His Invitation by Vonna Harper
March 13, 2018
Totally Bound Publishing
An unexpected invitation to a wilderness lodge leads Meka Morgan into a world of bondage and submission ruled by a dark, commanding man.
Despite her reservations, overworked Meka Morgan accepts an invitation at an isolated lodge promising freedom from responsibility and an overbearing boyfriend.
But freedom is the last thing she experiences, starting the moment her darkly handsome and mysterious host closes his hand over hers. Seconds later, she’s pinned to his powerful chest.
Her domineering captor knows her erotic needs, her secret cravings. He seems to have one goal—to challenge her helpless body in ways it craves but has never experienced.
Who is this man and what are his plans for her? Will she ever be free, and does she want to be?
This novella was ridiculous. And there is no sugar-coating it. What I thought would be a sexy, little number was a complete shamble. It was confusing, and poorly composed and one of the worst cases of dubious consent in my recent recollection. Meka is stressed out at work and just broke up with her boyfriend. In what she believes is a stroke of great timing, she’s “won” a weekend getaway in the mountains, and she is looking forward to the break. Upon checking in she encounters an imposing man who welcomes her to the lodge. Two minutes into their introduction, he grabs her, drugs her and his intentions become clear. He is a dom and the woodland resort is really some kind of kink-town escape and she’s its newest resident.
“Think of the Getaway as an escape from reality. Things happen here that don’t anywhere else on Earth.”
“Why haven’t I heard of it?”
“We don’t advertise in the usual media. In fact, starting with our first few months in existence, we’ve discovered that word-of-mouth from satisfied customers has been sufficient.”
“Oh? Then whoever signed me up was either a satisfied customer or someone who—” Before she could finish, he yanked her toward him and spun her so her back was against his chest. His arm clamped around her waist, sealing her to him. His other hand went to her face, and something pressed against her nose. Gasping, she dug her nails into his forearm, but if he felt them, he gave no indication. She reached back and up, hoping to claw his face. As she did, she took a breath. Something horrid-smelling seeped into her, and she weakened.
“You’ll understand soon enough.”
“What?” she repeated, her system coming unglued. Still, she threw herself against him, hoping she could knock him off his feet. No such luck. Although she tried not to breathe, she did. When she opened her mouth, more of the awful stench invaded not just her nostrils but her nerves. Something both hot and cold spread through her. What had been disbelief gave way before the assault to be replaced by a calm and disconnect she lacked the will to question…After a moment, she felt her head being lifted by the hair. When the back of her head rested against his chest, he patted her cheek.
“That’s right, relax, just relax. And enjoy.”…“Your heart rate’s slowing.” Still supporting her, he slid his hand under the top of her sweater. His fingers closed around a breast. “Welcome to your new reality. One you’ve wanted for a long time.”
Umm excuse me? The “heroine” is man handled, assaulted and drugged in the first chapter? And it isn’t a part of some BDSM fantasy she was 100% and completely in on, eyes wide open?
I damn near stopped reading right from the start, but I thought maybe, just maybe I missed an important clue where Meka was just playing along. And then in chapter 2…
By concentrating, she managed to stretch her outer leg closer to the edge of the couch, but any delusion she had about jumping to her feet died when he placed her leg where it had been.
“Not going to happen,” he muttered. “That’s something you’d better get used to.”
In her mind, she kicked him where it would do the most damage. Unfortunately, in the real world, she only managed another muscle jerk.
“I was hoping this wouldn’t happen so soon,” he told her. “That I’d have more time to get to know your body while it was helpless. Yeah, I’m selfish, but then, you fascinate me. You shouldn’t, but you do.” After removing her panties, he wadded them up and pressed them against her teeth. Despite her determination to resist, her lips parted and he filled her mouth. Tasting her sex juices, she embraced everything they represented. “I’ll let you talk, eventually. But right now, I want you to concentrate on sensation.”
He held up a long strip of cloth, leaving her to acknowledge the use he intended to put it to. Then, while she lay there helpless, he wrapped the cloth around her head, securing the panties inside her mouth and flattening her hair. Silenced. By him.
Nope- still way on the wrong side of consent. It is very sexy, but I couldn’t appreciate it (at all) because instead of the heroine being immersed in a Dom/Sub experience of her choice, it was clear she was abruptly tossed into it and even though her physical reactions and physiological responses gave in to his professional and experienced ministrations, the whole experience was ruined. I didn’t enjoy it one bit and even when Meka got into the fantasy of it all, how she was indoctrinated was unforgettable and unforgivable and I read it with distaste. She also had random shows of rebellion where she wanted to stop things, but would give into the heady rush of his touch.
Even with dubious consent- there has to be something to reconcile the character and their actions. I never got out of the space in believing the “hero” was a weirdo creep. I never got out of the space in believing Meka was a prop in her own story. Both were flat as cardboard and not at all (at all) compelling. Didn’t even learn the “hero’s” name until almost the end, Rafe. The weirdo.
This novella has no plot. It’s just one long sex scene with a predictable and absolutely ridiculous “reveal” and an even more asinine resolution and epilogue that is possibly more confusing than the novel’s beginning. If you are going to pen a novella, plan a tight, fast paced story that satisfies and entices. This was not and did not.
I review this as someone who is 100% into BDSM fantasy romance- -done right. I even go for the dark stuff- but if it’s going to be dark, don’t masquerade as simple BDSM fantasy- call the spade a spade- and even then- write it well.
For me, if there is dubious consent – it must be VERY carefully done. From the quotes and your comments, I don’t think it was handled well.
Absolutely. What really turned me off was the use of the heroines physiological responses to being touched sexually to rationalize the dubious consent. I have very strong thoughts about using a person’s sexual responses against them when they aren’t in control of their own body. The heroine did not seek her situation out and the consent was less dubious and more “I know you have these desires, and I’m the sexy dominant man who will force you to live your fantasy right now, absent your initial consent and when you do finally consent, it will be because I made you feel so damn good- aren’t you a lucky girl by the way, I will never hurt you and even when you try to fight me off and would otherwise NOT make this choice- I’ll make you because, sexy man touching your vag”
The consent sounds really dubious. Great review though Sheena! Thanks for taking one for the team. I love the F-.
Indeed Kini, Indeed!
Ugh! You have more perseverance than I do. I would have given up after chapter one.
If you haven’t read Jade West’s BAIT, I recommend it for its “consensual non-consent” element: the hero & heroine connect on-line and agree to role-play pursuit/abduction/rape scenarios. The hero works very hard to ensure the heroine’s complete consent before they start to “play”.
I was in shock and not in a good way. Couldn’t believe what I read.
I’ll check out Bait for sure!
Im angry and I haven’t even read the book. Grrrrr