Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Dark World Books Tour with Author Gemma James

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My Review

Genre: BDSM dark erotica

Wow! I’m not even sure where to begin with this series. Overall the books are page-turners. They’re fast reads, well written, and I couldn’t put them down. As soon as I finished one, I had to start the next one immediately. They are not for the feint of heart! If you’ve been abused sexually or mentally, I’d recommend not reading them. The non-consent, forced seduction will be difficult for some readers, so you are warned. But if you enjoy reading books that push the edge, these books are for you! My thoughts on the books individually are below. I won’t give an overview since you can read the blurbs to each book below.

Ultimatum thoughts: Just when I got over being stunned that Gage offered Kayla an ultimatum to be his sex slave—be his sex slave or go to jail, basically—we get to our first weekend of sex. Gage dialed nothing back, but forced Kayla to take all of him in every way possible. She was reticent and non-consenting—except for the convenient part where she consented to have sex with him to keep from going to jail…not sure that’d fly legally, but this is fiction—but their entire relationship is on shaky ground. That hes her boss, she has to see him and interact with him after the forced-sex weekend, even I felt that awkwardness! But even though Gage is in control, Kayla’s not a push over. She’s tough as nails and I liked her gumption, even if she did commit a criminal act that got her in the mess she’s in. As a mother I could understand her desperation to do anything for her child. 

The sex is hot, but mostly one sided in the pleasure department, and painful at times for Kayla...because, again, he dialed nothing back! Gotta love an alpha male, but hes a jerk, too. However, I have hope that theres something sweet beneath his gruff exterior.

Enslaved thoughts: Holy shit! I only thought Ultimatum left me mind-fucked. Enslaved really mind-fucked me. Just when I was starting to like Gage the tables turn, new information is revealed, and he looses control. Literally! This man has severe issues and should see a shrink. I ended this book with mixed feelings. Okay, maybe not so mixed. I had grown fond of Gage, he’d demonstrated a softer side of himself, and I felt like he really cared about Kayla. For once I felt like he wanted to be with her and not because she was his sex slave. But then at the very end of the book, he went over the edge and committed a heinous act. Even though it was obvious he was remorseful for his actions, I still hated him. No man should lose control like that. Theres no excuse for it. I’m not sure he can redeem himself in my eyes after this.

The sex is smokin’ hot. God help me, even the final scene that led to me hating Gage, even it was smokin’ hot prior to the ultimate betrayal and the non-consent was at Def-Con 4. 

Retribution thoughts: Reading this series has become one mind-fuck after another. More facts are revealed. We learn Gage isn’t all that innocent—I’m not talking sexually—and his motives for wanting Kayla as his sex slave weren’t just because he wanted her, but a means of revenge against someone else. By hurting her, he felt like he was hurting someone else. I repeat Gage needs some expert psychological help! And I still love/hate him. How is that even possible after all the things he’s done to Kayla? I keep telling myself I should hate him, but I don’t. Hes managed to redeem himself somewhat and I hate myself for thinking that! I think Kayla deserves better than Gage, but even she’s drawn to him when she knows she shouldn’t be. I think he makes her feel alive and she can let-lose in the bedroom with him. He pleasures her sexually better than anyone, even though much of their sexual relationship has been forced. Theirs is one sick and twisted relationship. Maybe this is a classic view of a woman trying to fix a bad boy.

Gage does receive his comeuppance, which pleased me, and we discover how broken he really is. But even through his abuse in the beginning, I believe he loves Kayla. I’m torn over the ending. I’m not sure there should’ve been a happily ever after. Why you ask when this is a romance? Maybe because Gage has abusive tendencies and even though he claims he’ll never lose control again...I wonder how many other women in abusive relationships have heard that and it not be true. And hes not really proven himself to be trustworthy. To the contrary, hes shown multiple reasons why he shouldnt be trusted, loved, or given one more second of her time. I wouldve liked to have seen a little more from him before she just gave in and accepted him into her life. Yes, this is fiction and an escape from reality and I rarely like for the two to commingle. Were this a real life situation, I would’ve hated Gage and never loved him, because abuse and rape are never okay in the real world.

