Monday, October 14, 2013


Pages: 157
Date: 14/10/2013
Grade: 3.5
Details: No. 2 Friends & Benefits
            Received from Carina Press
            Through NetGalley
Own / Kindle

The blurb:

“Alice White isn't used to being ignored. So when the object of her lust does just that, she's bound and determined to get his attention. Her pursuit leads her to Wonderland, the kind of club she's only read about, and suddenly Alice is craving something she never knew she needed.

Gael Hernandez wants to be the youngest partner at his prestigious law firm, and not even a certain tempting legal assistant can distract him from his goal of financially helping his family. Until she shows up at his favorite club and surprises him with an interest in being restrained. But the BDSM lifestyle is no game to him, and he won't take things further until Alice is schooled into submission.

After a taste, Alice wants more. She offers to be Gael's sub for one weekend, with nothing forbidden and no boundaries. In a few short days, he gives her the strength to be the person she's always wanted to be. Now Alice just needs to convince Gael that he can dominate in the bedroom, and submit to love.”


What do we have here? 

Well, we have a charming and easy to read story about two individuals, Alice and Gael, who are clearly attracted to each other but don’t act on their attraction for various reasons. Gael wouldn’t dream of approaching his beautiful co-worker. She may look like his idea of the perfect woman and come across as sweet-natured, that is not enough for him to abandon his plan of becoming a partner in his uncles company in order to safe his parent’s business. As for Alice, her reasons are far more straightforward; while she may be very attracted to Gael she has too much pride to throw herself at someone who obviously isn’t interested in her.

Things change when Alice follows Gael down a dark alley and into a club she didn’t know existed. Alice is shocked when she finds herself in what appears to be a sex club; shocked, but also excited. Her first encounter with the owner of the club, Mistress Red, put a smile on my face. Innocent Alice had no idea what to make of this woman, dressed in leather who suddenly kisses her.

Once she finds Gael it isn’t long before she discovers that Wonderland isn’t so much a sex club as a BDSM club and that Gael is a Dom. While Alice has no real idea what BDSM is or what a Dom does or whether or not she might be submissive, she can’t help feeling her body react to Gael when he gets into Dom mode.

Gael knows that getting involved with Alice might jeopardize all his carefully laid plans and does his best to scare her off. But Alice’s attraction to Gael is too strong and her curiosity about all the new feelings and emotions she’s experiencing too tempting to just walk away. She wants and needs to learn more about her reactions to everything Gael introduces her to.

After their one evening together neither Gael nor Alice is able to just walk away from the connection they both experienced. A weekend away, just the two of them, to explore whether or not Alice is indeed the woman Gael needs her to be seems the perfect solution. Until a family emergency throws a spanner in the works and threatens to tear them apart again.

To answer my own question, what we have here is a story that I seem to have read several times in the resent past. A stand-offish Dominant male encounters a rather innocent woman who turns out to be submissive although she has never had any desires to submit in the past. They really click and appear to be on the verge of their happy ending when due to an outside influence one of them suddenly feels the need to let the other one go. And so on. It is a nice story, the writing is fine and the book was easy to read, but the story was just too similar to other (dare I say better) ones I’ve read in the past.

I enjoyed the sexual interactions between Gael and Alice; they were hot and described in just the right amount of detail. Having said that, I’m wasn’t convinced by the speed with which Alice seems to take to all the new experiences.

Another thing that moved to fast was the ending of the book. While the pacing up until that point had been good and balanced I can’t help feeling that the author discovered she was getting close to the word count she had in mind and found herself having to rush to the finish line.

Having said all of that, there isn’t a whole lot wrong with this story either. Anyone who likes this genre but hasn’t read many similar stories yet will probably enjoy this novella a lot. As it is, this is an easy read, a charming story and a sexy way to spend an afternoon reading.

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