I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
by Lilah Pace
Released: June 2, 2015
Series: Asking for It #1
Published by Berkley
“So, ahem…this was one to read alone for me. Pace knows how to write an erotic scene in all its explicit, raw, sometimes violent detail.” ~ Under the Covers
Asking for It is a debut erotic work by Lilah Pace, though my research dug up that she is a NYT bestselling author in another genre. This absolutely showed in the writing, which was polished and confident. It pushed all of the right buttons for me in a huge way. Vivienne is a successful graduate student at UT Austin with a sexual secret: she needs rape fantasies to get off and she hates this about herself. It’s always been a source of shame, until Jonah Marks walks into her life. Jonah is a science professor at UT with dark desires of his own. When he learns of Vivienne’s fantasy, he proposes an arrangement between them, one that will be mutually satisfying, but leaves any emotional connection at the back door. They are to remain acquaintances only, not lovers. This, however, is easier said than done. Jonah and Vivienne have secrets to protect that could destroy their trust in each other and families that even surprised me with their callous behavior.
So, ahem…this was one to read alone for me. Pace knows how to write an erotic scene in all its explicit, raw, sometimes violent detail. There’s a perfect amount of anticipation combined with an atmosphere of danger, a dose of the forbidden. The chemistry between Vivienne and Jonah was on fire from their first meeting. The subject of the scenes themselves is based in rape fantasy. I haven’t read an extensive number of books with this particular kink, but I do read my fair share of non-con/dubious consent BDSM, so I didn’t find this shocking or disturbing, particularly. Each scene is consensual and there are safe-words in place. At face value, this wouldn’t be more than a kink, but both Jonah and Vivienne have pasts that make their entire arrangement much more complicated from a psychological point of view and this is where some readers might become a bit uncomfortable. A few characters actually made my stomach turn with disgust. There’s a trigger warning by the author to fend off those who have trouble with the subject.
Vivienne is an intriguing character that I sympathized with. She wants to break her “addiction” to this desire, but with a safe partner like Jonah, she finally feels a bit more free to indulge. I liked her as a strong successful woman who felt free when surrendering to Jonah in all his cool dominance. While these are rape fantasies, they don’t all revolve around struggle. Some are about submission, so those who read D/s would enjoy these scenes best. I liked that Jonah wasn’t easy to read, somewhat distant. It’s a more realistic portrayal of this type of arrangement. This leads me into the warning that Asking For It isn’t a full on romance. Don’t expect an HEA or you’ll be disappointed. That’s not to say that there isn’t any warm emotion to be had. It just so happens to be measured and dosed with care.
Overall, I loved Asking For It. The play scenes between these two made me seriously have to catch my breath. I want to know what the future holds in store for Jonah and Vivienne, if they could ever reconcile this type of kink with a loving relationship. It would be a shame to see such a perfect match go to waste. There’s one scene that’s interrupted that I long to see played out to its full extent. And I want to see a few characters get what’s due to them. I think this is brave subject matter to explore on a first release, but it only adds to the draw for me. I’ll be waiting impatiently for Begging For It, due later this year.
Quarter ’til ten.
Keiko’s pottery – put that away. Breakables have no place out in the open, not tonight. What about the lamp? If I move it to the center of the table, that’s probably okay.
I took a shower just after a light dinner of toast and eggs, plus the last of the peaches I bought a few days ago. The juice was still sticky on my chin and fingers as I stood under the hot spray of water, rubbing in something that promises to be “ultra-moisturizing.” My skin feels soft, anyway, and the faint lavender scent lingers.
I wonder if Jonah will even notice. Probably not. If tonight goes according to plan, his mind should be on other things.
“Unlock your door at ten p.m. No earlier. I don’t want you to do anything unsafe.”
Protecting me as he plans to terrorize me. This is the paradox of Jonah Marks.
Nearly everything that could break during a struggle has been put away. Now what? Lights on or off? He’ll want to see me – and I want to see him – but the dark would sharpen the edge of my fear. Finally I turn down one of the floor lamps in the far corner of my living room, so only a faint shadow of amber-tinted light falls across my bedroom floor.
“I should warn you,” I said. “When I said I’ll fight, I meant it.”
Jonah’s low voice made me shudder. “Struggle all you want. It won’t matter.”
My hair is down. Wearing makeup would be sort of ridiculous, but if I went to bed like it really was any other night, I might have acne cream on my chin. Let’s not. I settle for clean-scrubbed skin and cherry Chapstick. My shoes have all found their places in my closet, instead of their usual line near the side of my bed. This tank top is a soft shade of apricot – seemed like a good idea on the clearance rack, but it doesn’t really match anything else I own. It’s been sleepwear for a while now. My nipples are just visible through the thin ribbed cotton.
Simple cotton panties. If they get torn, so be it.
I should probably shop at the Salvation Army for more clothes I wouldn’t mind being destroyed.
“If I haven’t come in by 10:30, something’s held me up. Lock your door and wait for me to call.”
Five until ten. On the back of my bedroom door, I’ve hung a series of hooks, which gives me a handy place to keep belts, scarves, accessories like that. I run my hands through the scarves, feeling the various fabrics against my skin – then close my fingers around pale pink cotton. This scarf is sturdy enough to stand up to some abuse. Yet thin enough to serve as a makeshift rope – if that’s something Jonah wants.
I’m about to find out.
“You remember the rules I gave you, back when we began? About what I didn’t want the first time?” I put my hand to my chest, as if my touch could slow my fluttering heart. “You can consider those suspended.”
Jonah growled, “Good.”
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