Dear Jodie Griffin:
I was all over this book based on the blurb because there are so few femdom stories in romance. Bella Massey wants a guy who will submit to her in the bedroom and while gorgeous firefighter Marcus Aiello seems like an unlikely candidate, a little bedroom play indicates that he might be open to what she desires.
My expectations of reading a femdom story were not met, however because Marcus was really a switch and not a submissive. Both characters struggled with their “unnatural” desires. Bella’s previous attempts at domination were met with dismay by former boyfriend making her skittish about how it turned her on to tie up and control a man. Marcus’ background was much the same.
Bella meets Marcus when he comes to the nursing home that she visits regularly. Bella has no connection to these women and while I appreciate her volunteerism, I wished I knew more about what drew her to the nursing home where she would spend her free time playing cards with the women. Was this to show us how truly good she was even though she liked kinky bedroom things? Was it to play up the spinster stereotype? Or were the older woman simply used as comic relief as they spouted off their frank opinions about sexuality in a way that often embarrassed Bella?
As the story progressed, Bella’s desire for domination seemed to wane to the point that I didn’t even believe she wanted to dominate anymore; that her desire to control in the bedroom was a passing fancy instead of an impediment to serious relationships that she had in the past.
Marcus was another enigma. He had very conflicting sexual desires yet he was not without resources to explore them. A friend of his owned an alternative B&B where all sorts of sexual escapades took place. With a place where Marcus could explore his desires, it seemed strange that he didn’t know he was a switch. I would have enjoyed reading the emotional character arc of Marcus’ struggling with being a submissive vis a vis his own internal views of manhood.
With both Bella and Marcus confused about their desires, I felt the book came off as schizophrenic and the resolution felt lukewarm. Both Bella and Marcus were likeable characters and there was an interesting story there. I just felt like it was self restrained and not in a good way. C