“This is who I am. This is what I want. Now I need a man dangerous enough to give it to me.”
Graduate student Vivienne Charles is afraid of her own desires—ashamed to admit that she fantasizes about being taken by force, by a man who will claim her completely and without mercy. When the magnetic, mysterious Jonah Marks learns her secret, he makes an offer that stuns her: they will remain near-strangers to each other, and meet in secret so that he can fulfill her fantasy.
Their arrangement is twisted. The sex is incredible. And—despite their attempts to stay apart—soon their emotions are bound together as tightly as the rope around Vivienne’s wrists. But the secrets in their pasts threaten to turn their affair even darker...
Reader Advisory: Asking for It deals explicitly with fantasies of non-consensual sex. Readers sensitive to portrayals of non-consensual sex should be advised.
It speaks to the importance of a gripping blurb because it only took one quote and a few sentences of description to make Lilah Pace’s Asking for It a highly anticipated release. If the mere description of the book could incite such a visceral reaction, I had high expectations for this narrative, especially considering the content is not one that’s typically explored in the Contemporary Romance genre. Asking for It is many things – taboo, controversial, and sensationalistic, to name a few – but most importantly, it’s unlike anything else I’ve read. Because of the subject matter, this book won’t be for everyone but Asking for It is a thought-provoking and emotionally-charged romance that will break your heart and put it back together minus a few pieces that unfortunately won’t be repaired until the sequel.
This book is a vast change from what I usually read, but that’s just what I liked about it; it made me think, made me feel, and challenged me to expand my definition of romance to encompass the twisted and unconventional relationship between protagonists, Vivienne Charles and Jonah Marks. Reading the book's summary, I imagined the fantasies of nonconsensual sex to be impersonal and detached and, while that may have been Vivienne's original intention, the actuality was so much more complex, especially once feelings entered the equation. The way Vivienne approaches the situation is almost clinical, taking control over any details she possibly can up to the point where she has to relinquish control. The detailed scenarios arranged between Vivienne and Jonah that took something as intimate as sex and dissected it down to every thought and movement were surprisingly sensual and erotic. Ultimately, these interactions were about surrendering to baser instincts, and not being ashamed of having atypical desires.
It’s not often I read a book that leaves me completely floored but when I finished Asking For It, my mind was whirring a mile a minute and my emotions were scattered all over the place. This is a fascinating read that takes the reader to a dark place and the emotional impact is undeniably intense. As someone who generally prefers romantic comedies, I don’t know if my heart could survive reading books like this on a daily basis, although I was glad that I took the chance to step outside of my comfort zone. When I noted that Asking for It was the first in a series, I knew that the book would end in a cliffhanger, but luckily it was one that provided just enough resolution to ensure that I wasn't throwing my Kindle across the room in frustration, but not enough that I wouldn’t be impatiently awaiting the release of the sequel. September has never seemed so far away…
*complimentary copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
Rating: 5 Stars
About the Author:
Lilah Pace is a pseudonym for a New York Times bestselling YA author. This is her first adult novel.
Social Media Links:
"Enough about me," I say as the weekend-night bustle flows around us – college kids heading to bars, stores open late to take advantage of the foot traffic, guitar music and drumbeats audible from the door of every club. "What about you? What made you decide to study earthquakes?"
"And volcanoes," he adds.
"Can't leave out the volcanoes," I say, and am rewarded with a small smile.
"Well, when I was about ten years old, my mother and stepfather took the whole family to Hawaii."
Stepfather, I note. Jonah could have no memory of his real father, and Carter Hale's been married to Jonah's mother for almost three decades. Most kids in that situation would wind up calling their stepfathers Dad. Not Jonah.
He continues, "Like most tourists in Hawaii, we went out to see the volcanoes. I hadn't imagined you could get that close to the lava flow. When I saw it – glowing orange with heat, pure liquid stone –" To my surprise, he grins. "I was ten, so I thought it was totally cool."
I laugh out loud. "So that's how you picked your scientific specialty? Because it was cool?"
"Any scientist who tells you something different is lying. If you're going to spend your entire life studying something, it needs to thrill you. Volcanoes and earthquakes thrilled me when I was a kid, and they still do. Even after all the studies and the dissertation and months of looking at nothing but seismograph readings. I get a charge out of it every time."
"Hey, they always say that if you do what you love, it doesn't feel like work," I say.
"Which is a crock." When I raise an eyebrow at Jonah, his smile regains some of the fierceness I know so well. "If you spend twelve hours in a row doing something – anything – it feels like work."
Laughing, I admit, "Okay, yes. The studio's my favorite place to be, but there are times when I feel like if I go in there one more time, I'll tear my hair out. Still, I'd rather go crazy making art than do anything else."
Jonah nods. "That's it exactly."
"So you get to spend your whole life chasing lava."
"And you'll spend yours making art."
"Yes and no," I say. "After graduation I'm hoping to go into museum work. Preserving old etchings, curating important pieces, even using original plates from centuries ago to make new prints."
He gives me a look. "You should do your own work. Not worry about taking care of someone else's."
"It's not either/or. I'll never stop creating my own work. But even if I set the entire art world on fire, it'll be years before I can support myself through my etchings alone – if ever. So there's going to be a day job for a while, probably a long while. Should I do something boring that sucks my soul away one day at a time? Or should I surround myself with some of the greatest etchings of all time, and help other people understand how amazing they are?"
After a moment, Jonah nods. "When you put it that way, okay. I see it."
Then his hand brushes against mine. At first I think he's drawing me aside as we go past a group of college kids drunkenly weaving along the sidewalk. After they pass, though, he adjusts his grip, twining our fingers together.
Jonah Marks has screwed me hotter and dirtier than any other man ever has – and yet my heart flutters like a girl's as he holds my hand for the first time.
a Rafflecopter giveaway