The Theory Of Attraction
Delphine Dryden, Christine D’Abo & Jodie Griffin
Copy courtesy of Harlequin AUS
The Theory Of Attraction is three separate short stories combined into one volume so I’m going to review each story separately.
The Theory Of Attraction, by Delphine Dryden. Social anthropologist Camilla has always been a little fascinated by her (literal) rocket scientist neighbour Ivan. A man who is brilliant in terms of academic intelligence, Ivan struggles in social situations and he lives his life by an extremely strict routine, from which he barely wavers. Camilla knows where Ivan is and what he’s doing at almost any minute of the day. When Camilla offers to help Ivan relax more in social situations in order to help him secure funding, she finds out something about Ivan she didn’t know. That he’s a Dom and if Camilla is going to act on her attraction for him, she’s going to need to submit in the bedroom.
I quite enjoyed this story, I think because it made the best of some unusual main characters. Ivan is Sheldon Cooper-esque, most likely on the spectrum. He’s incredibly brainy but basically useless around other people. He fails to interpret social cues and doesn’t know how to act. I did find it a little odd that being so clueless he’d be able to be so effective as a Dom picking up on a sub’s needs but the story was written in a way that kept me interested and meant I could mostly overlook that. I liked that Ivan wasn’t a typical hero/Dom.
A Shot In The Dark, by Christine D’Abo. Three years ago Paige finally got the courage to flee her abusive ‘Master/Dom’, a man who used her desire for pain to be violent against her. Since then she’s been out of the scene but the arrival of fireman Carter at her coffee shop changes that. Carter is a Dom and he can isntantly sense what Paige needs to help her heal and get the closure she needs and enjoy herself again in play. But Paige still comes with baggage that she needs to learn to shed and stand on her own two feet.
Probably my least favourite story of the three. I didn’t like Carter and I found him overbearing and way too controlling. I know he’s a Dom but he was pretty annoying when he wasn’t in a scene and I couldn’t warm to him. I also didn’t realise that this short story was Part 2 in a linked series so I did feel a little lost because it was obvious I was missing things. However I did like Paige. I liked the way she stood up for herself, I just didn’t enjoy Carter as a character in or out of the BDSM club.
Forbidden Fantasies, by Jodie Griffin. Alex and Jess have been married for 15 years and their sex life has become predictable. On a whim Jess bought an erotic novel and reading it opened her up to a whole world of fantasies, which she is embarrassed and ashamed to tell Alex about. He in turn thinks her withdrawal emotionally means she’s cheating on him or unhappy in the marriage. When the truth finally comes out, Jess is surprised by Alex’s reaction and the way in which they begin to explore her feelings to benefit them both.
I enjoyed this story a lot too. I felt that it was nice to read about a couple that had been married for a long time and still loved each other but had perhaps become stuck in a bit of a rut, their sex life boring. Jess hadn’t realised these fantasies she had until she began indulging in erotica/BDSM books and she thought this would disgust Alex. I do think that her level of fear was perhaps a trifle overdramatic. If you’re married to a man for 15 years, surely you should be able to talk to him. What Jess wanted to try was mostly relatively tame – bit of bondage, spanking, roleplaying, etc. They both agreed they didn’t want to bring in third parties to the bedroom and seemed to share a few other hard limits. Alex’s reaction was fantastic, I thought. He listened to her, he reassured her that there was nothing wrong with her wanting these things (once again, her shame was a bit too much, it wasn’t that big of a deal) and I liked their relationship.
The one thing that did bug me a little bit about these three stories is how “samey” they all felt. Even though Camilla had no experience with even what BDSM was, Paige was formerly in a Master/slave relationship and Jess had been reading up, basically all three of them experienced the same things with the men in basically the same order. Starting off with some spanking, progressing to being tied up and flogged with a flogger or paddle, few other things and ending with an extremely lengthy anal scene where they’re all taking 8 inches of their partner with zero trouble whatsoever. Because I read all 3 books in a row it felt very repetitive. It was like all 3 authors had steps to hit for each couple and they basically hit them all pretty much at the same point throughout the journey into exploring BDSM. The only story that seemed to really deviate was the middle one, which involved cupping and a condom filled with frozen peas. I think it might be my boredom with BDSM books in general, I find them all very similar. I’d like to read some with female Dommes, characters involved in 24/7 relationships. Just something that is ultimately, a little different to what I’m reading.
Book #40 of 2013