The Professional (The Game Maker Book 1)
Author: Kresley Cole
Warning: BDSM, highly emotionally scarred mafia enforcer, and saucy red-headed curvaceous beauty who should be totally off bounds
Length: 452 pages
He makes the rules…
Mafiya enforcer Aleksei “The Siberian” Sevastyan’s loyalty to his boss knows no bounds, until he meets the boss’s long-lost daughter, a curvy, feisty redhead who haunts his mind and heats his blood like no other. Ordered to protect her, Aleksei will do anything to possess her as well—on his own wicked terms.
Rules are made to be broken…
Grad student Natalie Porter had barely recovered from her first sight of the dark and breathtaking Sevastyan before the professional enforcer whisks her away to Russia, thrusting her into a world of extreme wealth and wanton pleasures. Every day under his protection leads her deeper under his masterful spell.
Are you ready to play?
Yet all is not as it seems. To remove Natalie from an enemy’s reach, Sevastyan spirits her into hiding. From an opulent palace in Russia to the decadent playgrounds of the mega-wealthy in Paris, the two lovers will discover that even their darkest—and most forbidden—fantasies can come true…
Why I love it?
This was such a good start to a really awesome series. I mean, I love Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series to death, but this one was something a little different: erotica.
Now, most people think that erotic romance and erotica are the same thing, but sorry, folks, it really isn’t. This book was a classic example of erotica, where the primary “romance” plotline focuses on the characters’ sexual journey, particularly looking at how their sexual journey impacts them. No HEA is necessary but there definitely needs to be an emotional and in-depth look at how the characters grow as a result of their sexual journey.
In The Professional, Aleksei was the teacher to Natalie’s student. First by being the first man that she couldn’t “read” with her manalyst skills (i.e. guess how he would behave in the bedroom, in a relationship, and in life in general), and then by expanding her sexual horizons. Heck, within the first fifteen Kindle pages he’s got her experiencing the whole exhibitionist/voyeur dynamic, and by page 127 Natalie is researching BDSM and exploring her limits.
At the same time, her character is going through this difficult journey of getting in contact with her birth father, getting kidnapped to said birth father’s Russian palace, and a whole lot of other really stressful situations that happen once she gets there. What I loved about her character development, was how as she got more comfortable with her own sexual limits, that confidence was carried to other aspects of her life. Whereas before she was very much the one being taken care of and feeling helpless because of it, by the end of the book she has come to embrace her natural submissiveness but also has no problem pushing for what she wants (sometime a bit too much).
As Natalie gains confidence in freely embracing her submissive nature, Aleksei on the other hand, was learning how not to fear his own emotions and sexual needs. Having has such a traumatic childhood with nobody to really call his own, it was not a surprise that he was most attracted to the ownership/possession aspect of a dominant/submissive relationship. He was totally okay giving into his desire, but only in strictly controlled doses (e.g. visiting a BDSM club in Paris at set intervals). However, over the course of the book he had to learn how to stop viewing that possessive desire as a negative trait, and learn how to submit to his own emotions.
I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say that it was an emotionally intense read that left me feeling hopeful that eventually both characters could, not heal each other, but grow together in the supportive and understanding context of their romantic relationship. The fact that most of the book was set in Russia was also pretty dope.
Are you a Kresley Cole fan? Are you interested in reading erotica written by her?
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