Loveswept / August 12, 2014 / $2.99 digital
DEA Special Agent Damien Moana works hard and plays even harder. But while indulging in forbidden temptations at a private BDSM retreat, the unexpected happens: He falls under a stranger’s spell. This woman drives Damien to distraction, pushing him to the sweet boundary between pain and pleasure. When duty interrupts their heated encounter, his focus turns to catching a criminal . . . but his head is still with the seductress who ignites his deepest desires. Now Damien must choose between closing the case of his career and losing the woman of his dreams.
Poppy Mercer can’t forget the night she spent with her mystery lover. When chance brings them back together, she seizes the opportunity to again feel his masterful hands on her body. Poppy is a switch who delights in dominating a powerful man . . . and submitting to the ecstasy of his control. Outside the bedroom, however, she questions her place in Damien’s world. His obsession with hunting a ruthless drug lord puts Poppy in the line of fire. And though Damien might be able to save her from danger, salvaging what’s left of her trust is another matter.
Sidney Bristol introduces the Drug of Desire series with Committed, and it might have earned its place as one of my favorite erotic romances. Ever. How did she earn such an exalted spot amongst the many erotic titles I have read? In a recent Twitter conversation, I gave this tweet pitch: “It was great to read a heroine who reveled in her sexuality and an alpha who I could introduce to my folks.”
I loved reading Poppy as a heroine. She was relatable and fun, and gave as good as she got! Also, she was, in my opinion, what is truly rare in BDSM erotica—a female switch. We see switches fairly often in Domme/sub erotica, and often see bossy bottoms, but I haven’t read many true switches. Even in sub, Poppy is a strong heroine.
The arm around her waist uncurled and he smacked her ass with the book, not hard, but enough to get her attention.
Poppy yelped, caught by surprise.
“Do you need anything?” he growled again.
Oh, the man wanted her to call him sir. He wanted the honorific from her, and that in itself made her want to withhold it, to see what he’d do. But it was too early for that, she’d test him later.
“Yes. Sir.” She smiled, willing to play his game. She’d call him whatever he wanted, so long as he recognized that she wasn’t a submissive. She was a switch, a different animal altogether, and he was going to have to respect that.
Poppy has to learn to accept both facets of her sexuality too, though. And what better way than to talk it over wine and pizza with her two pals who are also in the scene?
“But how do you feel about being submissive to him? Is that something you’d want to do more of?” Kyle asked
“I don’t know. Like, when I’m in it, it’s all I want, but I don’t want the play to change me.” Poppy chewed her lip. These were things she hadn’t thought through yet.
“He’s not changing you. He’s just bringing this hidden side out of you. It’s like the fine china. You don’t serve just anyone on that stuff.” Nikki picked up her paper plate. “But everyone can have paper plates.”
Nikki smiled at Poppy. “What I’m saying is it’s okay. You aren’t changing. You’re just getting more in touch with that side of you. You’re evolving.”
Poppy is a fun heroine to read, and funny and sexy is almost an irresistible combination—both to readers and to Damien.
Their faces were inches apart. She could hear his breath, feel his heart beat against her back—and the erection in his pants.
“You like to giggle,” he stated, not a question.
“It’s called play, isn’t it?” Poppy strained toward him as she spoke so that their lips brushed. Did he realize she was putty in his hands?
“Play with me, sir.”
Poppy is the star of Committed for me, but Damien is equally rare in the erotic world, especially lately—he’s a Dom and an alpha (can you have one without the other?) but he’s family-oriented, caring, and committed to work and Poppy. After their first play session was cut short, Damien owed Poppy a chance to play the dominant. He takes on the role reluctantly, but a deal is a deal:
He hadn’t bottomed in a scene since his mentor had moved away years ago. It had been part of his training, learning how to be a good dominant to his partner.
Though he identified as a dominant, it didn’t mean he never bottomed. He regularly had new toys tested on him before ever using them on a partner. Occasionally a friend with an odd skill set, fire-cupping or pressure points or something else, he’d bottom for them. But he’d never before bottomed for someone he was romantically interested in. Could he be attracted to someone and still bend his knee to her? It worked for relationships where the woman was the dominant, but that wasn’t his dynamic.
He rubbed his fingers together to ground himself in the here and now. He’d allowed himself to think of Rapunzel, the woman who screamed submissive to him, while ignoring Poppy, the woman who told him she was a switch. He wasn’t sure when he’d begun to think of those two identities separately, but he had.
Poppy and Damien have their own struggles that any normal couple would face—mostly Damien’s work as a DEA agent taking center stage in their relationship. Committed balances humor, reality, fantasy, sexiness and just enough suspense to make this a book you can’t put down. Luckily, Bristol has an extensive backlist that I can catch up on while waiting for the next book. I am totally hooked on this series, and if the author is taking requests: I hope to see books for Yamamoto, Gio (who’s a woman), and Matías!
Learn more or order a copy of Committed by Sidney Bristol, out now:
Jennifer Proffitt is a Midwest transplant to New York City. She spends most of her time reading and writing about romance, but you can follow her other adventures on Twitter @JennProffitt. She works for Heroes and Heartbreakers and Criminal Element.