* (Please Note): This post has adult content and is advised to be at least 18 years of age. Enjoy!
At first glance, labels are just labels. After all, if we couldn’t categorize things, how would we ever find anything? But to label something often restricts. For example, what if I said, “romance book” to a male? Most men would call them bodice rippers in a condescending fashion and not even think of reading one. It would never occur that this would contain meaningful content.
Let’s take that a step further and say, “erotica”. Most see this label as porn for women and dismiss it as smut or trash immediately. And to be honest, there is much of erotica that is just plain crap (although you could say that about any genre). But to dismiss every book that is in the category of erotica is to pass up some exceptional novels. This post is a book review for Evangeline Anderson’s Dangerous Cravings and is one such exception.
This is at the core a suspense novel. We follow a serial murder case from the perspective of both of the police partners. The victims are sexually assaulted and then murdered with seemingly no connection. The cops (Alex and Cole) discover a connection to BDSM and must go undercover to find the murderer. As they go undercover their partnership and friendship goes on the line as they discover each other’s secret desires.
The topic of BDSM is popular right now in romance. It seems as if every author puts it into a series, even if they truly do not understand the topic. For some reason they just throw in threesomes and anal sex and all of a sudden it’s “hot erotica”! The problem is, these authors don’t truly know the content and their storylines and scene are not realistic. You know, the anal sex that just immediately happens to a vanilla girl without any physical preparation or the idea that all a Dominant wants is sex in public and spends all his time being cruel to the sub.
Alex is the female lead, and her entire life is conformity. Her childhood was not ideal and her adult life has surrounds a need to fit into a career that is male dominated as a police officer. We learn throughout the story that her sexual wants are based on a lot of her life experiences, including her childhood.
But with all of these things she is not happy in her life. She spends so much time in controlled situations; she wants to be able let go sometimes. Alex’s need is to be controlled, to be weak, and to need the pain is something that she wants out of the bedroom.
“Some people need to be tied down to feel free,” she emphasized. “Even the toughest, most competent woman needs to be able to feel vulnerable sometimes. If she trusts you enough to show you that side of herself, you should feel honored and try to be a little more accepting. You have no idea how much courage it takes to admit to such feelings.”
Alex attempts to try to channel her desires through her erotic writing, never allowing her sexual partners into her private needs. How many of us who read romance novels such as these as outlets of our secrets desires?
Cole is Alex’s police partner for five years. He is tall, buff, and manly and a former Marine. While he might be a typical Alpha male character, he is not perfect. We see him struggle with his desires to be a good father and deal with a bitchy ex-wife. He also discovers that he is in love with Alex. Is it worth the risk to this friendship and partnership to admit this love? As Cole learns of Alex’s secret, he must accept her sexual needs. What kind of man does this make him if he gets off on giving her pain?
“Although I had to admit that the idea of doing some of the things I had described to her was an amazing turn-on. But damn it, I wasn’t supposed to feel that way for my partner, my best friend.”
I imagine that this would be a conflict that any vanilla male might struggle. Think how a good Southern Christian boy might fight against years of social morals.
I also liked that Cole doesn’t instantly know everything about BDSM. You know in many romance books the male automatically knows everything about the scene. But in reality, it takes practice and training for a Dom to become a Master. Cole also takes time to come to terms with both Alex’s needs and his desire to meet them. Again, this is unique that the author took the time for development.
In simplest terms, this book is about acceptance and courage. Consider your own lives. Is there something about yourself that you are frightened to reveal to your partner? Are you afraid of rejection and derision? This novel illustrates how one person has dealt with this and then finally comes to terms with her sexuality. Alex describes her needs:
“When my Master disciplines me, I feel all his attention centered on me—all his love, all his hate, every emotion—all for me.”
It takes courage for her to admit this to Cole. For Cole, he must accept Alex’s wants and admit that being her Master does not make him an evil man.
This novel has a compelling suspense story that had me saying, “who did it!” at the end. We had plenty of time for character development and I did not feel that either character were stock.
What could be better?
I really dislike first person and it took me a little while to get into the book because of it. However, the content was excellent. We switch perspective between Alex and Cole, so we still get to see each other’s inner dialogue.
I give this a 4-Star, both for the suspense story, but also for the psychological depth of both characters. This is a must read for those of you curious about BDSM.