not to hurt her and always checks to make sure everything is consensual and that she is fine. She is rattled to discover that he is part of her other life, too.
Ex-Navy SEAL and now new deputy, Frank is thrilled to meet Alex. Things went well and he looks forward to more though he knows he needs to be careful after her last relationship. But then things heat up at work when Alex’s mentor and work partner is killed. The department is rattled by the implications that they have a cop killer on their hands. Frank and Alex are also in the killer’s crosshairs and they pull together since they are now new partners. Meanwhile the killer plans to make Alex hurt over each loss and then pay the final price for his need for revenge.
Alright, so this one was a blend of erotic heat and suspense. I liked it enough to read through enjoying most of it, but not engaging with the story completely.
Things were exciting and moved rapidly without as much development and build up. The author chooses to reveal the killer and his purpose right away so it is a matter of the reader knowing what his plans and wondering how Frank and Alex will end up stopping him. This took away the opportunity for the natural tension of not knowing where the danger is coming from, but knowing its close. I think the killer could have still done narrative bits between Frank and Alex’s thoughts, but just not with the name and obvious stuff revealing exactly who he is.
The relationship was explosive and quick. They weren’t spouting I Love Yous or even feeling it right away, but it wasn’t long before they were feeling it and sliding into deeper relationship thoughts. I wanted to see more of connection outside of their work and the play room, but there was enough that it wasn’t too big of a stretch for the romance. To be honest, I took a while to buy into that working until Frank brought up the fact that she is a switch, not just a submissive, and then her less than submissive behavior made sense. Alex was my first ‘switch’ and it was interesting what that brought to the D/s relationship they were engaging in. She enjoyed being dominated, but there was a part of her that was calculating and controlling and not so much because she wanted to please as she wanted to gain satisfaction for her needs. I understand from what I’ve read that submissive is a power role because it is willingly relinquishing control, but it felt very different with Alex if that makes sense.
The writing style was tough for me and the part that made me only feel moderately connected to the story. I stumbled over the pauses to explain BDSM terms that read like bits from a glossary and having the lifestyle beat me over the head every other word as the story went along. There was a lot of telling in other areas, too. The reader is rarely allowed to be intuitive and it wasn’t as fun having the story spoon-fed to me.
That said, there is some good aspects to the story. Their scening was fun to read. I loved that they could play and there were some creative scenes like the hunter and hunted in the woods. That was so cool, too, how he as a Dom shut that scene down when she wouldn’t and he could see she was uneasy.
I also thought the attention to the setting of their patrol work for the Sheriff’s department felt authentic and was glad that it wasn’t just a minor background detail. It was also a nice layer of depth to include their families and that they came from two very different situations. They are also refreshing characters who have baggage, but they handle their stuff like adults. They are both protective and do impulsive acts to help others, but don’t foolishly pull stupid stunts.
In the end, I was glad to have read it and think those who enjoy mild to moderate BDSM reads with a suspense element would possibly enjoy this one.
My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this one in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #349 ER
Cliché Klatch #211 ‘I approve the view’
New to Me #171 author/series
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