Matzoh and Mistletoe
Carina Press / November 21, 2013 / $2.99 digital
Every December twenty-fifth, Rebeccah Rickman volunteers through her synagogue so that others can celebrate Christmas. Her usual mitzvah, or good deed, is assisting police officer Jeremy Kohler. But this year is different: this year, Becca is free to act on the attraction that has long simmered between her and the sexy cop.
Jeremy couldn't have asked for a better gift than discovering the woman he's fantasized about for five long years is single. But when he learns about the violence that broke up Becca's marriage, he's hesitant to pursue her. He fears his desires will scare her away—but can't deny his own need for control in the bedroom. Or his longing to instruct her in the fine art of submission…
Becca is shocked to learn that Jeremy is a sexual dominant. And despite her past, she's also aroused. But before she can explore what that means, she's going to have to put her trust in Jeremy—and her own fledgling desires.
While the title of Jodie Griffin’s BDSM-themed novella suggests that the main conflict between the Jewish heroine and Christian hero relates to religion and culture, a better description of the main plot would be Vanilla Meets Kinky. Vanilla being Rebeccah (Becca) Rickman, a nice divorced Jewish girl who volunteers every Christmas to help the local police department on ride-alongs. If it happens to give her the opportunity to be in close confines with the very hot, not-Jewish at all Jeremy Kohler, all the better.
This year is the first year both of them are single, which should mean all systems go, save for two things—Becca is extremely skittish after being married to the abusive, verbally demeaning Sam, who made her feel ashamed of herself and her desires, and Jeremy is a Dom who certainly deserves the capital D. He’s not quite in Christian Grey vanilla-sex-virgin territory, but he’s close. Kink is part and parcel of his sexual makeup, though he’s willing to take baby steps when it comes to Becca, because he’s been as captivated by her during their Christmas outings as she’s been by him.
After their holiday duties have been attended to, they’re free to explore their newfound freedom, with Jeremy ushering Becca into the world of kinky sex she’s been curious about, but made to feel ashamed of. She isn’t completely sold on the idea of being his “submissive” after the treatment she got from her ex, who wanted a doormat, and not a real, lusty woman. She agrees to go slowly, with the promise of her safe word, “red,” available to her at any time. The first sex scene is certainly one of the hottest oral sex scenes I’ve read in a romance, though it seemed slightly out of place for the very first one for a woman with Becca’s background. Still, it was hot:
Firelight flickered over her face and reflected in her eyes. She started making small noises in the back of her throat and the vibration of it drew him closer and closer to the point of no return.
The next time he stroked into her mouth, he went deeper than he had before. It felt like heaven, but Becca’s eyes flared slightly. “Too much?”
She held up the hand holding the belt and squeezed it tighter.
“You like the feel of my cock in there, don’t you? Pushing you somewhere you’ve never been. And you know it’s not all in there. I bet you’re wondering how much more you can take. Curious little kitten, aren’t you?”
The push/pull of Becca’s interest in this new world of power play, obeying commands and being sexually “used” is expertly done. Griffin gets into both her protagonists’ heads, offering Jeremy’s desire to control Becca sexually and offer her pleasure, and Becca spreading her wings tentatively at first, then more eagerly as the novella progresses.
Becca may be new to BDSM, but she takes to it quickly—though never too quickly. Griffin doesn’t rush the sex scenes, and the drawn-out nature of their negotiations, which are a recurring theme, make it clear that safe, sane and consensual aren’t just buzzwords to Jeremy, but tenets he firmly believes in. The flirting, tension and occasional misunderstandings are some the best parts of Matzoh and Mistletoe. They’ve waited this long to be together, and while their attraction runs very deep, Griffin makes sure the payoff is there for the reader and for her characters by the time they fulfill their simmering lust.
There’s various kinks on offer here, from spanking to hot wax to blindfolding to bondage. My only complaint, in fact, is that the spanking scene could’ve been more drawn out, and offered more luxuriating in why Becca found it sexy, as Griffin does with the hot wax scene. Seeing an abused woman come into her own as a powerful, hungry, horny lover, and that Jeremy wants to give pleasure even when he’s at his most sexually sadistic, was a delight. At one point, Jeremy tells Becca, “Subs are some of the strongest people I know, both mentally and physically. It takes a person with a backbone of steel to willingly give up control, a huge amount of trust.” His praise for her, and repeated emphasis that she always retains her power, is an important message here.
Fans of kink will not be disappointed by the way Jeremy takes what he wants and pushes Rebecca to explore the desires she’s hidden even from herself, as well as the painful pleasures she clearly would never have dreamt up on her own, such as:
As she writhed in the chair, he squeezed her breasts and slapped them lightly, and then he tugged at the clothespins, not enough to pull them off, but enough to make them sting.
She started begging. “Oh, please. Please, please, please.”
The sound went right to his cock, which pushed painfully against his zipper. But he didn’t take his jeans off, not yet, because once he did, he’d be inside her, and he wanted to draw this out.
He stopped playing with the clothespins and let them sit. Her breath heaved in and out and the clothespins wobbled with each breath. It was crude but it was erotic, and he had one more he wanted to use on her.
Newcomers to the genre of BDSM-themed erotic romance and the concepts of BDSM will especially appreciate the room Griffin gives for Becca to process and question what’s going on; it’s reminiscent of Anastasia Steele, but far more realistically rendered. It’s clear that the passion they’ve fed off of during their five years of stolen glances and twice-yearly encounters has reached its boiling point, and that long-term buildup infuses both the sex scenes and the love story in this red-hot holiday romance.
Learn more or order a copy of Matzoh and Mistletoe by Jodie Griffin, out now:
Rachel Kramer Bussel (rachelkramerbussel.com) is a freelance and erotica writer, and editor of over 50 anthologies, including The Big Book of Orgasms: 69 Sexy Stories; Only You: Erotic Romance for Women; Serving Him: Sexy Stories of Submission and others. She tweets @raquelita and blogs at Lusty Lady.