Bound to be Dirty
Berkley / February 4, 2014 / $15.00 print, $7.99 digital
Lily Nyland married sexy bad boy Dax Xavier because he made her dreams come true—in bed and out. But after a decade of marriage, her helicopter bush pilot husband spends more time in the remote wilderness than heating things up in her bedroom. The best sex she’s enjoyed recently comes from the Dirty Girls Book Club’s erotic selections.
Still, when the club chooses Bound by Desire, Lily’s skeptical. As a family practice doctor and a fiercely independent woman, the theme doesn’t exactly resonate with her. But then Dax, home for the Christmas holiday, startles her by spicing up their sex life with naughty tricks that make her wonder if he snuck a peek at her book. Even more shocking, Lily finds herself turned on by their erotic experimentation. Kinky sex may be enough to rekindle the passion in their marriage, but can it restore the deeper bonds of love and trust?
Savanna Fox (who also writes as Susan Lyons and Susan Fox) excels at writing thoughtful erotic romance; in fact, her Awesome Foursome quartet is one of my favorite sets of erotic romance.
In this circle of friends, the heroine Lily is “the uptight one” and I liked seeing how she was still willing to change, although she's still set in her ways. The premise of Bound to Be Dirty is noteworthy in several ways.
First of all, the series is set around four women who form a book club. (Ms. Fox seems to like that theme—four women who are completely different but have one common thread. Here, books.) Dirty books, in fact. Based on the title and cover, I imagine you can guess that there are elements of BDSM in this book. But rather than jumping on the trend bandwagon, Ms. Fox takes a new spin on it.
The characters read a BDSM novel, but they discuss it. I liked that they were open to the genre, but didn't jump blindly on the train. Of course there was some initial gut reaction to the sub-genre (you see they're not really romance readers), and I felt like that gave the story an extra level of thoughtfulness. Obviously there are some really sexy scenes, but a lot of sweet and romantic ones too.
Dax is pretty much the perfect hero, but he has his own issues. He and Lily don't communicate, and I don't know that they ever truly did. Most romance novels focus on the “getting to know you," and in a way that's what Bound to be Dirty was about too. I liked that it was a couple who was already in love, but finding out if they were still in love. I wouldn't mind reading more romances ike this, a sort of “what happens after the 'happily ever after'?” I felt that Ms. Fox did a great job of describing the characters and their relationship, and really draw the reader in on an emotional level.
It was a bit stark at times, because the story is unpredictable, and beyond the reader not knowing if things will work, Dax and Lily themselves were unsure. I felt that that was a bold step, and very realistic. The tone matches the story and characters, and it's so subtly done you don't even notice it until you think about it. You get the sense of what the characters want, but it's so subtle that you feel it without it being thrown in your face. The secondary characters are all dynamic, and I liked that both Lily and Dax had their own friends. I felt that this was a story where the hero and heroine didn't need each other, but they learn that they truly want each other, and are willing to do what it takes to make things work. I found the struggle to make a relationship work and communicate very genuine.
Dax's take on the book the book club was reading was also intriguing. You rarely get to see a male reading romance novels and analyzing his thoughts in print in a romance novel. (Or at least I haven't seen it often.) Also it was nice that the book excerpts weren't extraneous. They factored specifically into the discussion and development of Lily's relationship with her friends, but also inspired Dax in his seduction set ups.
Too many times I feel that conflict in a novel is drawn out because the characters don't talk to each other. It was nice to read a story where they figure out that's what they need to do, and do communicate. If you're looking for an erotic romance with a fresh perspective and hero and heroine, you've found it in Bound to be Dirty.
Learn more or order a copy of Bound to Be Dirty by Savanna Fox, available on February 4, 2014:
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