Introvert, Worrier, Owner of the blog "Caught in a FAB Romance", and resident Romance Guru on Parajunkee's View. I've been blogging about books for four years - if it's got romance in it, I'll read it! You can also find me on twitter, tweeting about books, my family, and sometimes, The Saints: @TheLoveJunkee Find me on Instagram:
PJV Quickie: Asking For It is not going to be for everyone. It's a dark read and many readers will not be comfortable with the fantasies the hero/heroine are acting out. For me, it's definitely in my top reads of 2015; I'm going to be talking and thinking about this book for a long time.
Vivienne Charles is a graduate student and artist who has a great group of friends and is happy with her academic career path. She's also got a secret that she can't share with anyone but her therapist: She can't 'get off' unless she imagines she's being raped. She tried to share once before and asked her boyfriend to rough it up a bit, but it didn't end well and he's no longer her boyfriend. Vivienne knows how she got this way and that's why she's seeing a therapist, but she can't help feeling ashamed by her needs.
When Jonah Marks overhears some drunk guy at a party apologizing for not being able to play rapist for his girlfriend, his ears perk up. When he realizes it's the gorgeous grad student he met the other night, he knows he needs to talk to her, to convince her that they each have something the other wants:
"I would never force a woman against her will. Never. If someone held a gun to my head, I'd tell him to shoot. That's not a line I'd ever cross."
"But you fantasize about raping women."
He raises an eyebrow. "You fantasize about being raped. You know the line between dream and reality. So do I."
The story that follows is thoughtful, darkly beautiful, and ultimately hopeful.
As I sat down to write about Asking For It, I complained to my husband that I couldn't put into words how I felt about it: "Can't I just say, 'This book blew my mind and it will blow yours too'?" Because it really did - not only the story, but the writing as well. The contrast of Vivienne's anticipation before her meetings with Jonah, and her self-loathing and shame after each encounter, was powerful and affecting. But it's not just Vivienne's thoughts and emotions that captured me: Ms. Pace was able to write a hero that comes across as honorable and kind, despite his fantasies. I don't think many authors would have been able to bring readers around to see Jonah as a caring and sensitive hero.
As Vivienne and Jonah move from strangers to much, much more, their characters grow and change and I just couldn't stop reading. I had to know what was going to happen with these two - there were so many obstacles these two had to face, from themselves, each other, and outside characters. There are soooo many things I want to say here but in order to avoid spoilers I will refrain. I will say that if you're looking for a story with a Happily Ever After, you're not going to find it here. What you will find is a complicated story about pain, desire, friendship, and love (not necessarily in that order).
I should also mention that as a resident of New Orleans, I have a soft spot for books set here. Asking For It is set in Austin and New Orleans, and, while I've never been to Austin, I can say that Ms. Pace got New Orleans just right :)
Asking For It is not listed as a series but there is a second book coming out in September 2015, Begging For It.
If you read and enjoyed Willing Victim by Cara McKenna, I think you would enjoy Asking For It. I'm going to stretch a little and also recommend this to anyone who liked Fading by E.K. Blair - not quite the same, the heroine's reactions to sex are so very, very different, but still a dark, emotional read.