AUTHOR: EVE BERLIN
Details: no. 2 The Edge Trilogy
Received from Black Lace / Ebury Publishing
Kara Crawford has lots of experience when it comes to not being good enough. She could never be exactly what her parents expected her to be, although she gave up her dream of being an artist for them. And her last boyfriend left her as soon as she shared her kinky fantasies with him. By this stage in her life she has accepted that she will never live up to whatever expectations others may have of her. And if that means giving up on the dream of love and security, so be it. Not chancing her heart has to be better than having it broken. So when she meets Dante De Matteo, years after she last saw him in high school, she is happy to admit to the heat between them, delighted to give into the pull of that attraction and ecstatic when it turns out that his sexual desires mirror hers exactly. With him she can live out her dark fantasies without risking her heart. Or so she tells herself.
Dante De Matteo has his own reasons for never allowing his heart into the relationships he has. He needs to be in total control of everything and everybody in his life. This makes him the perfect Dom when it comes to casual relationships and playing out scenes with willing subs in his local BDSM club, The Pleasure Dome. But he doesn’t do love, doesn’t believe in commitment and all the risks that carries with it. And casual pleasure is enough; he doesn’t need anything more. Or so he tells himself.
When Kara and Dante meet by coincidence during a housewarming party it doesn’t take long for the heat between them to ignite. Neither does it take them long to discover that they are erotically made for each other. Dante loves to give what Kara aches to receive. As soon as Kara admits to Dante that she dreams of being spanked, fireworks erupt to the delight of both of them. And so they find themselves drawn to each other; incapable of denying the pleasures they bring each other, even if it does mean conducting a more or less secret affair.
But while their bodies and their heads are more than willing, their hearts are unable to play ball. While neither of them is looking for love and both of them are convinced that they are unable of truly committing to another, neither of them can stop their feelings from growing stronger. These feelings however could tear them apart just as easily as they might bring them together. What happens when the fear of love and commitment is as strong as the need to be together?
This was a charming and very erotic romance. Kara and Dante are interesting and strong characters. Both of them have plausible reasons for being afraid of love and commitment, and for the most part the way their relationship develops - or fails to develop depending on how you want to look at it - makes perfect sense. I liked the fact that for most of the story these two characters managed to find a way to communicate with each other, despite their fears. Maybe they weren’t completely honest with themselves or each other but that fitted perfectly into the story and didn’t upset me.
“Don’t think about it. Just enjoy it. Enjoy him.”
A very large part of the story in this book is told through the sexual encounters between Kara and Dante. Their relationship builds through their kinky encounters, their characters develop as a result of the discoveries they make while they’re engaged in steamy scenes and the story is pushed forward by Kara’s introduction into the world of power-play and Dante’s discovery that maybe there is more to intimacy than just that. I’m in awe that Eve Berlin managed to write a predominantly sex-based story that delivered so much more than just tantalising scenes. Because it’s not always about the sexy descriptions; sometimes the beauty of a story is in simple sentences like:
“He was so comfortable with her.”
However, this book does take the reader from one steamy scene to the next. The scenes not involving any erotic behaviour are little more than a lead-up to the next heated encounter. That doesn't make this book feel pornographic though. All the intimate scenes are written in a beautiful and heartwarming way. They never feel over the top or gratuitous though. In fact every single encounter between Dante and Kara was enchanting and very enticing. And there was nothing shocking or disturbing about the sexual journey these two characters undertake together. Yes, there was a lot of spanking, but it is Kara's desire to be spanked and Dante's joy to administer. But even during the spanking scenes it is clear that everything centres around bringing pleasure; nothing more and nothing less. And the story shows us more than just the power-play between these two characters; as they get closer to each other they find themselves indulging in tender intimacy as much as kinky adventures. And the shower scenes... I'll just say that if I ever renovate my house I want Dante's bathroom. And with that in mind I have to say that this older cover I found probably describes this story better than the newer one.
It was the small things I loved; the way Dante, in all his Dominance, just wants to please Kara, make her experience all the sensations she had only been dreaming about until then. I adored the way they both opened up to each other almost despite their better judgements. Neither of them thinks they are ready for or want a relationship beyond wonderful sex. Both of them think they have perfect reasons for avoiding a relationship. And yet, they find themselves establishing one without acknowledging it, to each other or to themselves.
“And he was so full of shit. Because for the first time in his life, something was happening that he didn’t entirely have control over. And that something was Kara Crawford.”
Because this story is told from both Kara’s and Dante’s perspective the reader has a wonderful opportunity to see how both of them change and grow into the relationship neither of them thought they wanted. I find that when a story is told in this way it is easier to get caught up in the story, easier to connect with the characters in question and understand what is happening.
Overall I enjoyed this steamy and romantic book tremendously. My one, minor, objection to this book? There is one point in the development of the relationship that is just too similar to what happened in Pleasure’sEdge. It seemed to me that the reaction of both characters and the way they felt and behaved afterwards was almost a carbon copy of what I had read before. Mind you, this won’t stop me from reading the third book, Temptation’s Edge, in the very near future. I do hope though that I won’t come across that particular development again.