When I read my first Katie Porter story, I was blown away. But I was cautious as I started this book as I don't really like dominant women in a BDSM relationship. This one blew me away with how artfully it was written. It was sexy without being over the top. And I will tell you exactly why this worked for me in the review.
Captain "Princess" Leah Girardi has a need for speed, being an air force pilot fulfills that need. After drinking herself out of a welcome, she is now coming clean and drinking only Dr. Pepper. Gunning for a promotion, she doesn't need a man derailing her from her priorities. Now assigned to help a new recruit, she feels like her world is caving in.
Captain Mike "Strap Happy" Templeton and Leah had a relationship six years ago, but Mike has some pretty chauvinistic tendencies that forced Leah to move on with her career and her heart. Like his name, Strap Happy, Mike loves the strap, but not to use on a woman, but to be used on him. He has come to terms with his need for submission in the bedroom. But outside of it he is total Alpha male with a capital A! After six years, Mike has found his balance in knowing who he is and carries a calm demeanor.
The two come together in a steamy clash. Mike is still attracted to Leah, but still has mentality that woman have no place in battle, nor as a pilot fighter. The sparks fly as the two test each other out. While Mike would love to allow Leah to dominate him, he becomes aware she doesn't have any experience, but he is willing to guide her.
Mike trusts Leah and that is elemental to any BDSM relationship. He guides her without topping from the bottom. I was highly impressed that one of his limits was humiliation, which is what most Domme stories tend to lead the men into. You don't see Leah beat Mike to death. Everything is sensual and made for what he needed and pleasure. There was absolutely no humiliation in this relationship. While Leah dominates, she uses pain, teasing and rewards to bring about the submission that Mike needs. It helps that Leah finds being dominant in the bed room really turns her on and she recognizes Mike's submission as the gift it is.
The true conflict of the story is Leah not being prepared to give her heart and Mike coming to the realization that his parents marriage isn't what he wants or needs. He needs a partner in life and a Domme in the bedroom. For a long time Leah holds out on what she is feeling causing Mike a lot of pain. Mike holds onto his calm zen like personality, but you can feel his pain come through the pages.
Why does this FemDom work? Well Mike isn't always submissive. He is totally dominant outside of the bedroom. No one pushes him around and he takes what he wants. While he doesn't want to out that he is a submissive he wants to own the relationship he has with Leah, when Leah doesn't. The story works because Mike guides Leah into being the Dominant without topping from the bottom. He just blew my world! He is a masochist and comfortable in that knowledge. He just came in a total package of hotness that I wish more authors could write like. Most submissive men are written as weak and flamboyant. Not Mike, he is strong, resilient and comfortable in his own skin.
But I can't say I like Leah a lot. She just had a huge chip on her shoulder. I wanted more of a kick-ass female that didn't care what others thought. She is fighting alcoholism alone and doing a pretty good job. But it seems like she is just alone and felt that was all she deserved. I wanted to slap her and say look at Mike, he is everything you want and need, but if she had, would there have been a conflict in the story? Probably not.
Also, Leah's friends make several appearances. Tin Tin (Jon) is as ornery as ever, but also there to catch Leah when she needs it. Ryan throws in a surprise in the book that had me wanting to grab his story next! Now I can't wait to see who gets the next story and what woman/man will take these pilots down! Let's not forget there is flying, karaoke, rock climbing, gambling, and motorcycle racing down the strip.
This is a delightfully scorching hot book with an alpha male comfortable in his own skin and unwilling to just settle. A Domme in training learning that life doesn't always throw curve balls, but also sends the right man. Sexy, aggravating, sadistic, emotional, but best of all, Hold 'Em rocked my world!