I have a little bit of background to my reading to give to make you understand a few things as we go. Back over the summer, I was preparing for Authors After Dark and was trying to read books by authors who would be there. Joey W. Hill was the Mistress of Ceremonies, so of course she was first up on my list. I didn’t know where to begin so I started with Board Resolution, the first book in the Knights of the Boardroom series. It didn’t hit a chord with me. I was confused so much by the contraptions they rigged Savannah in and I really couldn’t wrap my head around everything that happened. Unfortunately, I stopped reading any more Joey W. Hill books. Boy am I sad about that now.
So at AAD, I got to meet Joey a few times and got to sit at her table during the Masquerade Ball Dinner. This author is so engaging and real. I wanted to slap myself for giving up on her too fast, but I came home with a ton of her books. But really, I am not a paperback reader anymore. So it took me some time to wrap back around. While browsing Net Galley, I came across Hostile Takeover and thought what the heck, let’s try this series again. I am so happy I did.
The Knights of the Board room is a group of guys who work and own K&A. All a dominant males looking for their one submissive woman. Ben is the last one and he isn’t going to give his heart out. He has a lot of deep dark places in his soul and heart that he keeps under lock and key. While he will draw a submissive out and claim her soul during a scene, he gives it back and hands over the aftercare to staff members at the club. He keeps in control of everything in his life, but in control of nothing as he spirals into the black hole of his life, his own making. He is a sexual sadist … and I mean that in every meaning of the word. While I would not call him abusive, he pushes right up to the edge of it.
Marcie is the younger sister of Cass, who is married to Lucas, another Knight of the Boardroom. Cass and Marcie are just two of many siblings with Cass being the oldest. Since I haven’t read their book, I can’t say too much more other than Marcie was young and impressionable when she came into their lives. From the beginning she latched onto Ben, first as a mentor and friend, but soon afterwards with infatuation. There is a decade age difference between Ben and Marcie. While Ben never shows more than brotherly affection, Marcie knows what her heart wants early on.
Marcie is a masochist, a very deeply feeling submissive who as they said, would allow a Dom to beat her with a baseball bat and still keep a smile on. Not that anyone ever goes at her with a baseball bat. She is a corporate investigator, who is tough as nails at her job. The two side work well in her personality, but what was overriding was I felt she would only submit this deeply to Ben. While she would feel things for other Doms, I don’t think she would have had the deep emotional connection to allow anyone else to take her as deep as he does.
The conflict comes from many directions: age, family, emotional baggage, work, etc. Ben doesn’t want her, but does want her. He is so deeply into his black hole he can’t see her love shining there to catch him. Self-destruction seems his only path. Marcie, so ingrained with her feelings, pushes Ben and steps completely out of her comfort zone to push him to acknowledge her.
The BDSM scenes are at times extremely hard to read. This isn’t a gentle slap and tickle, tie me up and fuck me book. This is a full blown, I am going to hurt you and you are going to enjoy it and come back for more. It is painful to read, but beautifully written.
Ben does some awful things, things I don’t think I could have ever forgiven, but then I am not Marcie, thank God. He is cruel, but not abusive while in a scene. He does lose his temper once and that alone would have had me walking. But again I am not Marcie, thank God. Twisted though I thought some of this was, I can see how they bonded, how they grew, how they healed through the power of their connection.
Here is my one complaint, a complaint I had about the first book too. They have these web contraptions that they bind women in. For some reason I can’t wrap my brain around if the woman is upside down, right side up, bent, standing, whatever. One minute I am seeing one image and then they do something I know can’t be done that way. Should I go back and re-read the scene to get it right? Well, that ruins the flow of the scene for me, so I just flip the woman in a new position to get it right in my brain. As I go back and read the three books between 1 and 5, I will be paying particular attention if this happens again.
So, I learned something through this experience. Don’t give up on an author after one book. You might miss a diamond of a book!