Confession time…I am reading this series totally out of order, but it isn’t causing problems. Hopefully though the reviews will come out in order. I read book one first (Board Resolution) and didn’t like it. So when I saw Hostile Takeover on Net Galley (book #5) I decided to give the series another try. After that I grabbed up book #2 in the anthology Unlaced, but then sped forward to book #4, Afterlife. So I still have the middle book, #3 to read before I can say I have read the entire series.
The Knights of the Boardroom are made up of five men who work together and while not blood brothers, they hold a bond stronger than family. All are Dominants and when the find the woman for them, go to the ends of the earth (or the boardroom) to get them. Matt and Savannah is book one, Lucas and Cass are book two, Peter and Dana book three, Jon and Rachel book 4 and finally Ben and Marcie book 5.
Jon is the zen guy in my mind. He believes in fate, energizes, yoga, and ancient teachings. As he describes himself, he is an old soul in a young body. Extremely intelligent, he is also the inventor of the group and the calming force for all of them. He very rarely loses his temper. Oh, and his inventions would make me quiver if they were ever really…well real. Not all of his inventions are work related, but also sexually arousing tools to invoke mind blowing orgasms from a woman.
Rachel is broken. That is the simplest way to explain her. She runs the local yoga studio, but she leads an entirely solitary life after a bad divorce and the death of a family member. A brush with losing herself, she has pulled herself together, but never really lives life. She is a sexual submissive, but also a deep hearted service submissive. By this I mean she gives everything of herself to a Master, even if he isn’t a Master for real. Her divorce from an unemotionally equipped husband has left her walled up in defense, where no man can breach. After a year of wearing a wedding band to keep men at bay, Jon has figured out her game and won’t take no for an answer.
The emotional upheaval this book gave me was gut wrenching. A woman so torn up with her wants but also afraid to love again for being hurt. A young hearted woman stuck in a 43 year old body. How could a man 13 years younger love her? The turmoil she felt went straight to my heart…yeah I am a 40 something woman myself with stretch marks, age lines and a pouch that I wish would go away. I felt her insecurities straight within myself. But her isolation made my heart break. To not have someone to love her or even her to love back seemed such a waste from a beautiful woman.
Jon on the other hand stayed away from Rachel thinking she was married, but always feeling attraction to her. When he learns she is not married he decides to make a move, but something happens that makes him accelerate his moves. He is aggressive and won’t take no for an answer and this is probably where most of my problems come into play. Never once is there a safeword to their play. He takes things for granted thinking he knows what is best for Rachel. It just pushed too many boundaries I felt needed more time, whereas he felt needed to be nipped right away.
So there is one particular scene I had a horrible time processing. It is a spoiler, but it only helps to support some of what I said. I am putting this part of the review in a spoiler box so no one accidentally reads it.
View Spoiler » “Don’t touch me. Get away from me. Leave me alone.” To hell with that.
That is Rachel saying don’t touch me. And Jon saying To hell with that. It goes on and I will post some more quotes for you to understand.
Basically, Jon and Rachel have a emotional intense scene (BDSM) at a club. As they exit, her ex-husband is at the bar next door with his golf buddies and sees her. Some words are exchanged and Rachel spirals down backwards into her black hole behind her emotional walls that Jon thought he had torn down that evening. I understood Jon’s frustration of trying to tear down walls to have her give him her heart like he has given her his. I get his terror of loosing her. I get it. But what happens pushes some boundaries I have about non-consensual sex.
His two instincts flip-flopped, the primordial eagerly surging forward, the protective shoved to the background. But they were one and the same in this instance. And he was a lot fucking stronger and faster. Yanking her out of the corner, he banded an arm around her waist and flipped her to the limo carpet on her hands and knees. She tried to turn on him with nails and teeth, giving him her rage. He was pleased to see it, even as he controlled her, shoving her back down to her elbows. He held her there grimly, one hand on the back of her neck as he freed himself from his trousers. The skirt was so short that this position fully exposed her ass, the pussy still ripe from their earlier fucking, wet from that and the girls’ shower play. As he slammed into her, he heard her snarl, her cry of protest.
Right there. She protested, snarled…and he slammed into her thinking this was his right and his way of controlling her. It may be a BDSM relationship, but without a safeword in place, this is in essence rape to me. No means no…especially with no safeword!
He gave himself over completely to that instinct, his cock hard and thick, knowing what was his to take, but he wouldn’t leave it at that. He was driving into her like a battering ram, but she was getting hotter and wetter, and when he slapped her ass, a hard spank to command her attention further, she contracted on him, a short gasp breaking up the outrage. “Stop. Stop it.” As her arousal built, her furious, frantic demand became an anguished plea. A plea that stabbed him in the heart, for she was pleading for his help, to drive all the rest away, to make all the shrieking pain in her heart and head stop. Stop it. Please stop it. There was nothing he wouldn’t do for her. So in answer, he let go of her neck and braced his body over her with one arm, reaching beneath with the other to find her clit and rub it with knowledgeable fingers, feeling how swollen it was. Her hand latched onto his braced forearm, her forehead against his elbow. Her teeth sank into his arm, but as an anchor, not an attack.
Stop. Stop it. How much more clearer can that be that she wants him to stop…maybe she wants the pain inside her to stop, but damn it. She also didn’t want to be slammed around and rammed into. She bit him. It says as an anchor but I just didn’t buy that description.
This entire scene killed my thoughts on Jon. I loved him all the way up to this point and then I couldn’t find it in my heart to forgive him. No matter how much he loved her, how much he wanted to hold her, how much he wanted to heal her. He went about it all wrong and needed to be arrested.
I hate how one scene dragged my rating down. It wasn’t over the writing. The writing is superb. The scene is horrible.
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If you aren’t familiar with yoga, I suggest you pay attention to the descriptions, ignore it all or look it up. There is a lot of yoga positions and terminology that most times left me confused on what was being put where and in what direction. This seems to be a common problem when I read Joey W. Hill’s books.
The ending seemed rushed and pieced together. I don’t feel it resolved anything. It won’t keep Rachel from running or magically fix all those walls she has erected. You see them together again in Hostile Takeover and everything seems so wonderful for them. Just couldn’t buy it.
It’s not all doom and gloom. Joey W. Hill has grown so much in her writing. The books are fabulous, but this one made a poor decision in one scene that I had to lower the rating from an A to a C over. The beautifully written words to express the vault of despair Rachel was in, the enlightening words to translate Jon’s world. It was lyrical and moving, the words touched my soul and left an impression that won’t go away anytime soon.
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