Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 978-1-61922-542-8
Contemporary Romance, 2015
Jon McNeill, our Dom hero, is so bored during a meeting one day, so he decides to check out the app which helps him hook up with fellow “kinky singles” in the neighborhood. In this case, “kinky” means BDSM, as this is the kind of kink that sells the most fabulously. I do wonder whether we’d ever get a romance story featuring people who want to do it in animal costumes, or whose favorite idea of hot foreplay is to roll around on cupcakes and slathering their bare skin with cream. Uh, oh yes, this story.
So Jon does his thing, and the app then pings him to the fact that there is one kinky dude just six feet away from him. Fortunately, it’s not the fat guy, or the ugly one, or the sloppy one. No, it’s Rick Pierce, the client. He’s a sub and, more importantly, a billionaire. Holy cow, I want that app too if it can lead me to loaded people who would pay me lots of money to beat their rear ends with a feather duster.
Okay, here is where I have better point out that, despite what the publicity material says, this one isn’t a hardcore BDSM story. It’s not even Fifty Shades – despite these two claiming to be Dom and sub respectively, there is no need for safe words, et cetera. Why? I don’t know, but it seems to me that ‘sub’ here seems suspiciously to be just another way of saying ‘bottom’. There is some rough play here, but it lacks the authentic Dom-sub dynamics and portrayal of control typical of a BDSM story. Therefore, every time Jon calls himself a Dom, I find myself thinking, “What makes you think you are a Dom, sweetie? You just like to play rough.”
If you can overlook the faux-“BDSM” in this story, you may end up like me: being somewhat in awe of LA Witt for managing to make such a long story of sex and office politics a pretty riveting can’t-put-down read. Okay, good sex is always interesting, but the office politics part is a revelation, especially since it involves architects, which rank up there with accountants as things that would only be cool if there is an ice age around the place. I suspect that this is because Jon and Rick are both engaging characters – likable and lusty, how nice – without coming off as very obvious “bottom” or “top” stereotypes. As a result, their story reels me in and gives me a good time.
I’m tempted to give Not Safe for Work four oogies, but I suspect I’d get some annoyed feedback from readers who may be led to expect some more authentic BDSM stories. So I’d just play it safe a bit and call this one a strong three-oogie read.