Contemporary Erotica, 2012
Everything from the title, cover art, and plot synopsis of Candace Blevins’s Safeword: Matte had be thinking that I would be getting something really raw and filthy here. Our heroine Sam likes to indulge in martial arts both in the ring and in the crowd around the ring. While the divorce attorney likes to hit like a train in the ring, she also likes to submit to a masterful fellow. In this story, she hooks up with Ethan Levi, a heavyweight fighter who is also a Dom.
Much is made about “matte” being a Japanese word used to stop a fight, so I half-expect an aggressive, love-hate thing, but what I get here instead is a very talk-heavy story. These people talk, talk, talk. Sam likes to narrate things a lot. Even when she is having sex, these people still continue to talk throughout. While I do like to read some dirty talk during naughty scenes, this kind of dirty talk isn’t very sexy or even interesting.
“Come on my cock.”
Look, I read erotic stuff, and I can safely say coming on that is one of the most obvious, boring things to point out, so how about letting the description do the talking instead? Let these people do what they do, and let them say something only if it added to the raunch. I don’t know, maybe doing it on his ear or something? What I’m saying is, if the author wanted to use many inverted commas in her sexy scenes – maybe she’s paid by the number of these things, who knows – let them say something ooh-la-la. Anything else just ruins the mood.
Also, Ethan is a fighter. He is towering, bald, and has a penis so big that paragraphs of words wax poetry about its girth and length. Unfortunately, take away the mammoth dong and this guy is utterly flat. He’s so polite, so understanding, so cultured, so wealthy, so… so… ugh. You know, I’d love to come across more naughty guys that are rough around the edges in my romance stories, and I was initially hoping that I’d get such a fellow here, but no. Ethan is just another too-perfect hero who just happens to be the Dom with the Dong.
Of course, Sam is also the predictably cynical but sassy heroine who tries very hard to sound all feisty even when she’s waving and wiggling her rear end up in the air.
Ethan and Sam being such familiar and flat characters only deepen my disappointment with Safeword: Matte. I know, I know, it’s probably just me, but I feel like I’m reading yet another formulaic BDSM tale in autopilot mode.
Oh, and in the end, he proposes.
“I know you inside and out, Samantha, and I think you know me inside and out, too. I’ve never opened up to anyone else the way I’ve opened up to you. I trust you, and I know you trust me. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. The rest of our lives together. Please, Sam, marry me.”
Yes, I know he opened her inside out with that big thing, because I can read, but surely there has to be more than that to justify a rushed marriage by the end of this not-so-long story?
Oh, right. This one is just the start of a series. Yes, a series within a series! No doubt there will be estrangement, argument, angst, wangst, mommy issues, whatever over the next few episodes, with these “plot elements” punctuated by sex scenes, before we finally get the final happy ending in who knows, maybe four or five titles down the road. Am I right? At any rate, Safeword: Matte feels more and more like Bandwagon: Sylvia Day as I turn the pages. Good for the author if this move brought in the dough, but me, I’ll just go look for something else to read.