September 6, 2016 by Evelyn Summers
Disgrace by Dee Palmer
Series: Disgrace #1 (The Choices Trilogy spin-off)
Genre: erotic romantic suspense
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I shamed my name. I am a whore. I am a disgrace. I’m all the things my mother made me. I wear my badge with pride because I know the truth, and only those worth a damn see me for who I am, not the label I choose to hide behind.
I am a Domme. I would still rather be a whore than a hypocrite like my mother, or a victim like the daughter she raised me to be.
As Mistress Selina, I can bring a grown man to his knees without so much as a crack of my handmade whip. I love the power and control—what’s not to love? I must be mad to even consider Dominant
club owner and King of Kink Jason Sinclair’s proposition.
Two Doms don’t make a right.
Self-preservation has kept me at a safe distance from the one man who could change all that. The only man who wields power like a sensual sword and keeps me balanced on that knife’s edge. My choice is simple: He wants me to switch for him. But if I do, will I bleed or will I fall?
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Forget boy scout, he is more like a bondage ninja.
I have to say I went into this book expecting something completely different. From the synopsis, I believed I would be indulging in a highly erotic battle of power, with little substance other than a book full of wet dream material. And although this had elements of that, particularly the first 50%, it then turned suddenly into a much more suspenseful read, much deeper than my expectations. In fact, the suspense plot was, to me, more interesting than the romance between Jason and Sam.
The first thing that struck me when reading this is that Palmer has a very formal way of writing, with little elision, which I struggled to get my head around until I was quite a way in and into the flow of things. I should point out that, as I received an ARC of an already released book, I’m not 100% sure if this was a pre- or post-edited version. But I really struggled to read on when St. Pancras station was consistently called “St. Pancreas”. This nearly became a DNF just because of that. There could also have been a few more commas to separate clauses; but, as I’ve said, once I really got into the engrossing plot, this particular style didn’t grate on me so much.
“Two Doms don’t make a right. We would not play well together.”
Plot-wise, it was refreshing to read about a new relationship with characters who actually make the effort to communicate, thus avoiding many of the potential angst-triggers in the entire romance genre. It was also refreshing to get that one major conflict out of the way around the halfway mark to be able to settle into the plot and relationship properly, rather than expecting something big to happen to temporarily ruin things. And when it started getting a little dark, that’s when I really got into the story.
Once again, due to my expectations, once the suspenseful narrative was underway I was expecting something pretty light. I read a lot of dark, so I can be hard to impress within this genre, but I have to say that Palmer did an excellent job of really making me feel that Sam was indeed in a truly perilous situation, rather than just a facade (if not, perhaps, a little melodramatic regarding Richard’s motives).
Juxtaposed with the darkness, this had a hopeful tone, with a very experienced dominant, Jason, who was never over the top with alpha behaviour, but rather was extraordinarily understanding and supportive; an excellent hero for a romance. He worked superbly with Sam and her past. And the sex scenes, particularly the shibari and the finale, were pretty hot, even if there were a few too many euphemisms for my liking.
I believe we are made for this, made for each other, and her breathtaking smile and soaking wetness clenching around my fingers are all the evidence I need.
Overall, a surprisingly suspenseful and deep read, with characters that worked well together, just hampered (for me) by the style of writing. Having said that, I’m sure others will get along with this style a lot easier than I have, so don’t let that deter you.
Would I read the original trilogy? Yes. I feel that I missed out on a lot of back story here that was just hinted at, and I want to read it for myself. I also believe there is a sequel in the making, and I will definitely be adding that to my TBR too.