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REVIEW:  Down on Her Knees by Christine Bell

REVIEW: Down on Her Knees by Christine Bell

Down on Her Knees Christine Bell

Dear Ms. Bell:

I requested this book via NetGalley. I know I’ve read you before and I think I’ve even read books in this series before but I didn’t have a strong recollection of the previous two couples referenced in the book so for newbies, I don’t think you have to read the previous Bell books to enjoy this one.

The best part of the story was the steamy sex scenes. The attraction, the description of the love scenes, the commanding role played by Rafe all worked for me.

He pushed back his chair and stood. “Now, if you’re through grilling me about my sexual practices, which you have no understanding or knowledge of, then I’m going to get myself a drink. Unless what you’re really asking for is a lesson? In which case”—he glanced at his watch and then locked gazes with her—“you can pick up that hood and those cuffs”—he jerked his head toward the bachelorette party props—“and I’d be glad to take you outside in the alley and give you the best ten minutes of your life.”

She stuttered and her whole body went white-hot, but she managed a tight smile and a damned good response. “As tempting as that is, if ten minutes is all you’ve got in you, I think I’ll pass.

I thought the Courtney’s conflict was interesting. She was intrigued by Rafe’s sexuality and his promise of satisfaction in the bedroom but she was fresh off a bad relationship where she discovered, too late, that her boyfriend was controlling every aspect of her life. It happened slowly until she woke up one day and realized she had to ask permission to get groceries and she’d lost contact with all her friends due to subtle interference from her ex. She broke it off and moved to Rhode Island where she made new friends and Rafe was part of the circle of new friends. They meet, sparks fly but Courtney is reluctant until finally she gives in.

They have constant interaction with each other due to the large circle of friends. One thing that bothered me is that neither addressed how weird it would be to have a fling with each other and remain friends.  They discussed how weird it was that there was this simmering sexual tension between them but not what would happen with the friendship dynamic after the fling burned itself out. Given that Courtney’s new circle of friends was really important to her, I didn’t understand why this wasn’t of greater concern.

The other thing that bothered me was Rafe’s emotional state of mind. Rafe lost his lover to a liquor store robbery gone wrong. He quit college and pursued a law enforcement position, dedicating himself to chasing bad guys. As one of Courtney’s friend’s said “His whole career is a tribute to Monica.”  At the beginning of the book, even the sound of Monica’s name is too painful for Rafe to endure. He has a strict four scene rule and won’t go beyond that with any woman.  Of course, he breaks all his rules for Courtney.  At the end of the short book, he’s fully recovered from his grief. I didn’t find that particularly believable either.

I find this to be the case with many Brazen books. The format is for a short category – around fifty thousand words – yet too often deep and traumatic issues are central to the character storyline which would be fine but the sex scenes take up about thirty thousand words and thinking about sex take up another ten. There’s just not enough time devoted to the serious issues raised at the beginning of the story and thus the ending isn’t as satisfying.

I also found Rafe the dom to be rather vanilla. The “scenes” he carries out with Courtney are tame and he just came across as bossy in the bedroom rather than a true dom.  It worked for both of them and I could have believed in the HEA so much more if it weren’t for the fact that Rafe went from grief to love faster than it takes a Ferrari to get from parked to sixty. C+

Best regards,

Jane

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Friday News: Google takes over Mountain View, the real size of the online marketplace, audiobook royalties at Amazon & iTunes decrease, and RPG love becomes RL marriage

Friday News: Google takes over Mountain View, the real size of...

Welcome to Googletown – This is a pretty eye-opening piece about the relationship between Google and the city-like compound (in Mountain View, California) Google has created and continues to grow, spilling over into and even consuming a substantial portion of the surrounding communities. The company has even leased Moffett Field, 1,000 acres of federal property that it wants to connect via a bridge to North Bayshore, which Google currently dominates in property leasing/ownership and corporate operations.

In 1999 Google moved into its first Mountain View office at 2400 Bayshore Parkway, with fewer than 50 employees to its name. Fifteen years later, it’s the city’s biggest employer. Though Microsoft, Symantec, Intuit, and LinkedIn each have a major presence in Mountain View, all are dwarfed by Google: in 2013, Google employed 9.7 percent of the city’s entire workforce and owned 10.7 percent of all taxable property. In other words, Google represented one-tenth of Mountain View as of last year.

And it’s only getting bigger. –The Verge

Online Shopping is Big. It’s Also Tiny. – With Amazon turning 20 (yes, TWENTY), it sometimes seems like they sell everything and that everyone buys from them (at least in the United States). Still, as this article points out, online sales, even of books, are dwarfed by patronage of brick and mortar establishments. For example, only 19% of books, videos, and music are purchased online, and this is an area where we see a lot of online presence (Netflix, iTunes, etc). A breakdown of purchased online and off, is included.

Even on the friendliest turf for online shopping — computers and electronics — Internet stores are claiming just 25% of the market. –Wall Street Journal

An Important Note About ACX Payments – Beginning on March 12th, ACX royalty and bounty payments for audiobooks distributed exclusively through Amazon, Audible, and iTunes will receive a flat 40%, and for royalty share agreements, that will be divided equally between the producer and the rights holder. Non-exclusive titles will receive a 25% royalty. The bounty program has also been revised, and details are included in the announcement.

We are committed to continuing our record of innovation and creating and expanding opportunities for more rights holders and producers in 2014—both current users and those new to the service. Furthermore, we want to encourage authors, and Rights Holders to promote their audiobooks with the increased bonus payment from $25 to $50 (or from $12.50 to $25.00 on Royalty Share deals). –ACX

The RPG Date That Led to IRL Marriage – I had no idea this type of virtual dating program existed, and there are clearly a lot of pro and con aspects to this type of immersive experience, but there’s a pretty sweet story here about Devin and Nicole, who met through Utherverse and within six months had met in person and begun a real life romance. They met in a virtual neighborhood, Devin doing a little rabble rousing, Nicole a volunteer security guard sent to stop the trouble. An unusual meet cute.

Utherverse was conceived in 2006 as an X-rated, next-gen dating platform — a Second Life for sex, essentially. It began salaciously enough as Red Light Center, a virtual playground modeled after Amsterdam’s red light district. Two years after its launch, it counted 1.5 million members. Utherverse has since toned down the R-rated aspect with “Virtual Vancouver,” a second world scrubbed of some of the racier content.

The benefit of dating in a virtual world over, according to Utherverse CEO Brian Shuster, is its potential for immersive, real-time interactions. “With web dating, people are sending emails back and forth, interacting in an asynchronous way. You don’t get a feel for who the person is, you get a feel for who the person wants you to believe they are.”

In contrast, a woman might meet a man in Utherverse while he’s busting a move on the dance floor or laughing it up at at a bar with his friends. If she likes what she sees, she can initiate a private chat. “That’s a much more natural and spontaneous indication of what a person is like,” Shuster says. “Plus, you always look your best because you’re avatars.” –Mashable