Penguin / September 2, 2014 / $15.00, print / $5.99, digital
On her last night in Nevada before embarking on a yearlong veterinary internship, Scarlett Malone is celebrating—and looking for one night of incredible pleasure. But the man who draws her eye is not her usual type: He’s a cowboy whose alpha-male tendencies tempt her beyond belief. Scarlett can’t understand why she wants this man and no one else, but she’s determined to entice him to submit.
Dr. Logan Brody lives an isolated life in rural Montana, running a ranch and suppressing his submissive tendencies. Only on his occasional trips does he give into his hidden urges. He can’t deny his scorching attraction to Scarlett or that she makes him want more, but he never lets anyone break him down fully. He’s hers for one night and one night only.
But when Scarlett shows up at Logan’s door as his intern for the year, he realizes that the walls around his heart are about to crumble—and that this sexy dominant woman has no intention of letting him keep control.
Nothing causes pages to burn quite like a submissive alpha male cowboy and a Mistress determined to make him hers. Lauren Jameson’s Linger is a stunningly sexy concoction that weaves together two souls with a taste for volcanic-hot sex. Scarlett Malone is just about to leave her home for a veterinary internship. City life doesn’t teach a veterinarian all of the in’s and out’s of large animal care, and the only way to get the needed hands-on experience is to work under someone who takes care of those big animals on a day-to-day basis. This means going out into the quiet countryside of Montana and leaving the hustle and bustle of city life behind.
Before Scarlett leaves for a year, she takes one more night to fulfill her sexual desires. A rich friend of hers owns one of the hottest BDSM clubs in the area; she has trained to be a Mistress and has more than her share of fans. That final night, Scarlett enters the club to see a man that she has to have. A tall cowboy with a beautiful body—a cowboy who may very well be a Master himself—immediately catches her attention. Scarlett is in luck: her cowboy is a submissive, if an alpha one, and the challenge he will provide her is just what she needs.
Dr. Logan Brody runs a ranch in Montana and rarely ventures out to the nearby small town, let alone to the big city. He comes a few times a year to get his sexual thrills at the very same BDSM club Scarlett likes to frequent. Despite Logan’s stature and appearance, his submissive tendencies are strong. Logan will thrash, snark, and challenge even the toughest Mistress, but he secretly wants nothing more than to have someone strong enough to make him submit anyway. Seeing Scarlett in the club makes his dick hard and his mind race. Their immediate attraction is the perfect reason to have one night of gorgeous, challenging sex in a scene that will make them both tremble with desire.
Scarlett and Logan leave the club that night with the desire to see each other again. They know that it would be impossible, yet they can’t forget that one night of amazing sex.
When Scarlett goes out to Montana to meet the vet she’ll be interning under, she’s shocked to discover that it’s the very man she had dominated the night before. Logan is just as surprised. He knows that he is her boss; he wants to submit to her anyway. She knows that she should be professional; she can’t look at him without wanting to see him raw and begging for her commands. All too soon, Scarlett and Logan are back in bed with each other, enacting scene after scene as Scarlett tries to get Logan to completely submit.
The sex is scorching, but Scarlett isn’t sure if she has what it takes to make Logan trust her completely—even though she’s starting to fall in love with him.
The attraction to Linger as an erotic romance is its unusual presentation of sexual roles. Most erotic romances have fixated on the familiar tropes of Dominant hero and submissive heroine. That dynamic has occurred with such frequency that it feels old, stale, as if every Dom/sub is hero/heroine. Linger switches those roles and has the heroine as the Dominant, which creates an all new set of subversive qualities to the story that the common hero/heroine trope does not. Jameson knowingly does this and makes it all the more challenging with Logan’s alpha qualities. Erotic romances don’t often show a truly alpha submissive – alpha heroines aren’t super common, so the submissive often tends to go the route of being submissive in many other ways, even if they are spunky or totally capable outside of the sexual relationship.
Jameson does these power switches well because she creates a hyper-intensive portrayal of the sexual relationship. Linger’s erotic romance for a reason, and Jameson’s mastery of writing a layered sex scene is how this book stands out above the rest. Every movement between Logan and Scarlett is laced with sexual undertones; tension and longing provide the non-sex scenes with a sense of excitement as the reader watches the characters build up to another encounter wherein they will reveal just a little bit more of who they are and where their attraction lies.
