This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: BDSM Romance, Erotic Romance
Published by Berkley
Released on November 4, 2014
I didn’t even read the blurb before diving right in and, for those who know me, that’s saying something. I’m like a Pavlov experiment the second I see ‘Roni Loren’ on the cover. Roni Loren…gotta have the book yesterday. And this one, like the rest of the series, hit early, hit deep and hit often so that I couldn’t have put it down if the house was on fire like ‘grab the book, grab the other living occupants and out to the neighbor’s lawn to keep reading’.
Okay, okay, seriously. So this book started out as a serial story that in the sequence came between books three and four in the series and now its all together accompanied by a bonus novella (yep all that goodness and the extra story about a side character). It could be read as a standalone in a pinch though I would definitely suggest trying to get book 2, Melt Into You, in first since it is the heroine’s brother’s story and will make better sense of what is going on with the strong connection there.
The story begins when Cela comes home from her graduation to a lonely apartment and a bottle of tequila. She has done the right thing her whole life and the sight of her hottie neighbors, Pike and Foster, in the hall nearly undoes her. They issue an invitation to come over for pizza and porn (though she’s only iffy whether Pike was kidding about that). She gives them her standard good girl response of ‘thanks, but no thanks’ and heads in alone only to realize that she’s blowing perhaps her one last chance to do something spontaneous and daring and maybe wicked. She left her small town home and overbearing parents to see how the rest of the world lived and instead had just been following the rules long distance. A few shots of liquid courage later and she is knocking on their door.
Foster has watched his young, innocent and naive neighbor for a long time. Normally, he’s not into someone so vanilla, but she fascinates him and awakes the dominant in him that sees the natural submissiveness in her. During his times of bringing women home and sometimes sharing them with Pike, his best friend and roommate, he deliberately gets things loud knowing the secret of their shared thin walls. She gets off to his escapades and he gets off to that even when he is with the others. Pike’s invitation to Cela meets with the response that he expected and knows is right. She doesn’t belong in his world or even have a clue just how dark he can get. Cela would run away screaming just like the last one did and his heart couldn’t take more rejection like that. It’s best to play with those who know the score and aren’t tempting enough to touch his heart. But then, there’s a knock at the door and his innocent Cela begins to show him that maybe, just maybe he might have gotten her all wrong. Dare he take just one more chance?
Wow! Each time I pick up one of these books, it is a different story each time. It’s not the same story with just a new set of names. They all offer a different glance into the BDSM world. In this case, it is following a young woman through her introduction into the world and her response to it and the man who is putting himself out there trusting her as he showed her his world.
It was interesting how sections of the narration are told in first person point of view when it’s Cela and Foster’s is in third person to offer the feeling of up, close and personal experience it right there with Cela to more of an objective, step back and breath with Foster. Although, that in no way means that Foster is distant or unrelated-able. Nope, this poor guy was so vulnerable that my heart felt for him as he waited it out to see if Cela was ‘The One’ or was ‘the another one to break his heart’ as he was used by her to scratch an itch and satisfy the curiosity or maybe just maybe stay around for something deeper.
I really wasn’t sure if I was going to like it at first. Certain things made me nervous. Cela was in a different place than Foster in just about every way that mattered, but particularly when it comes to sexual experience. She is sexually naive and nearly innocent. Though like any other younger person, she is ‘rarin’ to go full speed ahead damn the consequences’ to dive in head first instead of sliding into the deep end of the pool carefully. Foster has grave misgivings about the whole thing because he knows that she isn’t taking things seriously. This is a one night experiment and fling for her even if its not for him since he’s wanted her for a long time and understands her better than she understands herself. He tries to do the right thing while treating her like an adult, but she lies about something important and then later she does it again claiming at the same time that she feels she doesn’t know him. This type of relationship is about trust and communication and Cela is not demonstrating either of those. That always gets me tense when I see that. Thankfully, I was in good hands and the author knew what she was doing and so this ended up as the kink version of My Fair Lady instead of a disaster (admittedly that analogy falls way short, but it was on my mind as I read this so I tossed it in for good measure).
Here’s a little quote of the passage where Miss Cela decided to poke the bear or should I say wolf:
[quote]He raked his hand through his hair. “You know why I walked away.”
“Right. Yes. You’re the Big Bad Wolf, and I’m innocent Little Red Riding Hood. Got it. Let me go find my freaking picnic basket.”
She moved to walk past him, hair whipping behind her, but he grabbed her wrist, halting her. “You know it’s more than that. Don’t act like it’s a small thing.”
Those chocolate eyes held challenge as she met his gaze. “Isn’t it, though? So you’re a little kinky. Whatever. Big Deal.”
“Whatever?” pp. 142-143, Cela and Foster, Not Until You[/quote]
So yes, these two were in two different places in their lives and they had so much to work out between them as a result, but I loved the author’s cunning way of telling a story so that I was more than willing to be right there with them through it all. Foster is an experienced Dom and enjoys inflicting a bit of pain in his passion so he despairs of ever finding a woman who will commit to a lifetime allowing him to own her and dominate her in this manner. He has his eye on the lovely, but pure and innocent woman next door who takes care of her sexual needs alone on the other side of his bedroom wall. For all his dominance, he is more emotionally vulnerable than Cela because of a terrible tragedy in his family’s past and a broken engagement. I loved that scene near the end when Cela is right there beside him telling the world how wonderful he is and how his work makes him a hero. Just so heartwarming.
Gah, yes, heartwarming. I keep saying that about this series. It gets hotter than Hades much of the time with the kink, but it is emotionally engaging too- humorous, heartwarming, sweet, sad, and so passionate. I get so vested in the lives of the characters and not even just the main characters. Foster’s buddy, Pike, is the coolest guy. I love bumping into other characters from The Ranch in various scenes. The one with Cela, and Jace with her brother Andre was so hilarious.
As to the novella, So Into You, I was unaware it was there when I got the book, but was so glad for that surprise. The heroine, Bret, was a really minor character in Not Until You though her presence makes a pretty good impact. I guess a ton of people were curious about her so generous lady that she is, Roni Loren wrote a little follow-up piece for Bret. I enjoyed Bret and Malone a lot and this was only my second ever book with a Domme so that aspect was quite the novelty for me.
All in all, this was another one that drew me in and got me vested in the characters and their lives. I can’t push this series enough to those who enjoy mild to moderate BDSM and a whole lot of character and plot development in their romance.
My thanks to Penguin Group and Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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