Asking For It Published by Berkley Trade on June 2, 2015
Genres: Abuse, Adult Fiction, BDSM, Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Dark, Dark Romance, Erotica, New Adult, Romance, Sociology
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“This is who I am. This is what I want. Now I need a man dangerous enough to give it to me.”
Graduate student Vivienne Charles is afraid of her own desires—ashamed to admit that she fantasizes about being taken by force, by a man who will claim her completely and without mercy. When the magnetic, mysterious Jonah Marks learns her secret, he makes an offer that stuns her: they will remain near-strangers to each other, and meet in secret so that he can fulfill her fantasy.
Their arrangement is twisted. The sex is incredible. And—despite their attempts to stay apart—soon their emotions are bound together as tightly as the rope around Vivienne’s wrists. But the secrets in their pasts threaten to turn their affair even darker...
Reader Advisory: Asking for It deals explicitly with fantasies of non-consensual sex. Readers sensitive to portrayals of non-consensual sex should be advised.
Well that was…unexpected.
So let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way. This story is about the fantasy of non-consensual sex. I remember reading the synopsis and immediately knowing that I would read this book. Call it intrigue, curiosity, morbid fascination, call it whatever you want, I just knew I would read it. It took me a while to warm up to the plot. Asking For It takes role playing/fantasy to a whole other level. It took a long time for me to feel invested in the story. Honestly it wasn’t until about three quarters of the way in before I totally immersed, I guess you could even say I was more understanding of the subject matter.
Vivienne wants to be taken. Luckily for her Jonah wants to take without permission. Together they’re a balm to old wounds. Apart they’re really just running from their pasts. It took me a while to warm up to that. I didn’t really understand at first that they were helping each other by playing out these fantasies. For me it was the scenes apart that showed me just how messed up they both really are. This isn’t a romance. Well kind of, but not really. Not typical anyway. Like most stories the demons come to play eventually and when it does, neither of them are prepared. They have secrets that if just one of them had would be hard to swallow. Both of them have major demons though. This leads to a pretty big undertaking for the author to reconcile. Even if Jonahs was okay with Vivienne’s past it would have to take a pretty strong person to be able to continue. This really goes both ways, as Jonahs has some pretty major obstacles in his own past.
I did have some issues with one particular scene that happens after the Halloween party. They decide to “play” however Jonahs is angry and his only way to handle his anger is to play out a scene with Vivienne. I didn’t like that at all. I’m actually surprised that the author didn’t come back to it and address it. Regardless of Vivienne’s consent that entire scene came from a different place. It wasn’t about romance, or sex, or fulfilling a desire. Jonah’s was angry plain and simple.
There are two things that really saved me in this story. Vivienne’s therapist and Jonahs, both of which were in my mind, the voice of reason, the clarity, the maturity. I’m not in anyway saying I didn’t like Vivienne. It’s just really hard to get in her head and understand why she needs this and why she refuses to accept her demons. She’s a bit self destructive. Her therapist voices everything that you as a reader will probably be saying to yourself. It does help sort out some of what the character is thinking as well as some of your own misconceptions about the subject matter.
I’ve never read anything quite like this before. Lilah Pace tackles a very difficult subject with humility and grace. Once the shock factor wears off you’re left with an intriguing story about two broken people who’ve come together under very unique circumstances.
I know their story will continue in Begging For It, however, it could actually end here if the author wanted. I’m glad it doesn’t, I can’t wait to see how this all plays out for Viv and Jonahs.
*A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*