If you have ever read a novel by Joey W. Hill—whether you’re a seasoned reader of BDSM romances, or a more sporadic, ‘vanilla’ one like me—you’ll agree with me that there is something utterly spellbinding and truly unforgettable about every single one of her incredible stories. With flawless character development and intriguing, robust plotlines, her stories never fail to touch me deeply, move me in ways I never thought possible, and I always walk away feeling my soul is enriched in some small way. The story of two people who never believed true love would ever find them, but who recognize in one another all they’ve always secretly wished for, this book is a true gem in a series that I keep loving more and more, and I cannot recommend it highly enough to anyone seeking an exquisitely written, emotional love story…with a delicious dose of kink.
I don’t want the once in a lifetime trip. I want the whole lifetime.
On the cusp of her fortieth birthday, Julie Ramirez is ready for a change in her life. Having never found the kind of everlasting connection she has always longed for—a passionate love that would not quickly flare up and die, but burn steadily for a lifetime—and no longer trusting herself to choose the right type of man for herself, she leaves her home and job as theatre manager in New York City to manage a small erotic performance theatre in North Carolina, hoping a change in scenery would offer a fresh perspective on her life.
She had to do something different, or nothing would change. Somehow, something had to change. She was going to explode out of her skin otherwise.
A new city, a new circle of friends, a new professional challenge might all be part of the perfect recipe for a new life too, but her greatest catalyst for change comes in the form of a grungy handyman whose every word, every touch, every look aimed her way awakens an unfulfilled part of herself she’s ignored for too long. Julie has always secretly entertained the idea of exploring her submissive side, but with a fragile heart so eager to love and be loved, she has never felt ready or safe enough with a man to dip her toes into the experience. One long moment with the charismatic Dom, however, is all it takes for her to feel she could finally take that step.
She craved surrender. She craved the trust that went with it, this feeling of safety and flying. The feel of being in the arms of a man who knew how to command her heart and soul while cherishing both.
Desmond “Des” Hayes’ unassuming general appearance might not stop people’s hearts at first glance, but once he locks eyes with a woman, they remain under his hold by the sheer power of his natural charisma and self-confidence. A roofer by day, Des is also a well respected rigger in the BDSM community, his innate talent in the art of rope bondage having earned him the admiration of not only his peers, but also of every submissive who has ever found herself under his skillful hands.
“I’d love to see you in my rope and nothing else.”
From the moment they meet, Julie knows for certain that Des is the kind of guy who could crush her heart easily and irreparably this time around, but the more time they spend in each other’s company, the harder it becomes to keep suppressing the very part of her his every touch awakens. As they start exploring a sexual relationship between them, one that fulfills them in new and unexpected ways, it soon becomes clear to them both that they might have found something far more precious in each other than a short-lived fling, something they never thought they would find. But they might not be both ready to believe they could keep it.
“You’re too much, too amazing, too…beyond anything I ever expected to be able to call mine, so I know it can’t be right or real…”
With astonishing insight into human nature and the very unique chemistry that binds us to one another, Ms Hill takes us on a captivating exploration of erotic intimacy, love, friendship, hope, as she redefines the very meaning of family and selfless love. In Julie, we find a woman whose heart has always been her greatest weakness, but its capacity to love unconditionally also happens to be her greatest strength. Her struggle to trust that heart, however, even when she knows that she has found everything she has always dreamed of, stands in stark contrast to Des’ unwillingness to ever let himself love a woman to the point of wanting to keep her in his life. The author uses the D/s dynamic between the characters to delicately accentuate that inner battle in them both, as those intense moments of intimacy provide them with an outlet to strip themselves from all emotional restraints. From beginning to end, we feel privy to every single hidden facet of these characters’ fascinating personalities, and, for me, it is that very understanding that made this story so compelling and easy to relate to.
“I’ve never let myself fall in love. Never thought I could afford it. Turns out, we’re not given much choice about that, are we?”
I found myself enthralled by this story, these characters, the level of genuine emotion present in each and every scene, and in utter awe of this author’s brand of storytelling. I fell in love with too many characters to count, intrigued with a world that could not be any more dissimilar to my own, yet felt compelling and familiar until the very last page. And I walked away smiling, once again besotted with the beauty to be found in a Joey W. Hill novel.
[I strongly advise reading the story of Thomas and Marcus, the heroine’s two best friends, before delving into this book, as I believe the knowledge of their history would greatly enrich the enjoyment of this story.]
“Master. I want to keep you too.”