The final sex scene in this book was the best in the series to me. It was mutual and not forced, enjoyed by both, and sweet in Gages way. It was the most loving and heartfelt of all the sex least to me.

Overall, this was an excellent read and I’d recommend it to anyone without question…but I’d warn them about the dark/non-consensual undertones, too. The mental aspect of the read was a bigger part of the story than the BDSM in my opinion. Learning to love someone despite their shortcomings is not easy for any of us.

(The Devil’s Kiss #1)
Kayla Sutton faces a question no mother wants to face: what would you do to save your daughter? Broke and desperate, she siphons thousands from the company she works for in order to pay for her daughter’s experimental life-saving treatment. But when Gage Channing discovers her theft, she is shocked to learn that her domineering boss has no intention of turning her over to the police. Instead he issues an ultimatum—submit to him, or go to jail.
Backed into a corner, Kayla signs his contract and spends her first weekend at his home, at his mercy, and is stunned when he awakens the desire she’d believed long dead.
Approximately 12,000 words.
Add Ultimatum to your Goodreads list!

Excerpt for Ultimatum:
The room was rectangular, dark and windowless, with deep crimson walls that matched the comforter on the king-sized bed; Gage had already laid several items on the end. A rack of cuffs, chains, whips, paddles, and God only knew what else hung on the far wall. An odd-looking bench sat in front of the display. Not certain what the X on the wall, the hooks in the floor and ceiling, or the plethora of items on the shelves were used for, I tore my gaze from the terrifying sight. A group of comfy chairs and a couch were arranged on a throw rug at the opposite end. Across from the bed a swanky bathroom, outfitted with a whirlpool tub and separate shower, could be seen through an archway. 
Gage fisted my hair and yanked me against him. “These are my rules. Remember them.” He trailed a hand down my throat, and his fingers settled on the buttons of my blouse. “Number one, don’t fight me. If you do you’ll be punished.” He slowly unfastened each one, taking the time to brush his fingers against my skin. “Two, unless I’ve given you permission to speak freely, always call me Master when we’re alone.” He slid his hand inside and palmed my breast. “And three, obey without hesitation. Do you understand these rules?”
“I-I understand.” I forced the words past my quivering lips. 
He let out a low chuckle. “I don’t think you do. I think it’s time for your first punishment.” He gripped my hair even tighter. “Before we go any further, you need to choose a safe word.”
“And if I say this word . . . you’ll stop?”
“Yes. And then I’ll turn you over to the authorities. Neither of us wants that.”
“Then what’s the point in choosing a safe word? You know I won’t use it.” 
“Because what happens here will be on my terms, but ultimately your choice. I won’t move forward without it, so choose wisely, something you won’t forget or accidentally say.” He withdrew his hand from my breast and put a few inches between us. “It’s the only word that will save you from your punishment. Screaming, crying, begging me to stop . . . none of those tactics will work.”
“You sick bastard.”
“You might consider showing me some respect—I’m the only person standing between you and a jail cell.”

(The Devil’s Kiss #2)
Freedom is but an illusion . . .
Kayla Sutton finds out the hard way that Gage Channing’s dominance doesn’t end once she leaves the confines of his basement. His rules dictate her days and nights, his watchful eye keeps her in line at work, and the memories of her weekend with him, spent under his absolute control and his firm hand, keeps her on her toes. Having been blackmailed into submitting to him, Kayla doesn’t fully understand what it means to relinquish control of her body and free will, and she doesn’t understand how a man who derives pleasure in whipping and humiliating her is capable of awakening the desire she hadn’t known existed.
As her daughter’s life hangs in the balance, Kayla must dig deep to find the strength to fully submit, to travel down the path of pain and pleasure. But when her past catches up to her, prompting a free fall into forbidden territory with a man she once fiercely loved, she knows her only recourse is to come clean about her transgression to her Master and beg his forgiveness . . . only she never imagined he’d have such a horrifying punishment awaiting her, or that his jealousy would send her life into a further tailspin.
Approximately 19,000 words.
Add Enslaved to your Goodreads list!

