Author: Robin L. Rotham
Genre: BDSM Erotica
Opening Lines: "When someone pounded on my apartment door like they meant business, I fumbled one of my mother's second-best teacups and almost dropped it."
"Vascular surgeon Dr. Rachel McBride knows she’d be insane to pass up a prestigious fellowship for the chance to work on Julian Kilmartin’s cutting-edge research project. The reclusive neurologist has been the object of her submissive daydreams since residency, and time and distance have only strengthened the dark compulsion.
"To complicate matters, a former lover who was all too aware of her attraction to Julian is also on the team. Charmingly obnoxious Dr. Colin Carter was Julian’s protégée back in the day, and nothing appears to have changed…or has it? There’s an earnestness to Colin now, an urgency she’s never seen in him—and he claims her desire for Julian was reciprocated but deliberately left unfulfilled.
"When she takes the chance and travels to eastern Europe, Rachel discovers that research is only part of her job description—and submission is only the the beginning of the sexual excesses Julian and Colin will demand from her.
"But when the unthinkable nature of Julian’s research project is finally revealed, Rachel is ready to run from the men she thought she knew. Securing her cooperation will take a touch of coercion, a bit of bondage, and all the erotic torture two deliciously deviant doctors can apply.
Thoughts (spoilers): I saw this book advertised on one of my favorite book blog sites. Since reading it in college, I have loved Frankenstein. The whole question of what really makes us human is an extremely deep one, and I felt that Mary Shelley did an amazing job trying to address that. So when I see books related to Frankenstein, I am usually willing to jump on them. (Hence, my obsession with the Dean Koontz series!) After reading the description for this book, I admit that my interest was piqued. Plus, $3.99 wasn't a bad price. And, thanks to my hubby (*grouch*), I now have a Kindle . . .
I would love to say that I cannot describe this book because of it's complex nature; however, that is far from the truth. From the description, it seemed like the author was really going to take it to some place dark, Gothic, and disturbingly sexual. Unfortunately, she really fell short. Furthermore, the sex in the book was extremely far from erotic, and it felt like it was completely pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable in a D/s relationship.
In the description, a research project is discussed. While it does appear in the book, it almost felt like a ruse by the author to get people to read it. I am reluctant to even call it a vehicle for the plot. With the build up it was given and the interesting things that surrounded it, the author just kind of let it fizzle out. There was such an interesting story caught up in the whole idea of transplanting a body, the ramifications, and so on. However, she didn't even touch it! Not to mention the fact that she could have pulled in more elements of Frankenstein and even caused Jordan to have issues with the body memory of a child rapist. Granted, it would have been extremely dark; however, it might have given the story a little depth.
The sex was gritty, guttural, disturbing, and downright disgusting! There was nothing the least bit sexy or appealing about it. I will be the first to admit that I do not know tons about the BDSM lifestyle; however, I felt that this book crossed the boundaries of what would be considered acceptable. The fact that Julian would not discuss limits with Rachel and refused to accept limits she put seems to be a big no-no. According to Submissive Guide, a Dom needs to ask the submissive's limits. They warn submissives not to play with Doms who do not ask. A D/s relationship is built on mutual trust. If the sub cannot trust that the Dom will respect their wishes, limits, and acknowledge their fears, how can they truly submit? Julian's unwillingness to accept limits (and his desire to fully push the limits until they were stripped away) shows that he is an inconsiderate Dom and shouldn't have any subs. In addition, Colin's last adventure in the book was so dehumanizing and demeaning I wanted to vomit! The fact that he asked Julian's permission to punish Rachel without her being able to use safe words and without limits made be shudder. I couldn't understand why, especially when she professed her love for him, she would allow herself to be treated that way. And, taking out the sexual element of puppy play, I would never treat my dog in that horrendous fashion! Why would Colin even find it acceptable to treat a human that way?
At several points, Julian demands that Rachel trust him (he even goes so far as to punish her for withholding trust and believing that he would lie to her); however, he never does anything to encourage that trust. It really distressed me that Rachel didn't have enough sense of self-preservation or value to put her foot down. And, when she did, she completely backed down for no reason.
That leads us into her decision to leave the castle. Julian's choice to go against Jordan's wishes and completely jeopardize the reputations and careers of the other doctors involved was completely out of line! Rachel had every right to be upset (that doesn't even take into account that fact that Julian had already punished her for second guessing his decision and the ethics behind it)! It was possible that Jordan could easily come back and sue her for malpractice, get her license taken away, make it so she was never able to practice medicine, and serve jail time. And all of that was because Julian was selfish and decided to put his own selfish desires ahead of his brother's wishes. I'm sorry, Rachel's doctor friend was completely in the wrong. Sometimes the biggest act of love is being willing to accept that your loved one has a right to decide their own fate. If Jordan wanted to died from his disease, that was his decision to make. If, as Rachel's friend suggested, he needed an advocate, it shouldn't have been Julian. He was too emotionally invested and could not give an unbiased opinion. It seems to me, with the example given by the doctor, that the author really didn't learn anything from the episode of House she was discussing.
Rachel was an extremely weak female. She couldn't stand for her righteous anger, she let her lust for two fucked up guys impede her ability as a doctor, and she couldn't stand up for herself. As a woman, I was disturbed and disgusted that she felt so little of herself. Frankly, what Julian and Colin did to her was not BDSM; it was abuse! To me, Rachel is the classic archetype of an abused woman.
For some interesting reading on the warning signs of an an abusive Dom, check this out.