April brings the fifth and final installment in Megan Hart's Every Part of You serial, an erotic romance celebrating the power of knowing what you want and going for it. The story follows the up-and-down relationship between two people who seemingly couldn't be more opposite. Simone is straightforward and fearless, completely comfortable with her lifestyle and her kinks; Elliott is emotionally unavailable, fastidious (not to say anal retentive,) and scared of his own desires. But their needs in bed happen to coincide perfectly: Simone loves pain, and Elliot, much though he hates himself for it, loves to give it.
In a twist on the typical BDSM story (one of several), Simone is the one in pursuit. She's been indulging her voyeuristic side by watching the man in the opposite wing of her building, who frequently brings women to his office, a man who “dressed like a master of industry and fucked like a jackhammer.” She's particularly intrigued by the small indications of roughness she sees, but has no expectations of ever being one of Elliot's women. The tall blondes are all the same: “Perfect features. Blank expression….everything Simone wasn't and would never be.” Still, when the chance to get his attention comes, she grabs it and makes the most of it.
As Simone had guessed, “she was so far from his type she might as well have been another species. ” But Simone's sassy confidence is hard for Elliott to resist, and as he discovers, they're explosive together.
Simone's kink is one that doesn't seem to be explored much in erotic romance: she's a masochist, but it's not tied into submission or a desire for humiliation; the pain itself is what she craves. And it's been hard for her to find a lover who doesn't also want submission from her.
“I like sex. A certain kind of sex, to be honest,” she said bluntly. “The rough kind. The kind that leaves marks. It's not that I can't get off on the soft, romantic, vanilla flavored fucking, because I can. But I like the pain.”
“I don't like being tied up. Or spanked as discipline.” The tone of her voice had gone from light to slightly harsh, but she didn't work too hard to change it. “I will never, ever wear a collar. I won't call any man Master.”
He smiled then, finally, and though it was far from the brilliant one she'd had the luck to catch the night they'd been together, it was better than the frown. “No. I don't imagine you ever would.”
Ironically, though Elliott has trouble unleashing his sexually sadistic side, he hurts Simone constantly—through carelessness, inattention, and fear. Simone's honestly towards him is lovely; not only won't she take any crap, but she's open even about her own vulnerability, confessing that Elliott is dangerous to her heart. “'I think I could get lost,' she told him quietly. 'And I haven't felt this way about someone in a long time.'” (She does have the occasional passive-aggressive moment, but in response to such severe provocation, it's hard to blame her.)
Hart writes about desire with quiet delight and authenticity, and without a lot of bullshit. Read together, the five episodes make a short but compelling novel, full of tension and heartache—and so much pure enjoyment, you don't need to share Elliot and Simone's kinks to find the sex scenes stirring.