Excerpt for Enslaved:
Gage wasted no time in reclaiming the hot, damp place between my legs. He stroked me relentlessly, and not even the decadent cake had the power to distract me. By the time he pulled me into his arms on the dance floor, I’d downed four more glasses of champagne and was more than a little tipsy. Bodies flush, our champagne breaths mingling, I melted against him and let him pull me into the sway. Something shifted within me during that dance. For the first time, I returned his touch. Sliding my hands into his hair, I curled my fingers into the dark strands as he swept me across the room. I didn’t care if everyone was watching, if what I was doing and feeling was wrong. 
And it was so wrong. Nothing about this situation should feel romanticized, but I was lost and never wanted to be found. 
He tightened his arms around me, pulling me close enough that his hard-on strained against my stomach. “Wanna get out of here?”
Our faces were inches apart, and for a moment I thought he was going to kiss me in front of everyone. “Yeah.” 
We left in a flurry of goodbyes, and the only thing more dizzying than my champagne-induced state was the commotion of grabbing our coats. The drive back to Gage’s place was but a fuzzy memory. We stumbled through the front door, his mouth hot and wet on my throat as my thighs locked around his waist. My hands gripped his hair as he carried me through the house. Maybe later I’d question why he took me to his bedroom instead of the basement, or why he seemed so un-Gage like as he ripped the bodice of my dress in an impatient fit of desire. The material tore to my waist, exposing my clamped breasts. He yanked on the chain, propelling me toward him and the bed, and his mouth closed over an aching nipple. We shed our clothing and tumbled onto the mattress, where he wrapped my fingers around the bars of the headboard.
“Don’t let go.” His breath fanned across my face an instant before he blinded me with a silk tie.

(The Devil’s Kiss #3)
Kayla Sutton thinks it’s over. She now holds the leverage she believes will end her contract with her blackmailer, but Gage Channing isn’t going down without a fight. He’s turned the tables on her, cleverly making her submit under the guise of giving her a choice, and Kayla soon discovers that retribution isn’t so black and white when everyone around her has secrets.
She faced sexual servitude in Ultimatum. In Enslaved she was seduced into craving it. Now she must find the strength to either accept the part of her that craves him still, or walk away for good . . .
Approximately 21,000 words.
Add Retribution to your Goodreads list!

Excerpt for Retribution:
“Straddle me,” he demanded, pulling me onto his lap and denying me the chance to object. He slid his hands under my dress and grabbed my ass, bringing me against his erection. My reaction was instantaneous. A flood of warmth crashed at my center, and I struggled to catch my breath through lips that parted of their own volition. His hands kneaded my bottom. “You feel that?” Awareness zinged between us as he watched me. “We connect here, Kayla.”
“It’s just sex.” My voice sounded weak, and I despised myself for it, especially since my body rocked against his.
“No, you’re not the type of woman who engages in ‘just sex’ arrangements.” He brought his hands up and spanned my ribcage. “The fact that you’re sitting here hot for my cock after everything I’ve done”—he circled my nipples with his thumbs—“turning to liquid at my touch, gives you away. You can have ‘just sex’ with anyone. There’s more here between us.”
I couldn’t look at him anymore. I closed my eyes, but I still felt his hands on me, still felt him hard and hot underneath me.
“I could fuck you right now, and you’d still beg for more.” He grabbed the back of my neck and pulled me in. “You’re just as addicted to me as I am you.” Pressing his mouth to mine, his tongue swept inside, and I wondered what he was waiting for.
“Do it, Gage.” I moaned against his lips. Later I’d beat myself up for this. Later I’d walk away.
“No. Just because you’re not my slave anymore, that doesn’t mean you call the shots.” He palmed my ass and squeezed hard. “And I’m still Master to you in the bedroom.”

Gemma James
Gemma James writes dark erotica fiction, drinks too much caffeine, and stays up too late. She’s morbidly curious about anything dark and edgy, whether it be serial killers or BDSM. Erotica is a new venture for her, and she’s looking forward to exploring the deviant side of human nature, the contrast of pleasure and pain.
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Gemma James said...

The last sex scene was also my favorite, and it was a lot of fun to write. ;)

Thanks for reviewing the trilogy! I'm glad you liked it!

Gracen Miller said...

Loved the series, Gemma. I wouldn't hesitate to read more books by you and I'll definitely be recommending these books to all my friends.


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