Giving It Up by Audra North (Pushing The Boundaries #1)
January 12, 2016
Reviewed by Helyce
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…
I had a love/hate relationship with this story. Though I’m not a fan of BDSM, I was intrigued by the aspect of the female Domme and curious about the man who would seek out such a woman. The story that unfolded was…unexpected.
Beatrice and Warren know each other through mutual friends, but for whatever reason, they each believe that the other dislikes them. This incorrect assumption has them avoiding each other and makes social settings awkward. When Beatrice overhears Warren on the phone and realizes that he’s been speaking with someone at Queen Dommes and hears Warren express his disbelief at the $1,000 per session fee, Beatrice starts to make a plan. She begins to imagine what she could do with that money. Namely, payoff the hospital bill for her grandmother. While she’s daydreaming Warren finishes his conversation, sees Beatrice and confronts her about what she may or may not have heard. Beatrice’s answer? “Hire me, instead.”
What???? Beatrice thinks Warren hates her, yet she offers to be his Domme, because she needs the money? At this point, we really don’t know Beatrice, but even then, her doing this seemed really out of character. And it is; she really doesn’t know the first thing about being a Domme. As the story moves forward, we learn more about Beatrice and her childhood and about her close relationship with her grandmother and the whys of what she needs the money for. I began to see her strengths then. How she stood up to her parents and left her home, striking out on her own, determined not to fall into the life her parents expected her to have, but striving for the life she wanted and deserved. But still, a Domme this doesn’t make.
Warren was a very likable character and from the beginning I could understand his need to seek out a dominant female. He delayed his dreams in order to help his family, specifically his sister who had a baby very young. Warren moves back into his childhood home to help and over the years he becomes an uncle/father figure to his nephew. Years fly by and now, 13 years later, he’s still living at home, and the sense of responsibility he has to his parents, sister and nephew are drowning him. His need to give up control leads him to seek out a Domme.
Unfortunately, the whole dominatrix act that Beatrice puts on fell flat for me. It came off as play acting and it lost the seriousness of the act. Beatrice really tried, I’ll give her that, but it was just unbelievable. Their ‘sessions’ had humorous moments and it was hard to take Beatrice too seriously.
If you take out the Domme aspect, we are left with a sweet romance of two people who have more in common than they think. Both Beatrice and Warren have strong family ties and would do anything for the people they love. This is the part of the story that I enjoyed, Warren and Beatrice just being themselves, with each other and with their families.
The setup didn’t really work for me but I did like the characters and liked their journey to happy ever after.
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