Heat Factor: The last 40% of the book is sex
Character Chemistry: Umm
Plot: A sexually repressed 45-year-old woman whose husband likes to be a cuckold has a threesome with two other men on a business trip
Overall: This title belongs in sexy sex erotica fantasy land
There is really nothing healthy about anything that is happening in this book. And I don’t mean that in a cuckold/hotwife-relationships-are-bad or a threesomes-are-bad way. I mean the way Daphne, Marcus, and Jason behave is…hooboy. Mostly Daphne because she’s the one who’s making a lot of the decisions, but in terms of consent Marcus and Jason are iffy at best.
I think at the end of the day, this book is good for a discussion about fantasy vs. problematic behavior and what we as readers want to get out of a reading experience. Though I have to say I was a bit confused as to what this story was trying to be. Is it erotica? Is it a philosophical discourse on human sexuality and kink positivity? Is it a romance?
I went back to look at the correspondence from the author about this book to see how it was marketed to us. Here’s the longer description:
After twenty years of marriage, Daphne and Chris have entered the doldrums; the intimacy has faded, the passion is gone, and Daphne begins wondering who she really is and what she really wants. Chris is open to new rules for the marriage, but she’s reluctant to cross that line; terrified it would blow her world apart. Then a weekend birthday trip to Las Vegas opens her eyes and her heart to new possibilities when she meets a man she never saw coming. Marcus is handsome, charming and her unexpected, new obsession. Can she open herself to a new man? To a new life? A life that could just save her marriage?
Based on this it rather sounds like…maybe a menage? One presumes that for this to have a HEA, the marriage is saved and Daphne and Chris are, like, partners in the marriage saving? Though the keywords in the title are “Hot Wife,” of course, and for those of you who do not know, a hotwife (a.k.a. cuckoldress) is a woman who is encouraged by her husband (in this context termed a cuckold) to be sexually non-monogamous because he is sexually turned on by such behavior. As one might imagine, in real life that sort of sexual desire might run up against a kink incompatibility, and that’s exactly Daphne and Chris’s problem. They’ve stopped having sex altogether after Daphne stopped agreeing to meet other men for dates while Chris watched.
So here’s the second place this went sideways for me. (The first was Chapters 1, 2, 4, and 6 because IDK WTF was even happening there. This is not lit fic and weird aside chapters are…weird.) Chris seems to be really upfront about his desires and open to talking about them, and every time he does Daphne shuts down because…he’s embarrassing her?
These two have been married for twenty years. If you’ve got a kink incompatibility so bad that discussing it shuts down your already dicey sex life even further, what are you even doing? That sounds horrible.
Then on a holiday in Vegas Daphne meets Marcus and they talk for just a few minutes while Chris is pulling the car out of the garage…and later she has an orgasm out of the blue (except the prior chapter clearly says she doesn’t, but it made up such an important point later on I had to let that go), which is shocking, which is how we learn about how terrible Chris and Daphne’s sex life is and how apparently bad their kink incompatibility is. And then she spends the next however many months fantasizing about Marcus…
…and BAM, her sex life is awesome until Chris asks what changed and she immediately shuts down again.
SO WHAT DOES DAPHNE DO?
She has a business trip to Vegas and calls up Marcus because she’s kept his business card. And she asks to meet up. And he remembers her. And she’s like, “Oooooooooooo, he remembers me!” And then they’re like, “We’re going to bone.”
I should give Marcus credit for asking Daphne if she really believes Chris when he says he wants her to be with other men, like Marcus is trying to make sure Chris would consent…but Chris has no idea what’s going on – in fact, Daphne lied to him about her plans for the evening – so he technically has not consented to what is about to go down.
And given Daphne’s prior behavior, I would expect that Chris thinks what’s about to go down is highly improbable.
So how does Daphne fix her marriage and get her (extremely suspect) HEA? She gets drunk…
…and has a threesome!
Because even though she didn’t get his consent prior to these…endeavors, Chris will obviously be totally into it after he hears all about it.
I enjoy a nice throuple book, but I usually expect the people having the threesome to be the ones who also have the HEA. Or, you know, if we’re talking about cuckold kink, at least the married couple have the HEA if the third party peaces out at the end. But in this story, Marcus takes Daphne up to his apartment and starts snogging her in front of another guy, Jason, who “wants to watch.”
So, okay. When Daphne asks if Jason will only watch, Marcus tells her, “He won’t do anything you don’t want.” …And then Jason starts touching Daphne without saying word one to her.
Now, if we were simply in straight up erotica territory, I honestly would not blink twice at, like, any of this. Because fantasy! And for the most part I could let go of the fact that basically all the consent was the fact that nobody ever said “no,” when in reality there should have been a number of conversations happening about…everything that was happening. Before it happened.
But also by this time we’re really piling on. We’ve already got Daphne in a (pretty self-inflicted) tailspin and cheating on her husband. (I am not even particularly anti-cheating in romance! But the way Daphne went about this was just…not healthy.) Why not add some dubcon?!
I will say this book is super duper sexy. Like. Wow.
Except…I don’t like to yuck anyone’s yum, but there were some times that I was brought up short.
Also, Jason is a Black man who says that he likes to have sex with white women because of the contrast of their skins and also because of the “taboo.”
I guess if you’re wanting to read something extremely erotic with an extremely dubious romantic thread and a good bit of sexual midlife crisis…This might just be the book for you!
I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.
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