Title: Giving It Up
Author: Audra North
Series: Pushing the Boundaries
Genre: BDSM Romance
She dominates his body and his mind…but can he give up control without handing over his heart?
If Beatrice Lawrence didn’t know better, she’d swear the universe is out to make sure she is totally, completely screwed. It’s not enough her family’s restrictive rules drove her away from home at a young age. She had to go and fall for a guy whose mere presence heats her body like Death Valley.
Except he seems to harbor a special brand of dislike, just for her. He even seems intent on ruining one of her biggest wedding photography gigs by dodging every key shot to make a phone call.
It’s not that SWAT officer Warren Davis isn’t attracted to Beatrice. He is. God, he is. But between supporting his parents and helping raise his single-mom sister’s kid, there’s no time to build a relationship.
Besides, Beatrice is too innocent for some of his darker…appetites. Until she catches him on the phone with a professional Domme. He must be crazy to let her talk him into hiring her instead. Even crazier to risk letting their professional relationship get personal…
Warning: Contains an out-of-her-element, wannabe Domme who has no idea the power she wields, and a SWAT officer who can’t wait to show her just how deeply he needs her command. Buckle up and keep your safeword handy.
Source: ARC from Samhain Publishing via NetGalley
This was a surprise, a really good surprise. With a hero who has more responsibilities than he can handle and a heroine who has become a spectator in her own life, I wasn’t entirely sure how the D/s elements would work – but I shouldn’t have worried, because they work brilliantly. Mostly because for me this isn’t really a tale of dominance and submission, but rather one of a man’s willing surrender and a woman’s attempts to finally seize control.
I liked Beatrice a lot. She’s so much stronger than she thinks she is, and even though she’s severely lacking in confidence at times, I admired her curiosity and her will to succeed. There’s nothing particularly Domme about her, but she is definitely someone who could do with taking control of all aspects of her life. She’s also a caring kind of person, so I easily believed that this was the sort of thing she would want to do for Warren, and likewise would be good at. I loved how throughout the book her Domme role was completely about caring for Warren, while having the side effect of increasing her self-confidence.
There’s nothing submissive about Warren, certainly not in his daily life. He’s a SWAT office specialising in explosives, and although he still lives at home with his parents that’s because he owns the house and is essentially supporting his parents, his sister and her teenage son. He’s an all round good guy who takes responsibility for those he loves, but he works hard and doesn’t take much time for himself, and it’s making him a bit grumpy. His interest in D/s comes about because he doesn’t have time for a relationship, and letting someone else take charge for an hour or so a week sounds like a great way to rid himself of some tension.
The relationship between him and Beatrice is mired with confusion, thanks to how it begins. They’re both heavily attracted to each other, but Warren doesn’t have time for a girlfriend while Beatrice doesn’t think he’d ever be interested in her. They both have serious self-esteem issues, but setting things up for an hour a week and through the filter of the D/s scenes allows them both to have a little of what they want. And it works really well, mostly because they’re both completely new to the whole thing and slowly learning together. Warren doesn’t really know what he wants or what to expect, which gives Beatrice a lot of room to research and explore, while building her confidence.
The chemistry between the two of them is scorching hot, of course, but I also liked how there is more to their time together than sex and satisfaction. There was one scene that I didn’t feel fit in so well with the rest, because I wasn’t entirely sure what Beatrice was trying to achieve, especially when she pressed on after Warren seemed uncomfortable. However, for the most part their time together is sensual and experimental and sexy and oddly sweet at times as they grow closer and get to know each other better. The way Warren trusts Beatrice and relaxes into her control was wonderful to read, even if the way he tries to push her away was occasionally frustrating.
Both of them are complicated characters and we get plenty of glimpses into their lives to fully understand the people they are and the choices they make. I loved how Beatrice grew and developed throughout the book, and although it takes Warren a bit longer to make the necessary changes, he does get there in the end.
Overall this was great, sexy and sensual with unexpected sweetness, I found it an enthralling and really enjoyable read and I can’t wait to read the next one. In the meantime, settle in and surrender – it’s worth it.
Giving It Up is Out Now!
Visit Audra North for more details.