Author: Ann Mayburn
Release Date: Feb. 12, 2013
Publisher: Loose ID
Club Wicked #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance, BDSM, erotica
Book Source: Author
About the book:
Lucia Roa needs a miracle to keep her fledgeling event planning business from going under. When she gets word about the opportunity of a lifetime to do a Valentine’s Day party for an elite club in Washington D.C. she jumps at the chance, only finding out that the party isn’t for just any club, it is for the premier private BDSM club, Wicked. Desperate for a chance to make the social and professional connections that this job would offer, she agrees to a most unconventional business arrangement with the handsomest man she’s ever met.
CEO Isaac O’Keefe swore off relationships years ago after having his heart broken and his bank account emptied by his gold digging first wife. He thought he’d managed to keep his heart under lock and key, but when Lucia walks into his office he is instantly drawn to the fiery beauty in a way he’s never felt before. He convinces Lucia to take the position as event planner for Wicked’s Valentine’s Day Party, but in order to make the event a success, something he needs to happen to secure his place on the board at Wicked, he must give her a crash course at all the dark pleasures BDSM has to offer. What starts out as a business partnership quickly turns into something more as Lucia breaks down every wall around his heart without even trying. Isaac must then make a choice, push Lucia away and continue to live a safe, but lonely life, or open himself up again to the greatest pain and pleasure in the world. Love.
What I’m talking about:
Lucia Roa is excited, but extremely nervous, for her interview to plan a major party for the rich and powerful Isaac O’Keefe. She is going in blind, at the urging of her mentor, Mrs. Florentine, not knowing who or what the party is for. So when Isaac tells Lucia that the party is at a BDSM club and that she’s too young and inexperienced, Lucia is determined to prove he’s wrong. And within a few pages, Isaac is determined to bring Lucia into the fold – with him showing her the ropes (pun intended).
The pair set up an unconventional business arrangement where they work on the party together, and Isaac teaches Lucia about the BDSM lifestyle. He pretends to be her Master in the club, and she is to do as he asks so that she will better understand the clientele at the club.
My Wicked Valentine is a delightful, sexy romance. Lucia is fresh, young and full of positive energy; I couldn’t help but get wrapped up in her charisma. She brings both an innocence and perceived life experience into the picture, which balances Isaac’s jaded heart perfectly.
The beginning of the story felt a little jumbled to me. The interview at the start was confusing because one minute Isaac was trying to talk Lucia out of the job, and the next moment he was doing everything he could to keep her. In addition, I felt their initial “arrangement” was a little too unconventional to work, plus their first two forays into Club Wicked felt stiff and awkward. And although I loved that Isaac was upfront that Mrs. Florentine (a friend from the club) was trying to set him up with Lucia, I felt there were too many personal issues going on to make the business aspects of the relationship successful. It just felt odd to me.
However, as the story progressed it really began to gel for me. Isaac goes off to run his company, which leaves Lucia to do her job as an event planner. I liked seeing them both do their respect jobs and give one another space. I also enjoyed getting POV from both characters, keeping me in the loop as to their budding feelings for the other. But it was when someone attempts to blackmail Lucia into leaving the job that I really began to connect with the couple. Isaac steps in and works hard to make things right – including meeting up with her parents. One of the best scenes occurs between Isaac and Lucia’s dad, who knows Isaac’s reputation with the ladies. Scenes such as this allow for deeper understanding of the characters, therefore increasing my connection with them.
Of course the couple has issues, mostly because Isaac creates distance. Whether it is because he feels Lucia deserves better or he’s scared of getting hurt, he turns his feelings off and on like a kitchen faucet. I admire that Lucia stands up for herself and doesn’t let Isaac get away with dragging around his emotional baggage.
Overall, My Wicked Valentine is a enjoyable little romantic story. The characters are likable and easy going. I love that there isn’t any major drama. Sure, Isaac is jaded from his wife, but he’s not messed up. And Lucia is happy. I simply adore her. She learns what it means to be a submissive while discovering why it is appealing for her and how it turns her on, but she never gives up her inner fire or changes herself. I love that Isaac respects and fosters that in her. Plus the mystery of who is blackmailing Lucia adds just enough tension to the story without overshadowing the love story.
Anyone new to the current BDSM “erotica” trend and wanting to try it out, My Wicked Valentine is the perfect choice. The sex is steamy but still fairly tame. The romance is real, light and fun. And as Isaac introduces the young Lucia to the lifestyle, a new-to-the-genre reader will get an education as well.
Enjoyed – recommend (A-)