Type: Erotic Romance
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
My Copy: Sent
After a painful past, Brian Donovan can’t afford to get close to anyone, especially a submissive. His growing lust for a certain mouthy bartender has been easy to keep under wraps, at least until he catches her snooping through his files. Spanking her senseless was not one of his better ideas. Even worse, he entices her into a relationship based on power exchange—no sappy sentiments, no messy emotional entanglements, strictly dominance and submission. He doesn’t count on Genevieve being the one submissive who makes him want to feel again.
Gen Hawthorn’s life is a mess. She’s always late for work, can’t keep a boyfriend and has a closetful of family secrets. When her gorgeous boss offers her a kinky no-strings arrangement, she can’t say no. Being dominated by the star of all her dirty fantasies sounds like what she needs. She just has to remember his most important rule—don’t fall in love.
As their affair heats up, lines are crossed, tears are spilled and they discover just how difficult sticking to the rules can be.
I am not a fan of hard core BDSM. With that being said, this book was totally engrossing from beginning to end. That says a lot about Fallon Blake’s writing. She takes a book with two characters I didn’t want to like, places them in a story full of D/s and S/M which are not my cup of tea, and had me reading until the end. Thinking of Genevieve and Brian falling in love was like a train wreck waiting to happen.
Genevieve is a smartass, sarcastic, edgy bartender who works at Brian’s bar. Ever since her father died and her mother turned to bottles and pills, Donovans has become her home away from home and the people there her family. She is twenty-five years old with nothing to show for her life except a ratty apartment, a needy mother and a crush on her jerk of a boss. She needs more, and the trips to sex clubs with friends where things are kept light and playful just aren’t fulfilling her needs.
Brian was a hard man to like. I wouldn’t even put him in the “hero” category. He was too arrogant, too cold, too much of a jerk even at the best of times. He was incredibly dominant and I could see why that attracted Genevieve. Brian has strong feelings about not getting involved with women. Ever since his first sub died, he has kept his “relationships” light and impersonal – dominating subs who mean nothing to him. All of that changes when he proposes a D/s relationship with Gen. Unable to fight his attraction to her, he quickly initiates her into what being his sub would mean.
There is no “play” in their relationship – it is a straight-forward D/s agreement. Brian states outright that he wants no strings, no feelings, just control over her sexually. Gen can’t resist the heat behind Brian’s icy façade and she agrees to his conditions. Unfortunately for her, Genevieve can’t keep her heart out of their relationship and it becomes clear early on that she’s fighting a losing battle. Brian keeps his feelings locked up tight and refuses to give Gen what she needs outside of the bedroom.
This book was very complicated and erotic. It had full-on D/s scenes and plenty of S/M, which is what I had a hard time with. Someone getting off on pain is hard for me to relate to. There was even a chapter with sexual slavery, and I just don’t see the appeal of sitting naked at the feet of a man while he feeds me from his plate. Ick. Having said that, Fallon Blake is a master at writing BDSM and fans of that genre will have a field day with this book.
I give A Firm Hand by Fallon Blake 3.5 stars!