Jonah and Vivienne’s erotic bond—living out raw scenarios of captivity and force—began as no-strings sex between strangers who shared the same desires. Now the intimacy between them is turning into love, but it’s a love built on fantasies so extreme that exploring them makes guilt inescapable. But the risks they’re taking are far more dangerous than they’d imagined.
A stalker is terrorizing the city, and one of Jonah’s ex-lovers names him as a potential suspect to the police. Standing by a man under suspicion could cost Vivienne everything. But when Jonah’s stepfather takes advantage of the scandal to seize control of the Marks family fortune, Vivienne is drawn into her lover’s broken family and twisted past. Only then will she learn how dark the truth really is…
“We’ve dealt with the dark desires spun from our worst secrets and found ultimate pleasure in them, together.”
One of the most fascinating, well-written, carefully thought-out stories I have ever come across, the Asking For It duet is nothing short of electrifying, and it owned my breath cover to cover. While its key theme might deter some readers from tipping their toes into this story, I remain in awe of the author’s ability to handle a rather problematic topic in such meticulous detail, intelligently and responsibly, never glorifying any vile acts, but rather giving her characters a chance to express themselves in all their damaged glory, free from judgment and condemnation, and even find some self-acceptance in the end. If you’re not afraid of the taboo, if you are able to perceive some themes in fiction as just that, without giving them the unnecessary dimension of reality, if you enjoy exploring on occasion a darker but not any less titillating brand of erotic romance, I urge you with all my heart to give this crazy-wonderful story a chance. You might find yourself loving it just as much as I did!
“The hands that caress me hold me down; the moan of satisfaction I imagine turns into screams for help, screams no one hears. As the fantasy becomes more savage, more brutal, I glory in it more and more.”
Vivienne and Jonah’s relationship had reached an impasse at the end of their first book, leaving us with the lingering question whether the darkness that brought them together and forever tied to one another—the fantasy that they both hate but cannot seem to escape—would ultimately tear them apart too. As we remain in the heroine’s head, we continue witnessing the inner struggle that has been Vivienne’s constant companion in her adult life. Even though she has slowly come to terms with her body’s response to her sexual fetish, to the violent aspect of it, and its intoxicating effect on her mind, she continues berating herself for needing that fantasy every single time in order to achieve sexual gratification. She struggles to reconcile her sexual desires with the kind of independent, emancipated woman she is outside the bedroom, that dichotomy tearing at her self-esteem and leaving her powerless.
“Jonah understood what I needed and how to give it to me. He let me become a victim; I let him become a monster.”
We also get to finally peel off more and more layers of Jonah’s complex personality, even glimpsing his greatest demons first hand and the source of all the relentless anger and pain churning inside him, but once we discover what hides within his darkness, that knowledge only serves to leave us even more uncertain of the fate of their relationship.
“Jonah is like one of the dormant volcanoes he studies—solid as stone, proud as a mountain, seemingly implacable but with a fire deep within that could erupt at any time.”
With each step they take forward as a couple, letting one another deeper and deeper into each other’s secrets, and loving each other unabashedly, it becomes clear that their connection goes far beyond their mutual desires and the ability to please and understand one another’s needs as no one else could. But they also become increasingly aware that while their sexual attraction and compatibility could never be questioned, the fire blazing between them could end up swallowing them whole.
“We are bound together and yet parted. Two halves that can’t be glued into a whole. Maybe that’s how it is when you find someone whose wounds are the same as your own.”
This is an outstandingly conceived story of self-acceptance, of embracing our own wounds, scars, flaws, and finding comfort in the knowledge that being damaged does not make any of us ‘abnormal’ or unworthy of love. No matter how deep their wounds are and how permanent their effect is on their psychological make-up, characters like these show us that they can become more than just the sum of their weaknesses, that their love can transcend it all, empowering them to become functional individuals in every sense of the word, rather than crippling them and pushing them even deeper into their demons’ arms. A daring tale that was truly impossible to put down, showcasing not only Ms Pace’s impressive storytelling skills, but also her ability to frame a person’s most startling shortcomings as sources of strength and power—I am afraid I could never fully express how much this story has amazed me with its honesty, fearlessness and insight into a dark theme I never expected to quite enjoy so much. Stories like these give us hope that no matter how much harm is inflicted upon us, we are never truly broken. And only we can put the pieces back together. Bravo!
“My power over him comes from my powerlessness in his arms. The paradox intoxicates us both.”
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Series Reading Order and Purchase Links
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