The Greatest Risk by Kristen Ashley
Published by St. Martin's on May 1, 2018
Genres: Adult Fiction, BDSM, Erotica, Romance
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A woman unable to connect, struggling to hide another part of her. A man burning to learn her truth, and make her whole. Through explosive passion and deep exploration, they are about to take the greatest risk of all. But will they be able to take that leap, and come out on the other side together? In this next passionate novel in the Honey series, New York Times bestselling author Kristen Ashley delivers a stunningly romantic and intensely sexy novel that will stay with you long after you turn the final page.
I have been enamoured with Kristen Ashley’s writing since I first discovered her in 2013. Since then I’ve read over 30 of her books. I am a fan for life. Her writing style is unique, her heroines strong, her men alpha, and it’s always delicious. The Greatest Risk was a little different for me. I didn’t immediately connect this time and I’ve struggled with why.
In the Honey series, KA takes us deep into the belly of the BDSM scene, centered around the club Honey and it’s members. The Greatest Risk centers around the story of Stellen Lange and Simone “Sixx” Marchesa both heavily in the lifestyle of bdsm, both Doms, both very strong personalities, both protective of their privacy. The dynamic between the two was intriguing but not as engaging. It took me a while to warm up to the idea of them as a couple. In fact I often felt “meh” about the relationship wondering why Stellan was so invested. It just didn’t make sense. Let me try to explain.
The beginning of the story, Stellan convinces Sixx to give them a month together, where he will prove why she should be in a relationship with him. Sounds good on the surface, however, this month includes living with him full time. Not so strange coming from an “alpha” character of KA’s. However Sixx is an “alpha” herself. The idea of forcing her into anything is like trying to fit a square in a circle. KA does a fantastic job of letting us see inside Sixx’s head. She is badass. She is damaged. She is in charge. Her life has taken her into some dark, twisted, scary places and she’s survived beautifully. Her edges are hard on purpose. And I guess, for me, I just didn’t see someone like Stellan falling for someone like her.
Stellan has it all, he’s uber rich, handsome as hell, A type personality, doesn’t take no for an answer. All the things we love in a KA hero. He’s also a bit damaged. His personality is a bit softer around the edges, not as controlling per se as Sixx, but definitely like his structure. He wants what he wants and he gets it. He also has family issues but they don’t necessarily define who he is necessarily and he hasn’t had to fight society to live.
Together, in my opinion, they didn’t really fit. Not until about three quarters of way in. Not until breakthroughs started happening. Not until Sixx “allowed” herself to reconnect with her old ways. Not until major drama ensued. Only then was I able to see this couple differently. Only then was rooting for their happiness, and understanding why the needed each other.
Now I’ve always been intrigued by the bdsm lifestyle, I don’t always read erotica or books that include bdsm. KA’s imagination knows no bounds. Holy smokes there were some hot scenes in this story and the visuals….whew I needed a fan and cold drink. Did they lend to the story? I’m not sure when the answer is yes vs. when it’s overkill. Yes the book is about the Club Honey and yes this is a bdsm club. There HAS to be sex in the book. Lots of sex isn’t a bad thing, but it also doesn’t “make” a relationship. Maybe that’s why it took me so long to recognize that Sixx and Stellan actually belonged together. I needed more substance and not as much fluff.
All in, I really really enjoyed The Greatest Risk, despite my confusing ramblings. It is a good story. KA stays true what I consider her book style. I loved seeing old favorites crossover from other series and make appearances. It’s like coming home when I read her books. Nothing beats that warm, fuzzy feeling of snuggling up with a Kristen Ashley book.
* I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader’s Copy of this book *