Genres: BDSM Romance, Erotic Romance
Published by Berkley
Released on October 6, 2015
I returned to the world of Wicked Lovers after a long drought and was eager to engage with this latest story. I was relieved that even though I’ve missed several of the latest releases; I was still able to read the story quite easily. That said, I do need to get caught up.
The story opens with Mystery Mullins, daughter of the famous Hollywood director and star Marshall Mullins, back in America for the first time in six years after her kidnapping and rescue. She can’t seem to get over the man who rescued her and rejected her eager young love. Oh, she gets why he had to back then, but unfortunately Axel ruined her for other men. But that’s about to change hopefully. Mystery has a plan. She will go to him in disguise, proposition him so he will accept, and then she’ll discover that he’s just a man and get him out of her system.
Axel doesn’t know what to make of the woman who inexplicably came on to him at his favorite bar, but she is definitely more than she is saying and there is something familiar about her. She’s a hot woman and her submissive nature calls to his dominance. He wants her not to mention she engages his curiosity to discover what she is hiding. Then, he discovers the truth of who it was who slept with him and ran. Mystery Mullins! Unfortunately, once again, she is back in danger and his protective instincts kick in. He will help protect her, but they are going to deal with the Pandora’s Box she opened and she’ll learn better the kind of man she thought to manipulate.
Alright, this one grabbed my interest from the beginning, but I hesitated when I read part of the blurb. The woman has the not so brilliant plan to scratch an annoying six year old itch and move on with the guy in question none the wiser because she’s in disguise. She claims it is to get him out of her system, but it felt like a spoiled girl not getting her way back then and now determined to have it. Axel did the right thing about not taking up her provoking offer because she was the wrong side of twenty and had just gotten out of a situation with a sleazy captor. But in the end, I liked this author’s books before and wanted to try her new one, so I did.
Part of me was glad to have read the story because there were some elements that really engaged me, but the part that made me hesitate turned out to be an issue for me.
When it comes to BDSM stories, I need those engaged in it to be mature characters or at least characters of the same maturity. They are engaging in acts that expose a whole lot more than their physical bodies and the trust and communication factors have to be there or someone’s going to get hurt possibly physically, psychologically, and/or emotionally.
I brought that up because the heroine left me feeling like she was too young. Her actual age might be mid-twenties, but her cognitive and emotional processes said different. There is of course her half-baked plan to which I referred earlier that didn’t bother to consider the fact that she was in essence using a guy who not only put his life on the line for her, but respected her enough not to take advantage of what her naive young hormones were offering up back in the day. Then there is the way she impulsively jumps into action or leaps to conclusions on several occasions. She consults only her own feelings much of the time. I didn’t hate her, but with how quickly things got down to it with the sex and romance, with the dangerous situation from her past, and with the way Axel was portrayed as a mature, stable, thinking guy, she didn’t work for me as a romance interest in a BDSM erotic romance.
[quote]She backed into the chair and crossed her arms over her chest. “What?”
“I’m trying to have a conversation with you, face-to-face, the way adults do. You’re making that damn hard when you’re pouting.”
“Well excuse the hell out of me for being shocked that you could (have sex) with me twice in the last few hours, then look awfully comfortable with another woman in your lap. Do you know how stupid that made me feel? How manipulated and used?”
“And you didn’t use me when you picked me up in the bar to scratch your itch? By your own admission, you had zero intention of coming clean with me about your identity or talking to me again.”
“We discussed this. I never meant to hurt you. I apologized.”
“But I genuinely listened and tried to see your side of the story. Could you extend me the same courtesy?”
His question pricked her with guilt. He had listened. She just kept butting in and sounding like a jealous shrew. “Fine. I’m all ears. What’s with you two?”
- 236 Mystery and Axel from Wicked for You[/quote]
But past that, I was riveted for the portion of the book that flashed back to that time six years before when Mystery was kidnapped and Axel came to her rescue. It got intense and visceral as they fought to survive in the desert and fought off their enemies. If things could have picked up from there with Mystery being older and wiser and ready for a dominant man like Axel, I probably would have been praising this book to the heavens. As it is, its still pretty good.
The suspense element was the driving agent for much of the plot, but it stayed in the background until near the end. The ‘who’ question had me pointing fingers in a few directions before I finally got it right. I enjoyed wondering who was behind it all, but I had a pretty good idea at why from early on. I was partially right because, naturally, there was a twist.
The passion between Axel and Mystery took up a large portion of the book. I had to set aside the fact that in reality things happened way too darn fast so I enjoy the sizzling heat between this pair. Mystery soon discovers that she bit off quite a bite when she took on Axel. He’s not just a real man as she calls him, but Axel is dominant. He sees her natural submissive tendencies and wants to help her explore that, but he has to deal with the crap going on in her head much of the time so their time together is either lust driven or he has to help her sort through her fears even though she promises to be honest and trust him. The BDSM elements are mild for the most part and involve bondage, spanking, and a few pervertables like clothespins and an interesting use of a cutting board and rice.
[quote]He enjoyed her urgency and the closeness of the moment. Someday, he’d make love to Mystery softly and let her touch him at will. Today wasn’t that day. Everything inside screamed not only to dominate, but to claim her, to bind her to him with pleasure. Because he still didn’t know if she would truly want him when the real world came calling again…But maybe, if he gave Mystery more pleasure than she could manage, when the dust settled with whoever pursued her, none of that would matter.
- 182-183 Axel from Wicked For You[/quote]
In summary, it had some strengths that were really enjoyable and some things that took away from that. I found the author’s exploration of the repercussion of cheating on a marriage and family and walking away on a marriage and family had far reaching effect especially on the children. The blend of erotic romance and suspense was a nice balance and I have definitely whetted my appetite for more books from this series. Those who enjoy the blend of mild to moderate BDSM and suspense should try this book/series.
My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Discussion Question: In this story, I found the heroine’s maturity level problematic because it was a BDSM romance, but I’m not sure that it would have done more than mildly annoy me in a New Adult or Contemporary Romance. I’m curious now. Do you have hang-ups that are limited to a certain genre? Like you’ll tolerate a certain behavior or character type in one genre that you won’t in another? Some people don’t mind marriages of convenience in historicals, but they don’t like them in contemporaries, etc. Do tell!
Romance Roundabout #321 ER
Cliché Klatch #195 ‘that train had left the station’