To be honest I was dubious about reading this book, having never delved into the kinky world of BDSM before (other than the prerequisite 50 Shades, which - in truth - hardly rates worthy). By the time I'd hit the fourth chapter I was very pleasantly surprised and eager to return each time I had to put it down.
Essentially this is a love story - a very satisfying one - with collars, wrist cuffs, o-rings, floggers AND a happy ending. Each chapter was written from one of the three characters points of view and, for me, sassy, sexy Q was the hub on which the rest of the story turned. She is a little rough around the edges and seeks solace for her problems in pain, which lends her the vulnerability she needs to engage a reader's empathy. And there's lots of pain for Q because she is hopelessly in love with her very best, supposedly straight girlfriend Sabrina.
Sweet, doe-eyed Sabrina uses her allure to tease poor Q mercilessly and in the first few chapters we are given a sense of the blurring lines in the young women's relationship that sets up the tension for the rest of the novel. Sabrina comes across as a bit immature in the way she toys with Q's affections and her fascination with ghosts, but not so much to make her unlikeable. It's her interest in the paranormal that leads the girls to meet Jude, a handsome man with a few years experience as a Dominant, who is about to enter medical school once the summer is over.
Once I met Jude my heart was truly captured. If I was to ever consider trying out the BDSM thing, Jude is exactly the kind of Dom I'd want. He's very masculine, tall and broad, intelligent and charming, firm and, best of all, kind. I don't know about you, but if I'm tied naked to a table I want the guy standing over me with a whip in his hand to care about me.
The relationship between the threesome starts out as a bit of light hearted fun and the first few sex scenes are hot enough to melt your e-reader. Cari (who I interviewed last week) warned me about the painting scene, and she was right to. 14 glorious pages of exciting, edgy, delicious sex and probably my favourite scene in the book - other than the very satisfying last chapter, but i'm not going to do a spoiler on you.
Having read more than my usual quota of commercial fiction this year (I'm a literary girl at heart) what impressed me most was the quality and consistency of the writing. Dom with a Safeword was co-authored by Cari Silverwood, Sorcha Black & Leia Shaw - and it's quite an achievement for 3 different authors to create a smoothly flowing narrative with consistent characterisation and without hiccoughs. The dialogue is sharp and witty -
"You better make sure your mouth doesn't write checks your ass doesn't want to cash" (Jude)
and the sex is steamy and well written - other than the odd occasion where I couldn't work out where bodies were (it's tricky when there's three). And even though the rude bits run into pages at a time, these three clever chicks have managed to avoid all the usual cringe worthy cliches.
The final climax is a bit of a nail biter and I began to wonder if everything would work out for these three whom I'd developed a liking for. What started in some playful, hot sex slowly evolves into an emotionally intense drama between three people trying to sort out their complicated feelings for each other.
My only real concern is the title (sorry Cari & co). I didn't pick up on the 'safeword/Dom' nuance until I was well into the book (hey, I'm slow, but I'm worth waiting for okay? Remember I'm new to this) and I don't think it does the work justice. I suspect it might put off some potential new readers who wouldn't normally pick up this kind of material, but would definitely enjoy it. To those folk I say, if you like an emotionally driven narrative laced with plenty of hot sex pick up this book, you won't regret it.
The Dom with a Safeword is available for the price of a coffee through Amazon.
Warning: this book contains adult material including the use of multiple implements to bring bratty subs to their knees, scaffolding doubling as bondage apparatus, and a haunted house. No ghosts were harmed in the making of this book. BDSM elements, M/f/f, f/f.