Erin made us buddy read Your Dad Will Do because she likes to make Ingrid uncomfortable. Which means it’s that time again: time for a dueling review!
A Touch of Taboo, Book 1
Let’s start by each giving our metric for rating the book:
Heat Factor: It’s … imaginative
Character Chemistry: Indisputably they have sexual chemistry
Plot: She found her fiance cheating, so she gets back at him by making a move on his dad
Overall: Well it’s definitely hot, but the interpersonal dynamics are…concerning
Heat Factor: Yup, it’s sexy. And they like being watched, so the reader-voyeur is helping make it sexier.
Character Chemistry: I am so glad that they each found another person who shares their kinks!
Plot: Revenge sex turns to love
Overall: If you like Daddy Kink and Sexy Sex, read this book! It’s well written. If you don’t like those things, then don’t read this book, because the entire plot is sexy sex.
Heat Factor: I mean, it’s pretty much entirely written to BE hot from start to finish
Character Chemistry: They definitely seem like peanut butter and jelly in the bedroom
Plot: She starts out seeking a revenge hookup with her ex-fiance’s dad and ends up in a whole thing
Overall: If you like daddy/kinky/revenge sex this is probably right up your alley.
What is it about this couple that just seemed to work?
Holly: I mean, based on our character chemistry notes, I think we all agree that Shane and Lily are fire in the bedroom.
I would add that, though we had some trouble with the way Shane talked about his son, it is indisputable that Shane does support Lily in processing a really big hurt. Like they’re doing all this sex and role playing and it starts out as Lily getting revenge on her ex – but it’s also about her having great sex and realizing that she deserves great sex and a partner who will go along with her needing something a little bit taboo as an emotional release.
Erin: Everything Holly said, but also the text makes it clear that Lily and her ex probably had a kink incompatibility, which led to a lot of emotional distance, while Shane and Lily are…basically so compatible that they don’t even need to discuss boundaries. This contributes to the end feeling not completely unreasonable, because their sexual compatibility forms the foundation for and creates their emotional compatibility.
Did this book provide a satisfying HEA?
Erin: HEA, sure it got there. Satisfying? We got to see them go at each other with abandon for a long weekend, and we have hints that they had a certain relationship before that weekend, but there’s not a lot of emotional development. And after the weekend ends, the space between that time and the HEA is not what I’d term “satisfying.”
Holly: What Erin said.
Ingrid: I would sincerely argue that the HEA in this case felt forced. Like Erin said, it lacked a satisfying emotional connection and I felt it was rushed and would have perhaps been stronger as a purely erotic title.
How did you feel about the father/son dynamic in this story?
Erin: I wanted to understand that Shane was disappointed in his son for cheating, but when it got to the point of Lily sharing aspects of her prior sex life with her partner’s father, and that father badmouthing his son as his show of support to Lily, I was pretty uncomfortable with the relationship dynamic that would ultimately be ongoing if Lily and Shane had a successful HEA. Not to mention that it’s just kind of unattractive for a father to talk that way about his son.
Holly: It seemed like Robert was trying to walk this fine line between writing a taboo romance and making it not gross and therefore accessible to more people. She does this by making the son/ex-fiance a fucking idiot who Lily never loved or found sexual satisfaction with. But another side of this is that Shane denigrates his son for being such a fucking idiot who doesn’t know how to satisfy a lady, and that felt a little gross to me. But again – in order to make this an acceptable love story, we have to write the son off, even if it means that Shane bashes his son in what felt like unnecessary ways. In short: this is a tough balancing act, and Robert doesn’t quite nail it for me.
Ingrid: That’s partially where it just flat out went too far for me. I don’t buy that kind of relationship working. PLUS, does parenting his son about his failures with his ex-almost-DIL and now current sexual partner end up kind of roping the son into the kink? I don’t know. All I know is that I immediately felt an ick factor there.
Shane and Lily definitely enter into a 24/7 dominant/submissive relationship without discussing it first. Do you agree with this assessment of the relationship, and how does this impact your read of the relationship they’re developing?
Erin: I feel very “meh” about polite sex when it’s written. Of course I think consent is important, but constant check-ins during vanilla sex is just something that doesn’t appeal to me when I read it. And yet the lack of checking in is one reason I haven’t always enjoyed reading kink. I think this is because I’m not always convinced that the (usually sub) is actually as interested in the interaction as the (usually dom). In this case, Lily is definitely into everything Shane is doing sexually, so that wasn’t a problem for me. When he picked her clothes, though, that went beyond sex and moved into daily life, and because Lily hadn’t been talking/thinking about how much she liked that kind of domination, I rocked back a little bit. So I guess, bottom line, part of what makes kink stories work for me is knowing that both parties are excited about the kink, and when something happens outside that awareness, I struggle more with the relationship.
Holly: Wow, Erin definitely really thought about this issue. For me, once we got to this part of their relationship, I had already entered the mindset that this book was about a certain kind of fantasy. Consent and negotiations about boundaries are important in practicing kink in real life, but we had already established that these guys are extremely hot for each other and are playing out a revenge fantasy – so why not add some other dominance for extra oomph? Also, it’s not like she brought a bunch of clothes with her to wear for the weekend of sex, so why not let the dude provide her with sexy little outfits?
To go further, they also establish late in the book that Lily and Shane are really into voyeurism – but they don’t talk about it in advance, they just start having sex outside where the neighbors might see, and then are like, “Whoops, extra hot!” I actually had more trouble with this because Lily is a high school teacher and letting random neighbors watch you have sex when you hang out with teenagers all day seems like a good way to get fired. (Introducing Logic Brain, ruining smut since 1999!)
But to circle back to the actual question, both of these instances are further examples of how sexually compatible these two are.
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