Series: Serve #5
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The first rule is obey... and she already broke it.
Francesca "Frankie" De Luca always pays her debts. Even when it means stepping inside Serve, the sensuous Manhattan club that caters to particular adult desires. For Frankie, it's a taste of something she's always wanted—and never received. Until a sharply dressed Brit orders her into his room, and instructs her to undress before delivering the carnal punishment she so desperately needs...
She wasn't the woman Porter Evans was expecting. Not this wild thing with the pale, silvery eyes. And such cheek. But she violates Porter's strict rules of control. Temptation is a dangerous thing indeed. Yet everything about Frankie cries out for schooling about the tantalizing interplay of pleasure and pain. So Porter offers Frankie a deal she can't refuse—and the only thing she owes him is submission...
FTC : I got this review from the publicist for an honest review. It should also be noted that I am writing the review later than it should be but that fact has not influenced this review in any way.
I swear, Tessa Bailey could write a shopping list and it’d be hot as hell. This book is smokin’ hot and I’m pretty sure that there are scenes in it that could sit on my Top 5 sex-scene list (no I don’t actually have one of these … well, not one written down anyway). So why the 4 Stars I hear you cry? Well, although the sexual chemistry was absolutely spot on for me, I couldn’t feel an emotional connection between the main couple until right at the end. I shall discuss this later…
This is the 5th book in the Serve series but, I’ll be honest, it’s the third I’ve read, as I have only read the ones by Ms Bailey (yes, I am aware I am starting to sound like a stalker … yes, I have marked the others as to-read). I don’t think that this has affected my enjoyment of the series in anyway and I don’t feel like I missed anything by doing it.
This series is BDSM and I’m going to give out some highlights for those that need to know the details. This book is quite high on both Dominance/submission (there is some Dominance exerted out of the bedroom and there are some high commands such as no meeting of eyes etc) and Sadism/Masochism themes (there is spanking, rough play and lot of biting). It is intense, it will piss you off if you are not a fan of high handed Doms but I really enjoyed the all the BDSM scenes. At no point did I feel either party was in a relationship that they didn’t want and at no point did I think one person was in a kinky relationship just to suit the needs of the other (yes, Fifty shades, I’m looking at you here….)
I really enjoyed Frankie as a character. Stubborn, independent and feisty, I liked reading about her sexual-kink awakening. The set up served her character well; As a fiercely independent heroine, I could believe that the reason she was so quick to explore her kink was that she knew she was only with Porter for a short while. She confessed to the capture fantasy, she actually asked him for the spanking and the biting and she seemed to get over any shyness she had with him over her need/desire to submit quite quickly. She is everything I like about subbie awakening books.
Porter I had issues with. His stand-off-ish-ness was extreme and so led to some serious fuck-ups on his part as he struggled to keep his distance. He actually breached Frankie’s trust in several ways that I, as a reader, found quite hard to cope with. Yes, characters make mistakes but these were monumental errors in judgement that happened when she was at her most vulnerable and they all occurred because of his desire to keep his feelings out of their relationship. Honestly, I thought he was a bit of an ass. There was another issue as well; In his attempts to remain stand-offish, his possessive behaviour was amplified and I found it a little jarring. I also think this is the main reason I struggled to see any meaningful emotional connection between the characters. I struggled with him as a character on his own but, within the seriously kinky BDSM scenes, he made the scenes even better. He never hindered my enjoyment of the book but there were issues with him that I couldn’t ignore. It was only at the end that I started to see past my annoyance with him and started to enjoy them as a couple rather than as sexual partners.
This is a book that I think you need to form your own opinions on. Tessa Bailey is one of the best writers in this genre and, just because a character didn’t work for me, doesn’t mean it won’t for you. The BDSM scenes were edgey and cleverly written and, if you are a BDSM fan, I think maybe you should give it a go. Overall, my dislike of Porter didn’t effect my enjoyment of the book … I can cope with imperfect characters within my reads.