Dear Ms. White:
I haven’t written a DNF review in a long time. Generally, I don’t like to write them but in this case, I read all but the last 50 pages. I stopped because I felt the relationship depicted on the pages had such an uncomfortable power disparity I couldn’t move forward. I admit that my problem with the book is really a personal thing. I reacted negatively based on my personal belief/opinions.
Wicked starts out with a fresh premise. The heroine, Lara Fox, is a computer technician who installs a new system at attorney Karl Dawson’s office. Lara is a fun, sassy woman unafraid of her own sexuality. She flirts outrageously with Karl but while instantly attracted to him doesn’t do more than flirt because she’s just not sure about him.
Karl is no slouch in the opposite sex department himself but has become bored with his bed partners and sexual lifestyle of late. Lara is an instant turn on because (and this wasn’t so fresh for me) he believes for all Lara’s outward bravado, she is secretly a submissive.
Lara and Karl play a short cat and mouse flirtation but they both know where it will end up. Karl, however, wants to explore Lara’s suppressed submissive desires and Lara, well, she is up for anything once. Lara and Karl embark on a BDSM journey. Unfortunately for me, much of the journey seemed less about a sexual exploration than Karl turning to controlling every aspect of Lara’s life with uncomfortable fatherly overtones.
On more than one occasion he calls Lara “good girl” or “girl”. He gives her "homework" assignments. He begins to "break" her into being a true submissive by tying up another “girl” and fondling and fingering the other "good girl" to climax. He speaks to her like she is a child.
His fingers tightened warningly in Lara’s hair and he leaned forward to speak in her ear. “Jan is a good girl and has known me for years. You can ask her anything about me, our play together, and the lifestyle, but you do so with respect. She’s earned it.” He pulled back and met her gaze, showing her how serious he was. “You understand?”
“Good, you girls go become friends now.”
He spanks her as punishment, telling her that this is truly what she wants if only she would be truthful to herself. He laughs with a certain paternalistic pride when she asks questions about the D/S lifestyle and tells her she’s adorable or cute or something like that in her eagerness.
I found the story to be less about creating an emotional bond but more of a psychological bond as Karl requires more and more devotion and compliance outside the bedroom. It was more about the hero dominating the heroine in every way, dictating the way she dressed, what she put in her mouth, when she could come and when she could not. It was much more than play and I didn’t really get the sense that this as a healthy agreement between the two.
I think that because the heroine had been abandoned by her father at an early age (12 or so) that her latent daddy fantasies were all the more troublesome. Had the story been more about dealing with the characters seemingly deep seated neurosis (Lara abandoned as a child and Karl being a control freak), it might have been a moving erotic story. I won’t deny that the erotic scenes are steamy. You are great at writing those but the lack of introspection by Lara, especially, about how she gives her life over to Karl in every aspect, was something I simply could not get beyond. DNF.