Released: October 12, 2013
Genre: Erotica, BDSM
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services, Inc
Reviewed by Sarah
On the flap: Erika Walsh has carried a torch for Christopher Milton, heir to her father’s publishing empire for years. After one steamy make out session she begins to wonder if it might develop into something more. But when M. L. Crawford, better known as Max, her father’s publishing rival, seeks her out at a society event, she’s drawn to his magnetic charisma and powerful demeanor. Their verbal bantering and innuendo laced overtones stir feelings she never knew existed, and soon Erika is consumed with knowing the real man under Max’s restrained public façade.
Max’s dark desires scare yet arouse Erika, as he opens her eyes to a new bold world full of passion and ecstasy she never imagined until him. But the biggest question remains: Is Erika’s craving for Max just an illusion that transpires behind the walls of The Gate?
The above is publicized synopsis; however, the story itself comes across quite a bit differently.
Who is the story really about? The love triangle between Erika, Max, and Chris is presumed to be the main point but a large portion of attention in the book is taken by a sub-plot with Catherine, Raymond, and Bryan. Catherine is a switch and part owner of The Gate. Raymond is her master and Bryan is a switchy submissive newbie completely infatuate by her.
While I can see the influence from Tiffany Reisz, it doesn’t come across as successfully. The characters and plot feel unfocused and erratic. It took a significant amount of reading before I could figure out it lacks transitions. People and narratives go from point A to point B with no way of getting there.
Erika is initially presented as naïve and almost childlike but then like a flip of a switch is completely open sexually to whatever and then back to being innocent and gullible. About halfway through she states this is her first relationship with a man and perhaps it’s why she will do anything to keep him, unfortunately this emanates an unhealthy bond. How is it Erika has extreme social anxiety in large groups or even in restaurants but is completely relaxed on her first trip to a crowded sex club? Or to have a sexual act with another man in front of a large audience?
The overall theme includes BDSM elements but leans towards being heavily sadistic and masochistic but the manner in which it’s presented sometimes has the impression of not being responsible BDSM and bordering cruelty. Never have I read this type of book where an introduction into BDSM includes not wanting to scare the submissive but telling her you’re going to whip her until she screams her safe word.
The storyline, while not always effective, is still intriguing. The last half of the book does make you understand where the first tries to get you. It does markedly get more captivating even while seemingly dropping the ball regarding details of subplots. It’s too soon to tell if these will be picked by up in the next installment. I’m already having a love/hate relationship with the synopsis for the next book but I have this itchy feeling I’ll read it anyway. While my overall review may come across harsh the story will still get under your skin. I finished the book over a week ago and am curious to what will happen next. Plus, you won't forget the pony boys!
Rating: 3 Stars
Amazon | Goodreads | Author
I have a large appetite for books with pensive alpha males. I tend to lean towards erotica and contemporary romance. I am completely addicted to my Kindle and feel naked when it’s not with me. If you have any recommendations, feel free to email them. I’m a single-ish woman with two crazy dogs. I also love football and basketball. Living in Oklahoma City, my teams are the Thunder and Sooners.