Since when is it okay to call a self centered egotistical bastard a dominant instead of an ass hole? I found the whole premise of this couplet (two books describing the same event from two different points of view) aggravating, annoying, even disturbing.
I decided to read the books Hold My Hand and Touch My Heart by Paloma Beck in tandem. The idea of presenting one story from both the male and female viewpoints was interesting, but could probably have been just as easily achieved in one book instead of two (although it was simple enough to create this illusion by going back and forth reading a bit of each). Since together they tell one story, I am only writing one review for both titles.
Right up front, the characters were not endearing. Aubrey was whinny and pathetic. Her dark secret was a verbally abusive father and a mother who always seemed to take her father’s side. Boo hoo. At twenty four you would think she could have moved past her “rough” privileged childhood. Even after achieving a college degree, she was only working as a barista making low wages at a coffee shop. Perhaps her father actually had some legitimate insight into her character. While he may have derided her throughout her childhood, her home life shouldn’t have been traumatic enough to prevent her from making friends as an adult. It wasn’t as if he had tied her up in the basement. Instead of feeling sorry for Aubrey, I was angry at her lack of gumption.
Then there was William. After watching her for months, almost to the point of stalking, he has determined Aubrey is the woman for him. The attraction was not just for her good looks, although that was a plus, it was her naturally submissive personality. William searches for a way to reach out to her and reveal his role as a dominant. Even while he claims to care for Aubrey, William’s thoughts are always on his own needs and desires. When he decides to please her, it’s because that gives him pleasure. When she doesn’t follow his instructions, she is punished. She has no free will – he tells her what to think and what to wear. He feeds her like a baby. When he tells her to jump, she says “Yes Sir” and complies. For William there is only black and white, no excuses allowed. And his bad temper colors his decisions, which are often not in Aubrey’s best interests. William keeps telling Aubrey she is worthy and desirable, yet she is not allowed to express any feelings which are contrary to his idea of the truth. When she does share her innermost thoughts, William uses them to control her actions. In many ways William is worse that Aubrey’s dad who may criticize her choices, but still allows her to make her own life decisions.
To top things off, William’s idea of a good time (for Aubrey) is to allow her to pleasure him, Sorry, that is not a turn on for me. I had to double check to make sure the author wasn’t a man, it was that biased. To be fair, there were a few titilating scenes where Aubrey’s gratification is the focus of William’s attention.
I have read other BDSM novels, but never one where the dominant is so domineering. The girls would have some sense of individuality instead of being constantly micromanaged. When the heroine in a story seems to be the victim of a sexual predictor, it becomes more of a story about abuse than kinky love.
Needless to say, I won’t be reading book three of the Heart and Soul Series, Heal My Soul, where William and Aubrey resolve their relationship.
A thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. One and a half stars.