Touch of Taboo, Book #2
Heat Factor: This book is pictured next to the definition of “one-handed read”
Character Chemistry: Mostly developed off page prior to this book, but it works
Plot: Let’s just play out this fantasy. It’ll be fiiiiine.
Overall: If you’re only in it for the sexy sex, this will absolutely work, but Robert actually also does some interesting things here
I think the primary market for this book is readers who are looking for some “kinky fuckery” as one Goodreads reviewer put it. It’s really, really sexy. But also it’s an erotic romance, so that’s to be expected.
I liked the construction of this book better than that of the first in the series, Your Dad Will Do. I’d say it’s because the relationships are more thoughtfully structured, but I guess it’s also easier to play with friends developing into a throuple than the parent-child-fiancee plus cheating triangle situation that made for some unpleasant dynamics in Your Dad Will Do. Beyond that, though, the ending felt more satisfying and less rushed in Gifting Me to His Best Friend, which in turn made the romance feel a bit more well-rounded and optimistically forward looking. (Like, I was happy for the couple in Your Dad Will Do, but also some of the stuff that happened and was said made me think maybe family holidays would be uncomfortable in the future?)
In case the blurb for this book isn’t enough, the story is about a m/f married couple who agree to open their marriage to include the husband’s best friend for one thirty-six hour period. Both of the men are bi, and there’s been sexual tension there for years, but the timing never worked out for the men to be together and then Grayson married Emma. So Grayson and Derek remained best friends and let the sexual tension simmer in the background as it always had. BUT ALSO Derek and Emma have a little sexual tension going on that neither has ever acted on. AND ALSO ALSO Emma likes to be very, very bad. So Grayson suggests that he give Emma to Derek for one night and day for Christmas and they can play.
Which, naturally, opens a can of worms.
If you’re in it for the “kinky fuckery” that’s probably all you need to know. It’s sexy AF. Can’t deny it. Book 1 was really kinky in a more D/s way with the taboo involving the father/daughter-in-law relationship (plus some other stuff, but that was the big one). This book is kinky in the “let’s role play getting caught” plus forbidden feelings kind of way. So if the first book wasn’t entirely to your taste, this one might be. Unless your taste is no sex, in which case, move along.
Okay, so here’s what I found really interesting: Robert gets really into the weeds in terms of playing the naughty fantasy. The book is from Emma’s POV, so we don’t get all the same processing from the men, but as every step progresses, we are processing what’s getting Emma (and everyone else) hot and bothered, but we’re also in the unknown with her. Is Grayson telling the truth when he says this excites him too? Will he suddenly see it happening and get jealous? But even with Grayson’s and Derek’s explicit consent, it still feels really naughty, so Emma wants to keep going. Is the role playing actually role playing or is Grayson starting to feel jealous? Is Emma jealous about the obvious sparks flying between Derek and Grayson? How much is true and how much is play?
By itself, this isn’t altogether dissimilar to the way other authors have handled a polyamorous couple introducing a third to become a throuple, but changing a relationship is fraught with perils and I found that the feelings Emma has as she navigates the changing situation were not only speaking to her emotional challenges as she deals with how good but wrong it feels to be so naughty compared to how she understands that she can be bad because everyone is consenting…but what if her trust is misplaced? It’s like a mirror for the reader who might have similar feelings of really liking to read something naughty or taboo but feeling some shame or fear of being revealed while doing so.
I also LOVE how the checking in and ongoing consent are structured in this book. Sometimes this is difficult to navigate because consent is so important that some authors get hung up on that instead of how consent occurs based on characterization and/or situation. (Here’s a very interesting read on writing consent if you’d like to think about this more.) Robert is very clear as to where each of the characters is emotionally and how that is impacting their interactions. It’s fabulous. There’s plenty of room for everything to go south in the game this trio is playing, but Robert sticks to the complexities of navigating the game (like, holy wow the level of trust these people have!) and then the vulnerabilities of acknowledging that there are feelings all around. What would it be like to be in a throuple? Which is a lot, in fact.
Bottom line, this is really good erotic romance. It’s super (SUPER) hot, but it is also clear as day that Robert understands exactly what work each sexual encounter is doing to create the emotional development that gets us to the happy ending for all three protagonists.
Looking for something similar?