Reviewed by Tori
”So, daddy, huh?”
“C’mon. Blue-Eyes, don’t be like that. You kept screaming ‘more’ and it was the dirtiest thing I could think of.”
Charlotte (Charlie) Bell is a yoga teacher whose sexual desires play in the deeper end of the pool. She wants to be controlled and dominated in the bedroom. When she breaks up with her boyfriend whose need for control was everywhere BUT the bedroom, she goes looking for a partner to give her what she needs.
Enter James Hunter
James, a corporate suit, is a gorgeous playboy whose has some pretty dark desires all his own. When a relative sets him up with Charlie, he knows she is a little too innocent and too good for the likes of him but that won’t stop him from enjoying being the first to bring out her submissive side.
As Charlie and James embark on a sexual based relationship only, the lines drawn between them begins to blur and they find themselves
Degrees of Control is a sexy, sweet, humorous erotic romance by debut author Eve Dangerfield that focuses on the dynamics of the characters and their issues rather than the BDSM the storyline is built around. A fast read that flows along at a steady clip with just few stumbling blocks along the way. Heavily character driven, Dangerfield builds an engaging heroine and hero whose attraction to D/s opens the door to infinite possibilities if they can just get out of their own way. The low key angst and drama is a definite plus for this subgenre.
Charlie is an appealing mixture of contradictions whose recent break up affords her the ability to begin to explore her sexual kink. Charlie has masochistic tendencies. She likes pain with her pleasure. A partner being harsh and forceful to her during sex is what she gets off on and she is tired of feeling ashamed for those desires. She tells her best friends who decide to help her find a man to indulge in her fantasies with.
I really liked Charlie. She is an environmentally conscious vegan who teaches yoga. Her tiny stature and baby blues eyes scream push over but in reality, she is very firm and assertive when she needs to be. She is someone who is comfortable with themselves. She owns her sexuality and though uncomfortable with her desires, she works hard to get what she needs without any excuses or a need to be coerced in order to validate those desires.
“I know what you want, darlin’. You go on and ask me nicely and you might just get it.”
James was a little harder than Charlie to pin down. A former football player and model turned CEO, this smooth-talking Texan is a stereotypical gorgeous man who can get any woman he wants and does. Though the story starts out on the assumption he is a Dom, he’s not. He’s just a guy who likes being in control in the bedroom. Cynical, hard, and extremely crude, he comes off as a complete jerk (especially the first time he and Charlie meet) but as the story reveals, we go deeper into his head and learn his issues stem is from a childhood trauma he is unable to let go of. Meeting Charlie is an eye opener for him. She isn’t like anyone he’s ever met. She’s sweet and intuitive but unlike most of the women he’s met, she has no hidden agenda to change him or lead him down the wedding aisle. She brings out the protectiveness in him and he has no idea how to handle that.
I have no idea what I am doing with her, none at all.
The romance gradually builds. The relationship starts out as strictly sexual and James gives Charlie exactly what she has been looking for. James calls, Charlie comes (heh), and that is the extent of their relationship. Though some may balk at the loosely handled BDSM aspects, this book is not about BDSM -it’s about the couple. Dangerfield doesn’t seek to give us lessons in this particular lifestyle. It’s an element that the author uses to build a romance around two people who like the same things and choose to explore them together.
“So what’s the problem Blue-Eyes? Why can’t we be friend?”
She stared at him for a moment, then laughed. “Okay but I expect all my friends to tie me down and call me a slut. Is that going to be a problem?”
As they spend more time together, Charlie and James become friends. The chemistry grows hotter as the scenes grow more personal. Witty banter only engages the reader more as James grows to enjoy spending time with Charlie out of bed and goes out of his way to “date” her even though he doesn’t date. As they get closer and Charlie slowly digs into his past, seeking to find common ground between them, James’s protective barriers aren’t working anymore and he finds himself struggling to regroup. He has a moment and it is the catalyst that forces him to open up about himself and his trauma. I loved that Charlie saw her feelings for him growing and choose to address it rather then hold it inside and fret about it in silence.
A personable cast of secondary characters adds humor to the storyline. Charlie’s friends stand firm at her back and even though they don’t understand the appeal of her fantasies, they champion her and them.
“Why are all these guys so tall?” Charlie asked. “They’ll make me look like a toddler.”
“You specifically requested someone tall! I’m just meeting your demands.”
Charlie groaned. “Sophia, please stop talking like a pimp.”
“No. Tonight that’s what I am, your pimp.
James is an ocean onto himself. He doesn’t really have anyone in his corner. Charlie is one of the first people who actually looks beyond his playboy exterior and sees the man behind the hype. Soon we begin to see him through her eyes and we realize his past caused far more damage than we assumed and your heart hurts for him. He grows on you and goes from being an emotionally stunted man to a sweetheart who wants everything Charlie is offering. He just needs to find a way to free himself from his past.
There were a few areas I had issues with. I found Charlie’s instinctive need to see the good in people more than naive; it was dangerous. Also, some of the dialogue at times was awkward and addressed some issues we weren’t made privy too.
Regardless of my issues and the predictable plot, I genuinely enjoyed meeting Charlie and James and watching their relationship and themselves change as their emotions engaged. This is a stand alone so story ends on a good note with no lingering questions or issues.