Review: Act Your Age by Eve Dangerfield A Review
This is the first book of yours I’ve read and the first book that I’ve picked up that involves “daddy kink.” There were a number of ways the kink was presented that did not involve or have incestuous undertones so that was a huge plus. Also, the book builds on a number of tropes that readers will be fond of: boss hero and employee heroine, a decisive age gap, and the hipster heroine versus a straight-laced hero.
Kate is portrayed well. She’s very reserved but takes opportunities to come out of her shell, even if it means using liquid courage. Kate is figuring herself out—she’s trying to be more extroverted in terms of dating, friendships (see her roller derby team), and her sexual relationships.
Her newfound spontaneity has consequences. While she’s out a bar on a company business trip, Kate decides to pick up a stranger and bring him back to her hotel room. However, there’s a case of mistaken identity. She assumes her partner is her random date from the bar. Instead, it turns out to to be her boss, Tyler.
During the first sex scene, Kate says the magic word, “Daddy.” It’s linked to her kink and apparently, Tyler’s as well. After finishing their smoldering liaison Kate wants more but Tyler is already pumping the brakes. Kate’s fairly young not only in terms of age, but also sexual experience. The “Daddy” kink doesn’t have quite same “shame” for Katie as it does for Tyler. the Tyler has years of repressing his urges and his kink. He knows the stigma surrounding the kink:
“Getting off on such a massive cultural taboo freaked him out…The daddy stuff unnerved even the kinkiest of his sex partners”
(Act Your Age, Chapter 3)
Tyler is also coming off of the end of his last relationship where everything seemed perfect, until it wasn’t.
Older men who have prior serious relationships that have failed paired with a younger heroine seems to fit into your wheelhouse. For example, your work, Locked Box, the hero, Max has been married twice and the heroine, Julie is much younger. Locked Box doesn’t feature the same level of specific/distinct kink that Act Your Age does but a number of the same themes are there: age difference, struggle to accept the nature of a relationship with the age gap, different societal interests (example- Kate is more of a hipster and Tyler is a typical suit), and more.
What Act Your Age does differently than Locked Box is to have the specific “Daddy” kink be one of the main focuses of the story. The hero and heroine approach men and women differently due to their kink. For example, Kate tends to put on a friendly persona and hide from male attention. She bakes cupcakes, dresses in a somewhat childish fashion. Her (somewhat) friend Maria notes, “…I will say the way Katie behaves towards men, the…la-di-dah, glitter and cupcakes stuff is a defence mechanism,” (Act Your Age Chapter 21). Tyler, for his part, tries to keep his distance from Kate and puts them more in a fuck-buddy category that eventually emerges into something more.
Act Your Age is a complex, finely-paced novel and accessible to even the most vanilla erotica reader. For me, you’ve managed to take something that would usually be a squicky subject and captured my attention through the entire book. I think taking the incest part out of the kink and making it a non-familial scenario was a huge. The stepfather-stepdaughter relationship that is at the core of the couple’s encounters may not appeal to readers. However, the content is similar to what you might see from other self-published erotica bestsellers on Amazon. The tone is also smart and snarky, it’s a more akin to dialogue in the vein of Shelley Laurenston, RM Mathewson and other authors with a greater angst level.
After finishing the novel, I read all of your backlist and Act Your Age is still my favorite. I look forward to reading whatever kink you tackle next.