Joey W. Hill
Berkley / December 3, 2013 / $16.00 print, $7.99 digital
Athena is an accomplished businesswoman in control of every aspect of her life. But since the death of her husband, she’s had the desire to explore submissive cravings she’s had for some time. Unfortunately, Athena is known as a Mistress, because that’s the role she’s always played.
Her type A personality was strong enough to serve her husband as a Domme because that’s what he needed. It’s not until she meets Dale, a retired Navy SEAL, that she attempts to discover what her own submissive desires are. But letting go of her control is not so easy.
Fortunately, Dale is an accomplished Master who can help Athena live out her fantasies. And as she slowly surrenders to his touch, both of them will learn more about the nature of love between Dominant and submissive, and how it defies all expectations.
Joey W. Hill has mastered the art of writing the female Domme and has certainly put her stamp on BDSM erotic romance. But in her newest novel, Unrestrained, Domme heroine Athena has a secret: she’s really a submissive and she’s kept this hidden for years. But there’s one man she can’t cover with so well, a sexy SEAL whom she spots in a scene, giving herself away and unraveling the tightly-held control she’s maintained for so long. And with this, Hill primarily offers a glimpse into the psychological aspects of a BDSM relationship, the mental give-and-take of exploring this deep connection with a new partner, and a plunge into switches and power shifts.
He reached down, brushing a finger underneath the wisps of hair across her forehead. “It’s interesting where you ended up, isn’t it? On your knees?”
This is one of the fascinating elements of this take on BDSM. Athena is a mature woman who has lived a fulfilling life in almost every way, but with Dale she can discover a vital part of herself. And as a SEAL who lost a limb in the line of duty, Dale’s plenty familiar with loss. The switch here is a female Domme coming into her own as a submissive, and that mental shift throughout the story is the focus. There’s also a parallel made between the intense acumen and acuity needed to be both a successful SEAL and a Dom, and Dale would well know. He is patient but thoroughly firm, exactly what Athena needs.
Letting her go, he pulled out a chair, gestured. “Sit.“
When she complied, he retrieved his drink from the rail and took the chair next to hers. Though he leaned back, his knee stayed close to hers. “So tell me what you want, Athena.” His expression wasn’t hard or unkind, just unrelenting. She reveled in that inflexibility, the decisiveness, and it gave her the courage to set a course.
“I’d like to try a few sessions here. With you.”
“Not at the club?”
She shook her head. There were certain Dommes at the club who wouldn’t understand this, an established Mistress deciding to switch. She didn’t want to handle explanation, field veiled insults from people she liked to think of as friends. But beyond that, she was Roy’s wife there. “I would pay you. A professional arrangement.”
“No.” His tone brooked no discussion on that point. ”We do the sessions, see how it goes.”
“Too personal. I need for it to stay professional.”
“Then hire yourself a pro. That’s not my deal. You connected with me, you want something from me. Same goes. You’re not a timid woman, Athena, and I’m sure as hell not shy about what I want. I want to see where this leads. How about you?”
If she looked over her shoulder, she thought she’d see Jimmy’s shocked face and the entire membership of the club behind him, judging.
“It’s just you and me here,” he said. “I know you worry about what others might think about this side of you. That’s expected. But I’m interested in your husband. If he was alive, what would he think?”
“If he was alive, I wouldn’t be considering it. He needed something different.”
He studied her. “Athena, did he know you’re a submissive?”
Unrestrained is an intellectual, more than sexual, look at BDSM and the many facets it contains—although its pinnacle sex scene is one of the best in recent memory. There’s a release, a freedom in the lifestyle, where every relationship has its own needs, and each couple must determine what this means for them and to what extent. For Dale and Athena, after a lifetime they have finally found the right fit.
Learn more about or pre-order a copy of Unrestrained by Joey W. Hill, available December 3, 2013:
Tiffany Tyer is a writer and editor who loves reading and analyzing all things romance. She also works as a vocalist, a tutor, and a non-profit ministry assistant, and she loves it that way. Her book reviews can be found at Happy Endings Reviews, a blog she co-founded.