Wicked Ties (Wicked Lovers #1), by Shayla Black
Publish Date: January 2, 2007
Publisher: Berkley Romance
Format: audiobook, purchased
Genre: adult erotic romance/suspense
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble
Rating: 4.5 STARS
(From Goodreads) She didn’t know what she wanted until he made her beg for it...
Morgan O’Malley has seen a lot of kinky things as the hostess of a cable sex talk show. But she’s never met a man like Jack Cole before. A self-proclaimed dominant, he’s as alpha as a male can get–and good for Morgan to have around when an obsessed stalker ratchets up his attempts to get to her.
Though Jack is a bodyguard, Morgan feels anything but safe in his presence. Because slowly and seductively, Jack is bringing her deepest fantasies to the surface. And when he bends her to his will, what’s more shocking than her surrender is how much she enjoys it–and starts to crave his masterful touch. A willing player in Jack’s games, Morgan knows that his motives aren’t pure, but she has no idea how personal they are…
A few months ago, I was having a conversation with my girl Hannah from The Irish Banana Review about BDSM. Well, more specifically, BOOKS about BDSM. I was explaining to her that I like my romance with a side of BDSM, and not the other way around. Luckily, since we're sistahs, she totally got me, and immediately started pushing me toward Shayla Black's Wicked Lovers series. Naturally, since Hannah has never steered me wrong, I got on that right away and got Wicked Ties, which is book 1 in the series, in audio (I also bought book 2 in paperback!). And, of course, she was right.
Morgan, host of a cable TV show about sex, is floundering. After her last boyfriend left when he showed his true colors, she's buried the things she really wants deep down, convinced she's somehow... wrong. On top of that, she now has a stalker who's messages to her are increasingly creepy and threatening. To escape them, she runs from her west coast home to her half-brother's house in Texas.
I have to give Morgan some credit. Even though she's repressing a lot of her wants and desires, she's still actively engaged in her cable TV show, and that can't be easy for her. And, when she is threatened, she goes to the police and anyone else she can trust. She does all she can do to protect herself. And, when she can't do anymore, in steps Jack.
Jack happens to be a Dom who Morgan was planning to interview for her show. He also happens to be a professional bodyguard in the right place at the right time. And, when things get really hairy for Morgan, Jack saves her and brings her to his remote cabin in the bayou of Louisiana until he and his partner can find the person responsible for stalking her. And, you know, if he gets to give her lessons on how to be a submissive while she's there, all the better for both of them, right?
Needless to say, since her ex demeaned her into thinking that sort of behavior is disgusting, she fights Jack every single step of the way. And, Jack takes it all in stride, determined to break down her walls. And, somewhere along the way, he develops real feelings for her and real concern for her safety. And that is a problem. A big one. Because Jack had ulterior motives for agreeing to the interview and then later for seducing Morgan. And he knows that he will have to come clean to her about them at some point, and that revelation will not go easy.
Jack was definitely something else. Initially, I wasn't a big Jack fan. I thought he was a bit pushy and forward. And then when I learned what his game was, I REALLY wasn't a big Jack fan. Thank goodness Wicked Ties is told in dual POV, because if I didn't have the chance to get inside Jack's head, I'm not sure I would've ever become a Jack fan. But, he had a lot going on upstairs, and his thoughts and the way he was always so determined to both protect Morgan and also bring her out of her shell and wake her up definitely endeared me to him. I loved the relationship he has with his grandfather, as well as the one he has with his business partner and best friend. And, although he did some things that I really didn't like, he more than made up for it eventually.
The mystery of who Morgan's stalker was is carried through until the end. Granted, the main focus of the book is Morgan's awakening sexual awareness, but that nagging question of who was sending her those threatening notes and photos is always there as Jack tries to figure out who it is. The culprit isn't a big surprise, but how his final attack plays out was.
The audio version was really well done. Lexi Maynard added the perfect subtle Creole accent to Jack's voice to make it completely believable. Her pacing was really nice too. I hope she voices all the books in this series, because I think I'd like to listen to more of them.
So, Wicked Ties gave me what I was looking for - a little BDSM with my romance. Nothing Jack and Morgan ever did was so hard core it made me cringe. It was never demeaning or nasty. Hannah knew what she was doing when she recommended this to me. So, now I can recommend it to you. If you like your BDSM with caring and love, then you should definitely check out Wicked Ties. It won't disappoint.