This is one of those books that I find is a 50/50 split between how much I liked it and how much it was like nails on a chalkboard, the old school green one to be exact, for me and therefore has caused me a bit of consternation when it comes to ordering my thoughts. So, this review may have a few contradictory statements and be more verbal vomit-like when all is said and done but here we go…
We’ll start with simple: That blurb
My interest was definitely peaked by it with the words “sex club” “dominant” “dark secrets” and my mind instantly went ooohhhh as it jumped to “BDSM” well...This one is more BDSM-lite and the club is more like background noise than anything else. There is a bit of BDSM and it is quite smexy, but if you are looking for a book filled with it, this isn’t the one for you. If I’ve gone too far into the spoilerish realm with this, I do apologize, but I look at it more as giving one a solid heads up so they are aware of what they are jumping into.
Now for the more convoluted aspects: Micah and Allie.
Here’s the thing with these two. They are both really good people. They have good hearts and care about people in their own ways, but their issues drove me batshit crazy, even if they were somewhat understandable.
Micah is a dominant alpha male. When he decides he wants something he goes after it with singular focus. He’s not cruel in anyway and there is a soul deep kindness to him that comes out to play in small unexpected way ways ie Harry Potter, Holt’s Day. But the chains his “dark secret” has wrapped around him and how he uses it as a shield had me wanting to reach out and smack him and tell him to man the f*ck up. It’s not that I didn’t feel for him, and I understood why he felt it was such a stain on his soul, but it took so long to get to the reveal and it was mentioned so many times that it was just tiresome in the end.
Allie is all about making her own way. She doesn’t want to be given anything she hasn’t earned and wants people to see the woman she is. She’s passionate about her job and is protective of those she considers hers. She may not always agree with their paths they choose, but she doesn’t forcefully exert her will over them. She lets them know her opinion and then gives them her full support no matter what. But as much as she is a loving and caring person, she has one blind spot: Billionaire’s. Again, she has her reasons which I can respect considering what she has seen and been told for most of her life, but her quickness to judge everyone with that label made her look like a hypocrite. She wants people to see HER, see all the hard work she’s put into her life and not judge her, but she won’t extend that courtesy. She only sees the outside packaging and won’t look deeper unless it’s shoved in her face. After a while her constant “He’s a billionaire, so he…” got old.
Their relationship starts off as straight up no holds barred insta-lust, but it’s saving grace was that they do end up getting to know each other at a somewhat deeper level before the I love you’s start. It’s also a major angsty roller coaster of a ride. There is a lot of push and pull, a lot of having conversations in one’s head aka lack of true communication, and a lot of knee jerk reactions going on. So, if you love your angst, you’ll love this one. For me, it honestly was a bit much on the angsty-drama side of things, BUT what saved it for me was that there were some really sweet, fun and sexy moments between Allie and Micah that showed that they were a perfect fit.
The writing was engaging and the dual 1st person POV was done well, though the pacing felt erratic. There were spots that felt rushed then others that dragged. As this is the first book I’ve read by Ms. Kennedy I can’t say if it’s the norm or just this one. It was obviously noticeable, but it didn’t lessen my experience. And though I did have my issues with the main characters, I enjoyed their interactions with the secondary ones. Ms. Kennedy has done a great job at setting up future books with the rest of the members of the Dominants Council and after that epilogue I’m definitely interested in seeing where she intends to take them all.
~ ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ~
Real estate mogul Micah Holt exerts absolute control over all aspects of his life. As a founding member of the Dominants Council that oversees San Francisco's sex club scene, he keeps his dark side hidden away from the press, who will chase down any hint of scandal. He's always in command of his world, careful to expose his closely guarded secrets only to those he knows he can trust. Then Allie Bennett shakes his legendary discipline. She's beautiful, pure, untainted. But is Micah willing to sacrifice her innocence for his own selfish obsessions?
When that sexy smile makes her body burn, Allie tries with all her might to ignore it. For one thing, Micah's her new boss. For another, he's as complicated as he is devastatingly handsome. Still, Allie can only fight so much before she gives in to his dangerous games. She knows he's got dark secrets. But when she discovers the true depth of his pain, Allie must decide how far she's willing to go to light the way for love.
Stacey Kennedy is the USA Today bestselling author of the Club Sin series. She writes deeply emotional romances about powerful men and the wild women who tame them. When she’s not plugging away at a new story, she’s either hiking, canoeing, relaxing around a campfire, or obsessing over Suits, The Walking Dead, and Game of Thrones. Stacey lives in southwestern Ontario with her husband (who puts any of the heroes in her books to shame), their two young children, and her other babies: a mini labradoodle named Jax and a chocolate labrador named Murphy.