Reviewed by Mandi
When the review request for Theory of Attraction came my way, the author described it as a BDSM Nerd-mance. How could I resist a book like this? I wish more books were published with this theme. A nerd who has a secret BDSM side…let’s discuss.
Dr. Ivan Reynolds is a rocket scientist. He lives in a townhouse complex that is highly populated by computer scientists and other physicist types. His next door neighbor is Cami, who is a computer programmer. She has a crush on her reclusive, cranky neighbor. They have a friendship of sorts, but Ivan has a personality that is hard to crack. He is demanding of people and his manners leave something to be desired.
When Ivan hears his project might not get funding and that he might actually have to charm up donors to keep things going, he turns to Cami for etiquette behavior.
I really love this concept. A man who has no social grace, who by all accounts is extremely awkward in social situations, yet the heroine adores that about him and wants him in bed. Ivan is a very arrogant nerd. I wasn’t really prepared for that. I love a nerd, but I think the nerds I love more are the quiet ones. Ivan has a lot of confidence So much, that he actually comes off as a jerk. Cami recognizes this, and even likes it in a way:
I tried to think how I would phrase that. ‘Hey, I don’t know why exactly, because you can be a jerk sometimes, but I think your heart is in the right place and your jerkiness seems to arouse me. Let’s have sex.’
Nope. That was definitely not going to be said by me any time soon.
While Ivan is cold and sometimes it was hard for me to understand why Cami was so attracted to him, there are moments where her attraction comes through strong:
He seemed genuinely regretful as he rose and offered a hand to pull me up from my chair. This time I knew enough to brace myself for the hot shock of desire, the thrilling enervation from such a little touch. My overreaction would do any Regency romance’s maiden heroine proud, but I knew it was probably more a function of anticipation and imagination than any deeper chemistry or mystical bond between us. Still. It was hot, even if it only lasted for a second or two. Even if his momentary flirtation had vanished into the usually chilly, hard-to-read expression I knew so well.
I like that this author pairs Ivan with a heroine that is so relatable. She loves Mr. Darcy and romance books. She is open, warm and funny. While it was harder to connect to Ivan, Cami is the one that kept pulling me back into the story. And as they spent time together, I really was curious to see how Ivan would act and perform in the bedroom.
What we come to find out is that Ivan is ALL about control in the bedroom. And my, my, my, he is not shy about it one bit.
“I don’t play these games out in the real world, Cami.” His voice was rough, almost resentful. Torn, he sounded torn. I felt a surge of raw hope and need, even as he said everything he could to deter me. “I know how to fuck. I like to fuck. I just don’t do well with people, and I have very particular tastes.”
Ivan is dominant and his desires come out in an extreme form. I liked their bedroom play and it fit well with his arrogance outside the bedroom. As I was talking about this book on Twitter (while I was reading it) another blogger mentioned how he didn’t pick up on social clues in situations outside the bedroom, yet in the bedroom, he could read Cami. As I continued to read, I have to agree. There is even a line towards the end that reads, “He didn’t do subtext or innuendo.” But he does. In the bedroom, as a Dom, he has to pick up on every one of Cami’s slight needs, to keep her satisfied and to ride that edge of control so it doesn’t go the wrong way. He picks up on her every little desire. Yet in a social situation when he is conversing, he can’t read people? That doesn’t seem to mesh well. Had I picked up on this without the other blogger’s comment? I’m not sure, but I do have to agree with her assessment.
The end result is that I found Ivan to be a very different hero. Too much of a jerk for me? Yes. It was hard to get past his attitude sometimes. But I did find his relationship at the end with Cami believable. I’m glad the author took a chance with this one.