I am not a big fan of BDSM; however, I love earlier books by Alexis Alvarez. After reading His Firm Direction my feelings about the subject have changed. I loved this book.
Alvarez has a real knack for making her leading men so sexy they seem to step off the page. She displays this skill again with Axel Masters. Strong and masterful, there is an underlying soft side that is hinted at throughout. Even when he is disciplining Cleo Martinelli he shows concern for her well-being and her pleasure. It’s easy to imagine a director and his leading lady becoming intimately involved, especially when the play is so sexually charged. Alvarez handles their burgeoning relationship realistically and delicately.
Axel has obviously been in a painful love relationship that left him more wounded than he cares to admit. What’s sexier than a man who hides his fragility? Cleo has just come out of a less than stellar relationship herself. They are both primed for sparks to fly, and fly they do. Even as they do the eternal dance of teasing and testing the waters, the attraction they feel for one another virtually leaps off the pages.
There is the inevitable jealous female, always attempting to derail both the romance as well as wrest the starring role away from Cleo. Cleo has a fascinating BFF, a doctor who indulges in set design as a hobby. Laska has a story of her own; married to a doctor she is experiencing difficulties in her marriage. Her admission of “kinky” behavior with her husband makes Cleo’s foray in submissiveness more believable. If her professional best friend sees nothing wrong with a little spanking, it can’t be all wrong.
Cleo’s biggest obstacle to submitting to Axel is her fierce independence and feminism. It presents the greatest difficulty in performing the role of Anna in the play. Anna is a sub and Cleo has reservations about that. With Axel’s guidance, she finds that being submissive is, in fact, Anna’s choice. She is not abused or forced to allow husband Aaron to dominate her. She enjoys it.
As with all good romances, there are problems to overcome. Misunderstandings are expected and believably delivered. While the language and sexual activity in this book is definitely for mature readers, it is a fun love story. I was cheering for Cleo and Axel from beginning to end.
Once again Alexis Alvarez has delivered an enthralling story of romance and adult situations that make me look at BDSM and think, maybe…
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