Type: Erotic Romance
My Copy: NetGalley
“This is who I am. This is what I want. Now I need a man dangerous enough to give it to me.”
Graduate student Vivienne Charles is afraid of her own desires—ashamed to admit that she fantasizes about being taken by force, by a man who will claim her completely and without mercy. When the magnetic, mysterious Jonah Marks learns her secret, he makes an offer that stuns her: they will remain near-strangers to each other, and meet in secret so that he can fulfill her fantasy.
Their arrangement is twisted. The sex is incredible. And—despite their attempts to stay apart—soon their emotions are bound together as tightly as the rope around Vivienne’s wrists. But the secrets in their pasts threaten to turn their affair even darker…
*****Reader Advisory: Asking for It deals explicitly with fantasies of non-consensual sex. Readers sensitive to portrayals of non-consensual sex should be advised.*****
This is a hard to review book because of the extremely volatile triggers that I’m sure some readers will find too much to handle. I should start out by saying I have no triggers and even I hard a hard time reading at points. It is a hard to read book, but well done and I found the subject matter was handled with enough care that readers with no triggers should really enjoy it.
Vivienne finds herself to be a very flawed individual. She knows she has problems but she’s unable to face the true reasons behind them. Her past is filled with violence that has led her to need a man to pretend to rape her in order to fulfill her sexual needs. Most men find that too difficult to process and so she generally leads a fake life with only her fantasies and her own hand to help herself. Until a chance meeting with a roadside savior leads to some very real fantasies come to life.
Jonah has some fantasies of his own that most women find hard to swallow. His need to dominate in a very aggressive nature is nothing Vivienne can’t handle and so the two of them embark on a surface relationship built on consensual violent sex with no emotional attachment. They both get what they crave without all the messy feelings.
Except things never work the way they envision them and soon budding feelings start to cloud the already muddy waters they two are treading in. Jealousy, sorrow and secrets start to take over and when Jonah finds out the true reason Vivienne is who she is, he starts to wonder if he can truly be who she needs him to be when emotions start to become paramount.
Due to the graphic nature of this book I was conflicted with my own emotions while reading it. Pace has created something that is both very hot and very disturbing at the same time. It’s obvious from the beginning that Vivienne has some deeply rooted issues and I’m glad Pace had her seeing a therapist regularly. While her rape fantasies I could deal with (and like), the reasoning behind them broke my heart. So I think while reading I felt guilty for loving the fantasies because of why she had them. If that makes any sense.
Jonah had his own psychosis and though he wasn’t seeking professional help I found him to be better rounded emotionally than Vivienne anyway. Until, that is, his story became more clear…and then my broken heart shattered even more. The horror he has lived through, I can’t even describe. I found myself wanting to skip through some of the more difficult reading but forcing myself to continue.
Asking For It is a dark, intense and violent read from debut author Lilah Pace. The sex is insanely hot but the underlying story of these two flawed individuals is what makes this a book you need to read. Asking For It denies the readers with their HEA but no fear, these two will be back for book two later this year.
I give Asking For It by Lilah Pace 4.75 stars!
Three days later, just after sundown, I’m back in the same wine bar where Jonah and I first met for “negotiations.” I guess this is round two.
Tonight, however, the bar is less sultry, more rowdy. This is a home-game weekend, which means Longhorns football fans and UT alumni are already swarming into town. I didn’t put on anything special this time – I’m wearing the same fawn-colored cotton dress I put on this morning. Yet I feel overdressed anyway, because I’m surrounded by a sea of orange T-shirts and football jerseys. It’s like being trapped in a can of Fanta.
Somehow I know the moment Jonah walks in. I turn my head toward him even before he’s fully through the door. His shirt and jeans are black, his gaze sharp as he instantly focuses on me. He doesn’t smile as he comes closer, cutting through this raucous crowd like a knife.
“We can’t talk like this,” he says as he reaches me.
“Hello to you too.”
But Jonah’s right. Having an intimate conversation here is impossible. We’d have to shout to hear each other. Bad idea. “I think this place has a patio in back.”
It does. Of course, the patio is crowded too – but it’s not as awful, and at least here the talking and laughter around us isn’t deafening. I can even hear soft Spanish guitar music playing.
The heat that lingers even after nightfall curls around me; my skin is already moist, and strands of hair that have escaped my ponytail stick to the nape of my neck.
Jonah reaches toward me, like he’s going to take me by the arm, but I don’t let him lead me. It’s not like I don’t see where we’re headed – the one empty corner. Strings of multicolored lights overhead sway as the breeze as we walk there together, to a small dark passage near the back door that leads into the alley. When I stop, Jonah does too, still a few steps between us.
“Let me repeat my question,” he says. “What changed?”
“You took off without a word! That’s what changed. How is that not obvious?”
I can see the muscles tense in his shoulders, his jaw. He’s so built, so aggressively masculine, that I first think he’s barely holding himself back from biting my head off. Yet his voice is steady, not angry. “I wasn’t aware we had to check in with each other about our daily schedule.”
“I didn’t ask for hourly reports. You left for weeks, and you never even told me you were going anywhere.”
“The point was to remain strangers. Wasn’t it? To keep it … raw.”
Something about the way he says that – raw – makes my breath catch in my chest. As angry as I am with Jonah, I can’t forget the way his touch makes me feel.
I can’t stop wanting him.
Jonah must sense my weakness. A slow smile begins to dawn on his face. Almost a smirk. “You can have neat, tidy and safe. You can have tame. Or you can have what you really want. But you can’t have both, Vivienne. And I think we both know which one you’re going to choose.”