What struck me right away was just how complete and character-driven Scarlett’s tendencies as a Dominant were. She isn’t a Dominant just because it fits with the story – she’s a Dominant because she wants to be able to feel in control and take charge of the men in her life. Her life as a vet and her desire to help people along with her veterinary duties makes her need that control in order to get things done. Her first sex scene with Logan was mind blowing with how Jameson showed Scarlett’s need to control her desires in order to do the best that she can.
“Easy isn’t always better,” she finally said, positioning the head of Logan’s cock against her entrance. She wanted to slam down on him and ride him hard, to put her feelings to work as physical sensation, but she knew the delayed gratification would be worth it.
“And I don’t feel the same connection with Bren that I do with you.”
A guttural cry issued from Logan’s throat as she slowly sank down completely on his length, and her sigh of pleasure mixed with his. Wet as she was, she was still small and he was…well, not. She had to work her way down, twisting and pushing, until her body accepted his full length.
It was perfect.
I loved that connection to Scarlett’s profession as a vet; it felt like Jameson truly considered what Scarlett’s life goals and job might mean to her on a deep personality level. What I also loved was how Jameson connected Logan’s personality to his trust issues. He wants to trust someone completely, yet his defensive mechanism is to be an alpha male and denigrate his Dominant in order to prevent them from seeing his true self. Scarlett and Logan’s romance is more about Logan figuring himself out than it is about Scarlett doing so. While I wanted more from Scarlett in some ways, she is beautifully strong. She isn’t a heroine that is unsure during every scene and interaction. She takes life by the balls and tells it to eat her out.
As the romance progresses, the sexual power play kicks into high gear. Scarlett and Logan get into kinkier and kinkier situations. Linger shows a lot of creativity in how it portrays a diverse non-vanilla sexual relationship. Logan and Scarlett do have a tendency to have sex versus working in the text, which is an unfortunate part of many erotic romances, but Jameson’s skill at sex scenes makes it something the reader can forgive because of what it does for the narrative.
Ultimately, the sex scenes become an erotic dance between two people that want each other more than they want to be held down by their problems. Scarlett’s Dominance allows Logan to slowly come out of his shell and trust her in a way that he can trust no one else. There’s a sweet satisfaction in watching the couple’s power dynamics play out as Scarlett continually challenges Logan’s disrespect as a submissive. As she chips away at his bravado, she chips away at the alpha male to the man that secretly wants to have his Mistress in charge.
The heels of her boots clicked sharply on the worn wood of the stool as she stepped up. Logan craned his neck, trying to see what she was doing, his entire body jerking in resistance when she placed the soft silk of the blindfold over his head.
“Take that off,” he snapped at her, shaking like a dog trying to shed drops after the rain. “I want to see.”
“We’re not doing what you want right now,” Scarlett was out of breath by the time she managed to get the blindfold securely fastened. “We’re doing what you need.”
“And you decide what that is?” Logan’s voice was full of bravado, and if Scarlett hadn’t been listening for it, she might have missed the slight tremor that lay beneath the bold words.
Whatever kept him from submitting fully, it haunted him, and her heart melted.
Linger is an erotic romance that will leave burn makes on your fingertips (or your screen, as the case may be). Lauren Jameson writes a power dynamic that has a constant tipping of scales as the hero and the heroine fight to show themselves in the only way they know how: by having scorching sex with each other.
Learn more about or order a copy of Linger by Lauren Jameson, available September 2, 2014:
John is a student, reviewer, and editor with a taste for social justice. He's queer/LGBTQ and has always loved a good romance novel. A current student at Ithaca College, he is majoring in Integrated Marketing Communications and trying to pick up a creative writing minor on the side. If you observe him in the wild, you may see him reading—or find him watching reruns of The Golden Girls while sipping his first/second/third cup of coffee for the day. You can find his reviews on his blog, Dreaming in Books, and listen to his random musings on Twitter @DreamingReviews.