Series: Asking for It #2
Published by Berkley on 09/01/2015
The provocative author of Asking for It once again explores the dark side of erotic obsession, and the secrets that make it as dangerous as it is irresistible.
Some secrets should only be shared in the dark.
Jonah and Vivienne’s erotic bond—living out raw scenarios of captivity and force—began as no-strings sex between strangers who shared the same desires. Now the intimacy between them is turning into love, but it’s a love built on fantasies so extreme that exploring them makes guilt inescapable. But the risks they're taking are far more dangerous than they'd imagined.
A stalker is terrorizing the city, and one of Jonah’s ex-lovers names him as a potential suspect to the police. Standing by a man under suspicion could cost Vivienne everything. But when Jonah’s stepfather takes advantage of the scandal to seize control of the Marks family fortune, Vivienne is drawn into her lover’s broken family and twisted past. Only then will she learn how dark the truth really is...
Last year I was blown away by Lilah Pace’s Asking for It. I won’t get into specifics, but if you’re interested you can read my review here. It is rare that I do this, but because I loved AFI so much, I pre-ordered Begging for It and received it on release day. And that’s about as far as I’d gotten with it. It has just been… sitting there, on my bookshelf, collecting dust. WHY? I suspect that my hesitation is, while AFI wasn’t necessarily a complete story, I was okay with the way it ended. Maybe I suspected that whatever else would come for them, it would hurt and be quite difficult and emotional. But I love those kinds of reads, so what was my damn problem? Anyway, whatever the reason, I just hadn’t ventured into it. But, I’ve been thinking about Vivienne and Jonah recently since Lilah Pace has been on my mind with her upcoming m/m release, so I picked it up on a whim and just went for it.
Like AFI, the writing in Begging for It is excellent. If you do some research you’ll learn that Lilah is actually a pseudonym for an established author. I don’t know what she writes or the name she writes under but, thank god she is seasoned because this story is complicated as fuck. And I think herein is where my uneasiness lies. The subject matter is hard. Not gruesome but psychologically taxing, so much that I couldn’t stop feeling completely heartbroken for these characters. I also did a lot of team switching. I loved Jonah. I hated him. I adored Vivienne. I wanted to throat punch her. Their actions, motives, and manipulations are so complex and fraught with an erotic fragility that only an experienced and skilled writer could tackle with such confidence. So bravo Ms. Pace, very well done.
Hmmm. I’m still not convinced that I should have read this one though. I’m actually feeling a little emotionally disappointed. With this read I spent a lot of time analyzing their roles within their relationship, how their pasts play into their current desires and fuel their actions, so much that I missed the love story. Sure Jonah is still fierce yet delicate and tender but when the I love you’s came about, it wasn’t as passionately charged as I hoped it would be. Maybe with a reread I can go back and delve out those nuances but for now, I feel let down. Something is just missing. I don’t feel like anyone is actually happy at the end. What the hell?
I feel like I’ve had this reaction to many books lately but I feel burnt out by these clichéd plot devices. The suspenseful plot of this story felt forced and didn’t provide any value added to the story upon its resolution. It pushed characters in the direction of emotional health but I can’t help but wonder how these characters would behave within another storyline. In turn, It also transformed the curious and delicate nature of their sexual relationship into something that felt awkward and tense and seemed to blanket the story with a dark and melancholic tone. Boo hoo, blah, fucking sigh.
Anyway, there is a follow up novella. Maybe it will give me what I want?