BUT, that being said, there was still enough of an emotional connection between the characters that I think readers of contemporary romance will be pleased. (But any readers of clean, sweet, cozy romances—or those Amish romances—should politely avert their eyes, lest they be thoroughly scandalized. Ahem.)
Other than the fact that I knew going in that I liked the author’s style, what drew me to this book (ha! See what I did there?) was the idea of a nerdy dom. Rory, the hero, wasn’t your typical billionaire exec. He was an artist and a gamer who ran a gaming company. You don’t get too many nerd heroes in romance, and I thought Rory breathed a breath of fresh air into the old, tired alphahole hero trope we see so often in the genre.
Tristan was a great heroine, too. She’s smart, hardworking, outspoken, and not at all afraid/ashamed to explore her interest in somewhat kinky sex. She never lied to herself about the nature of her relationship with Rory. He’d offered a friends-with-benefits scenario, and she accepted. She didn’t get mad at him later in the story when he stuck to the terms of that arrangement. Never once was Tristan a clingy, TSTL heroine. (Thank you for that, Bronwyn Green!)
Sexy times were VERY sexy, as I would expect from romantic erotica. Now, I don’t read a ton of the stuff, so I couldn’t tell you if the BDSM was legit and representative of what really goes on in those types of relationships, but there wasn’t anything there that tripped my bullshit meter or made me tip my head to one side and stare at my Kindle like a confused puppy while reading. So, I have to assume everything was as it should be in terms of properly representing a healthy BDSM relationship.
Now, I’m not going to lie and say this was a perfect read. There were a few points in the story where I kind of wanted to smack both Tristan and Rory upside the head. I mean, here’s two grown-ass adults who both want to make their friends-with-benefits relationship something more meaningful, and neither of them can seem to find their words and talk it out. Grrr. But that was a minor quibble and didn’t really detract too much from my overall enjoyment of the story. (It accounted for a ½ star reduction in my rating, though. I’m grumpy that way.)
All in all, this was a highly entertaining read from an author I’ve grown to trust. (Which is saying a lot, because I’m totally paranoid and hardly ever trust ANYONE.) Fans of romantic erotica and contemporary romance alike will enjoy this one.
Note: we received an ARC from the author free of charge.
Does this book contribute to or help crush the romance stigma?
Crushes it! This one is clean and sober. No rehab needed.
Other reading suggestions
Check out the author’s backlist, especially Rewritten. You won’t regret it.