Everyone knows Ricki Hamilton as the icy heiress living in a billion-dollar mansion, high up in the Hollywood Hills. But few realize that behind the gilded gates, Ricki is the mistress of LA's most exclusive private club. A place where no fantasy is forbidden and no one goes unsatisfied-except for Ricki. If she had her way, she'd leave the business behind . . . until she meets the one man with the power to change her mind.
The hottest rock star in the world, Axel Hawke, has the requisite sexy look and bad-boy reputation. Yet even his biggest fans have no clue just how decadently dangerous he can be. From the moment he meets Ricki, he knows there is no other woman who will satisfy him. He can feel the heat hiding beneath her cool demeanor and he's determined to stoke her flame.
Together Ricki and Axel indulge their every desire. The deeper they go, the more she craves. Submitting to Axel opens her eyes, and for the first time Ricki knows exactly what she wants. All she has to do is take it . . .
Cecilia Tan is an author that has popped up on my various news feeds for a while and I’ve always told myself that I’d pick up one of her books when I had the time, but as is typical when it comes to my TBR list that had not happened. So when the opportunity to not only read something by her, but that it was also a first in a new series about an heiress who is in charge of a secret BDSM club but doesn’t want to and a rock star with Dom inclinations who has decided that he’s found his perfect woman I had to bite. And while I found it to be pretty damn smexy and enjoyable, I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would and that, unfortunately has to do with one of the main characters.
It’s always a bummer when one of the MC’s just doesn’t do it for you and in the case of Taking the Lead that fell entirely on the shoulders of Ricki Hamilton. I honestly couldn’t warm up to her. Her constant need to maintain her ice queen image got on my last nerve. It wasn’t that I didn’t understand, nor disagree with her reasons why it was necessary, it was her reactions to the mere suggestion that her reputation may be tarnished that had me wanting to reach out and smack her. Then there is the issue she has with BDSM and the “club”. Again, I could see how she felt the way that she did, BUT, and this is really the kicker for me. She never once tried to truly understand the lifestyle for the majority of the book, she just disregarded it and that bothered me more than anything else. Her best friend is a Domme and even when Sakura tries to explain things to her she just cuts her off.
Axel, I actually liked him though I will say he is a very different rocker than what I’ve experienced, not that it’s a bad thing, just different. Though he draws you in, it’s not because he is all intense and broody, it’s more that he actually is a normal guy with vulnerabilities like your average job, it’s just that he’s a rock star, but then he goes into Dom mode. Axel as a Dom is pretty damn hot and that’s when his intense and dominant nature comes out.
To say that I’m tepid about their relationship and HEA is to be expected with how I feel about Ricki. I give Axel a lot of credit for his determination at getting the girl, because I don’t know if I could’ve done it. Ricki’s constant freakouts and assumptions grated my last nerve, but I will say that when she did submit to Axel it was pretty damn hot.
There is a lot going on in this book and the majority of it revolves around Ricki. Her career. Her issues with the club. Her issues with her family. I honestly could have done without some of it, but I can say that we do get a lot of insight into Ricki’s life. We do get Axel’s story, but his ends up being quite normal in comparison, and there is a part of me that wishes we had more from him other than him working to get Ricki to admit that she has feelings for him. What, or I should say who, saved this book for me were the supporting cast of characters. Gwen, Ricki’s baby sister, Sakura, Ricki’s best friend as well as friend to Axel, and Mal, Axel’s bandmate and friend, were all really well written. They were all so much more likeable and centered that I looked forward to when they made an appearance.
The Bottom Line: Though I didn’t care for the female lead this was still a decent read and with the tease of the next book that came at the end, which was about two of my favorite supporting characters from this one, I’ll more than likely check it out.
~ ARC provided by Rock Star PR LC via the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ~
Cecilia Tan writes about her many passions, from erotic fantasy to baseball, from her home in the Boston area. She is the author of many books, including the award-winning books Slow Surrender, Daron’s Guitar Chronicles, and The Prince’s Boy. She has edited over 50 anthologies of erotica for Red Silk Editions, Thunder’s Mouth Press, Blue Moon Books, Masquerade Books, Ravenous Romance, and for the publishing house she founded, Circlet Press. Her short fiction has appeared in Ms. Magazine, Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine, Best American Erotica, and many other places. She has served as publications director for SABR (Society for American Baseball Research) since 2011.