The Breathless Trilogy - Book 1
Here we have another young woman meets successful billionaire - BDSM ensues - emotions enter the picture - misunderstandings take place - BDSM goes wrong - confessions of love - everyone's happy and OH LOOK... sequel fodder!
What bugged me about the book? Well, first off, the first third seemed to be a total rip-off of that other book, you know, the one that started this bullcrap. Did Ms. Banks write this in response to the success of that book? Was this supposed to be tongue in cheek? I have no idea, it was never hinted at, so, for me? Rip-off of the same material, but thank God, the writing is better.
Also... is there a rule book somewhere that says that young, submissive female heroines in BDSM erotica books that are involved with older billionaires NEVER KNOW ENOUGH TO EAT PROPERLY! WTF is that?? You know, to make a hand-feeding scene sexy you don't have to have your sub be dining-challenged. As a matter of fact, it kinda works better if she/he loves food.
Another thing that bugged me throughout the whole books was the author's use of "cream". I'm guessing "cum" grossed her out? Fine and dandy, there are other words, but "cream" sounds like something out of a bad porno read to me. Which reminds me, there was a scene where the hero takes the heroine in his office. She orgasms all over the place until "cream" is dripping from her, then he fucks her and there's more "cream" and it reads like there's a flood of ejaculate everywhere and all I could wonder was who was going to clean up the puddle of cum on the floor. (Hint - nobody does.)
Gabe is the hero. God, he was unlikable. I don't care how many times we're told that he feels so guilty for not taking things slow with Mia (and what, is Mia the name for the early 2010s?), he never, EVER does... unless they're "making love" which means no real BDSM interaction. He's selfish, he's greedy, he's a navel-gazer, he's spoiled, he lacks empathy, in fact, the only thing going for him is really that he looks sexy and has lots of money. All he can think about is fucking Mia... fucking her all over the place. And while I like my heroes to be somewhat obsessed with my heroines, this ... it was too out of control for me to find enjoyable.
Which brings me to the big turning point in the story. There is a scene with three other men... now... Gabe is supposed to be Mr. Uber Dom? I don't care HOW fucked up he is over how he might be feeling about Mia, he is NOT going to put her through THAT. It was a totally distasteful scene and in my opinion, really had no place in an erotic BDSM romance. The other big scene, when Mia's brother, Jace, and the third man in the Friend Triumvirate (It's a trilogy, after all), Ash find out what has been transpiring between the sweet, little Mia and Uber Dom Gabe frankly had me laughing as if it was a slapstick comedy.
Seriously, what this book ended up saying, to me, was that, once again, true romance, true love, cannot be found within a BDSM relationship. And I KNOW that's not true. Maya Banks is a good writer, she writes good sex scenes (except for that cream shit), her characters are okay enough, she could make this work, but she falls back on the mainstream perception that BDSM is for the flawed, that it is flawed and no true love can be based on it. She doesn't come right out and say it, but it's implied by the path the narrative takes. It would have been so much hotter to see Mia bloom under Gabe's tutelage, to see them both come to embrace and enjoy the lifestyle side of their relationship in a healthy, fun and satisfying way. Kit Rocha does this with her "Beyond" series. Her characters are more full and rich and develop over the span of the book, unlike Gabe and Mia who, for me, stayed cardboard cutouts until the end.
I was disappointed and won't be spending my $ on the other two in the trilogy.