All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Blush – Lauren Jameson

on May 27, 2013

Lauren Jameson
Penguin AU
2013, 277p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Madeline Stone is still grieving after a tragedy. She’s moved to a new town, started a new job as a waitress and now she attempts to try new things one small step at a time. One of these steps is going to a casino and playing a game of blackjack. While she’s getting up the courage to step out onto the gaming floor, she meets a mysterious man who buys her a glass of extremely expensive wine. It’s clear that he’s way out of her league, despite the attraction that she feels for him.

Alex doesn’t date women – at least not in the conventional sense. What he wants is a little more complicated than that and despite Madeline’s obvious inexperience, he thinks that she’s a natural for it. As much as he knows that he should just walk away, he can’t and he finds himself returning to her again and again, finally laying out cold what exactly it is that he wants. Although shocked, Madeline ponders it over, finally deciding that even though it daunts her, it also excites her. And so she agrees, plunging them both into an affair and herself into a steep learning curve. But before they can be truly happy in their new life together, each of them have secrets that they are hanging onto and until Madeline trusts him with hers, he will not do the same and the lack of trust could end it all.

It is very possible for there to be too much of a good thing. It’s also very possible for there to be too much of any thing. Madeline Stone is a traumatised woman probably somewhere in her twenties who is seeking a new life after a tragedy that she blames herself for. She’s moved to Las Vegas and works as a waitress in a greasy spoon diner and sees a shrink to help her deal with her grief and guilt. As a part of an exercise she does with her shrink, Madeline writes down new things for her to try and attempts to add them to her routine. Even the thought of going to a different gas station frightens her, so it’s small steps. She goes to a glamorous casino to play a round of blackjack, something she’s always wanted to do. While she’s waiting for the courage, she has a drink (soft drink) in the bar and is approached by a handsome, powerful man who she is immediately attracted to. And it’s clear he’s very interested in her too.

Alex Fraser doesn’t know what it is about her that attracts him to her so powerfully but every time she blushes at one of his words or looks, he wants her more. But Maddy is clearly an innocent, unwise to the ways of his world. Alex doesn’t have interest in conventional relationships or vanilla sex – he’s a sexual dominant and what he’s looking for is a submissive. He believes that Maddy is a natural sexual submissive and part of him wants to make her his. The other part acknowledges that this will most likely end in disaster and he should keep far, far away.

I know this book is called Blush and obviously I have to expect there to be some sort of connection but the amount of times in which Alex mentions how her blushing is a turn on/drives him wild/he finds it sexy/etc is so large a number that it’s actually distracting. As a pale skinned person, blushing isn’t attractive in any way. It basically turns you into a tomato (which is what I would picture every time Maddy blushed. And as I mentioned – she blushed a lot).

I really try to avoid comparisons when I read novels but this one is so similar to one I’ve read previously that it cannot be ignored: innocent female, rich billionaire male who happens to be a dominant. Sexual dungeon in his house. A BDSM contract. Control that extends outside the bedroom. A “natural” submissive who’s never even heard of submission, but is then alternatively frightened and aroused by it. The thing that gets me about this story is that there’s nothing original about it. There’s no new spin, no fresh life breathed into the very tired erotic romance billionaire/lamb pairing. Maddy is insipid and uninteresting, so remote that it feels almost impossible to get to know her as a reader. She seems to like things merely because Alex tells her that she should. Things scare her until they turn Alex on, then all of a sudden they become things she wants to do. I also never get the humiliation that permeates BDSM stories. I don’t see the attractiveness in humiliating someone just for the sake of it, or for someone to accept that humiliation, particularly when it’s public. A submissive doesn’t have to be bossed around in public and treated as a source of amusement. It’s one thing to want to be dominated but why does all of that seem to come with a side serve of the dom being an asshole? Alex lacks anything remotely resembling charisma and is basically a CEO who blunders around with a few whips and some rope. I would’ve liked to know how he deduced that Maddy was a sexual submissive and explored why she might in fact be that. Instead it seemed tied up in her guilt over her accident and I’m not entirely sure that’s a healthy embracing of the lifestyle.

Also the secrets they each kept from each other were very anticlimactic. They were both obvious (possibly deliberately) from the beginning but it was also obvious how much of a non-event each would be with the other so all the attempt at building the tension before the reveal just fizzled out. The same could be said about the sex scenes.


Book #125 of 2013



2 responses to “Blush – Lauren Jameson

  1. shelleyrae @ Book'd Out says:

    I received this one for review as well but I don’t think it will make it to the top of my reading pile anytime soon.

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