(1 Curious Sub + 1 Dom in Denial) – Inhibitions = 4 Naughty Nights
Wildlife biologist Lindsey thought attending a fan convention with her new boyfriend Ben was a great idea—until their relationship fizzled. Lindsey still lusts after her ex—but if he wants her, he’s going to have to prove it.
Ben will do anything to win Lindsey back, and when he sees her in her skimpy black vinyl convention get-up, he realizes what she’s been craving all along. And he is inspired to finally give in to his own dark desire to take complete sexual control…
Lindsey is surprised by her reaction to Ben’s kinky new seduction techniques, and suddenly sees the brilliant but uptight code guru in a different light. After several erotic encounters in hotel rooms and stairwells, she’s falling for Ben all over again. And wondering if the intimate connection will last once they head home…
I really enjoyed this book. I loved the first book in this series, The Theory of Attraction, so I was very excited to see that Ms Dryden was writing a series. I was a little disappointed that the characters weren’t who I expected but excited all the same. The heroine in this book was the woman in The Theory of Attraction that Ivan focused his “Dom Powers” on the first time at the backyard BBQ.
What I liked about this book
Let’s just start with the fact that I am a fan of Delphine Dryden. That’s hurdle number one. I’m also a fan of BDSM focused D/s romances. Hurdle number two cleared. That’s like…an automatic two stars right there. Without even trying, lol.
I loved the fact that the action takes place at a Con (conference). Considering this series started with a nerd Dom, there’s something just so right about the location choice. Lindsey and Ben hooking up at a Con reminds me of When in Rio in a *small* way – but not (the distance from home making the relationship easier). I loved the whole idea of the Con in general…but it (plus other factors) made it feel as if Ben and Lindsey were cosplaying during their sex scenes when they “slipped into their roles.” But damn…I am a Geek so the location made me feel all warm and snuggly inside. I have to admit that I called the ending of the book – with the Balls N’ Chains costumes – less than 50% of the way through the book. Strangely enough, while I thought it was a little corny…it really made me grin. I *guess* it’s the geek in me coming out.
Of course, no erotic romance would be complete without the erotica. 😉 The sex was pretty hot. I’d put it closer to smoking. There were not a lot of sex scenes but the…anticipation was there throughout most of the book. Very nice. I’d also LOVE to see an actual Balls N’ Chain comic. And I’ll admit it…I did a google search. *bashful face* Strangely enough, there is a comic with that name (well, 99% of the name, it’s slightly different) that is also mostly B&W with pops of color. But it’s not the same at all…
What didn’t work for me
While I did enjoy this book…it didn’t feel quite as sweet or as “organic” as book one, The Theory of Attraction. Unlike the first book, this book starts with the characters in a real state of conflict – and it is the first book I’ve read by Ms Dryden that started in this manner. I’m not sure how I feel about this. And some of the BDSM in this book kinda felt…forced, you know? In the first book Cami learns about BDSM from a current practitioner but in this book both the characters are newbies and feeling BDSM out. While that is an interesting plot in and of itself…there were too many “coincidences” in this one for me.
Lindsey and Ben (and the rest of their group) are going to a Con:
- …that “just so happens” to have a booth for a comic…
- …that “just so happens” to be decently realistic hard-core BDSM.
- Lindsey “just happens” to have decided to go as a character in said BDSM comic and…
- …”it just so happens” that she looks just like the character to the point she becomes a booth babe.
What is interesting to me is the amount of tension that is packed into the first 25% (for me, at least).
While reading…I’m not sure how I felt about the instant transformation that Ben had. In the beginning he may have had some interest in BDSM (vaguely) but he never took the time to research it. For Ben to get a few pointers from Ivan and Cami, read/watch some BDSM themed educational/salacious materials (in the space of a few hours), and then manage to become Dom-like…felt a little…untrue. But not all of the time (see my digression below). The second scene they do – also from Ben’s POV – is full of the fumbling and clunky thoughts that I would assume is in the head of a first timer. (Assume, yeah I know what happens when we assume).
POV changes – this book hops POVs between the hero/heroine. I felt like we spent more time in the head of the hero than the heroine. It’s…strange to spend that much time in the hero’s head – and the beginning of the very first sex scene is seen from the hero’s POV. I did enjoy watching Ben “learn to be a Dom.” He felt he had to be serious (all the time?) and so it was interesting to see humorous moments from Ben’s POV as he struggled to keep his “Dom face.”
When Books Make You Think (aka random thoughts)
Some other thoughts: I was thinking…the amount of pressure that a Dom/me is under seems like it can be extraordinary. In this book Ben feels a lot of pressure to quickly “get up to snuff” in the Dom department. And then it sorta dawned on me that – in some instances – this is unfair. I’m not sure if I’m saying this right but here goes: Lindsey has some preconceived notion of what BDSM (specifically domination/submission) is like. Her notions come from external fictional exposure: she reads books, magazines, comics…maybe does some internet searches, etc. She has no practical knowledge of the activity but she does desire that practical knowledge. Ben, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to even have the external knowledge that Lindsey has. So the whole idea of it is pretty new to him – past the personal desire aspect. So the expectation that Lindsey has (might have) that Ben will “dominate” her in a particular manner…places a lot of pressure on Ben. Lindsey just has to submit to Ben…which requires rather little actual thinking on her part. Ben has to be responsible for a lot more: Lindsey’s safety, Lindsey’s sexual satisfaction, Lindsey’s aftercare, the actions that take place during the sex itself, etc. That’s a pretty long list going on for a newbie with a newbie.
Ummm…sometimes I think too much. *embarrassed smile*
This (plus another book) totally spawned a conversation between a friend and I: Can a vanilla man/woman become a Dom/me? Can a vanilla man/woman become a submissive? The conversation was interesting – she feels (and I think I agree) that the Dom/me cannot be created from a vanilla person because it requires both the desire to Dominate plus entails a lot of responsibility (see above paragraph). She does believe that a vanilla person could become a submissive – as long as the introducing Dominate does it in the right way (what is the right way?? I’m sure it differs from person to person). My friend did remind me that there’s more to BDSM than D/s…
Back to the book. One of the things I liked about the book is that this book revisits that ex. The one who broke your heart. But this time, it turns out that there’s a happy ending in the horizon. I could totally understand the feelings that Lindsey had – falling into sex with her ex; wanting to believe that this time could be different – then remembering how much pain that person caused.
When Lindsey had her breaking moment and realized that she’d just given Ben a way to hurt her even more than before – I was there with her. The conversation they had – while difficult for me since I’d spent so much time in Ben’s head (and didn’t want to see him hurt) – was perfect. She was honest and upfront with Ben. She told him her fears. In a sense, she totally avoided the whole “big misunderstanding” that usually happens at this particular point in Romance novels. And I loved that. Ben needed to prove to Lindsey that he wouldn’t leave her high and dry again. He needed to prove that she could trust him – especially if they were going to embark on such an emotionally and physically dangerous journey together. This relationship couldn’t work without trust.
I also just love this series (so far). I love the nerdmance. I love the geeks. This book has it all: engaging characters, hot sex, great surroundings, laughter and restraints. 😉
Four Stars! Totally Recommended!