Stark Trilogy #3
by Julie Kenner
Bantam/Random House July 30, 2013 E-Book/Audiobook/Trade Paperback 320 Pages
E-Galley provided by publisher via NetGalley.com. No Remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
For fans of Fifty Shades of Grey and Bared to You comes the third novel in the erotic, fast-paced trilogy including Release Me and Claim Me.
This sexy, emotionally charged romance continues the story of Damien Stark, the powerful multimillionaire who’s never had to take “no” for an answer, and Nikki Fairchild, the Southern belle who only says “yes” on her own terms.
Our desire runs deep. But our secrets cut close.
Beautiful, strong, and commanding,
Damien Stark fills a void in me that no other man can touch. His fierce cravings push me beyond the brink of bliss—and unleash a wild passion that utterly consumes us both. Yet beneath his need for dominance, he carries the wounds of a painful past.
Haunted by a legacy of dark secrets and broken trust, he seeks release in our shared ecstasy, the heat between us burning stronger each day. Our attraction is undeniable, our obsession inevitable. Yet not even Damien can run from his ghosts, or shield us from the dangers yet to come. Complete Me is an erotic romance intended for mature audiences. Random House Book Page
As the final book in this series the back story is absolutely necessary to the book being really enjoyed. I missed the second book and felt stymied on occasion by my lack of information. This is not helped by the way the story is jumped into: it picks up, apparently from a cliff hanger.
There’s little character sketching although the characters do develop to the extent necessary. If relationship problems could be solved with sex as Nikki and Damian’s seem to be, marriage counselors would have to prescribe sex as a cure all for troubled relationships. This poor woman’s vagina would wear out with the amount of sex these two have, and they would both need IV fluids to make up for her loss of fluid from lubrication and his from ejaculation.
No genre fence-sitting here: this the book is most emphatically erotic romance versus steamy romance (there is a story line so it is not purely erotica). There is a lot of sex. Every possible chance to write sex into a story is taken. It’s a bit gratuitous.
The books voice is a rolling recent past tense in a first person point of view from Nikki. There’s one mid-size plot hole, no doubt more apparent by the pivotal nature of the point. But, face it, the plot and characters are secondary to the sex and the relationship that it defines. That’s right, the couple’s relationship is defined by sex, and also obsession, his for her, hers for him, the villain’s for the both of them.
As erotica goes, it depends on athletic BDSM, mostly involving him tying her up and withholding orgasm, the use of seat belts, illusion of public sex and copious lubrication. It’s titillating, but I found myself thinking, “Maybe they should talk about the problem and not evade it with an orgasm.”
He’s obsessed and heavy handed, using his money and power to get what he wants. She gets mad but he fingers her through her panty sticks a finger in her, and she, blinded by love and orgasm, forgives his scary behavior.
She has a history as a cutter, using self mutilation and pain to deal with the emotional trauma in her life. His past as a victim of abuse, his secret history, has lead him to need submission to subvert his pain. So he dominates and spanks her and that fulfills both their needs as trauma victims. I guess therapy can only take one so far, and kink has to take them the rest of the way.
As the final book in this trilogy, I am reminded of my review of the first, RELEASE ME. I claimed the publishing industry was trying to capitalize on the FIFTY SHADE craze. I don’t blame them. There was money to be made and publishing is a business.
I say in my title that this is unabashedly unrealistic but is that bad? If erotica were realistic the chapters would probably be really short, right?
When you read erotica do you want realism or “fantasy?”
But, I think I want to read about people who “use their words” instead of their genitals to solve problems. THEN they can screw. This is pretty light bondage and spanking. If it’s what you’re looking for then start at the beginning with RELEASE ME.