My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for an honest review at Seductive Musings.
Serial novels have been a popular trend in romance for a while now, and frankly, it’s one I’ve grown tired of. These days I’m limiting myself to serials written by my favorite authors, and with no more than five parts. NAUGHTY BITS qualifies on both counts, although I’ll admit I would probably waive the five part rule for Joey W. Hill. She’s one of my all-time favorite writers of contemporary BDSM erotic romance, and this first installment, THE LINGERIE SHOP, has already assured me that her talent for plot and character development will lend itself well to this new format.
As you might expect, most of THE LINGERIE SHOP is setting up the premise for why our heroine finds herself running her late sister’s sex boutique in Charlotte instead of being back in Boston at her boring but safe finance job. Madison and her sister Alice had exceptionally close until the day Alice pushed too hard about Madison’s sex life (or lack of one) and Madison responded by moving away and avoiding all contact. It took Alice’s terminal illness and subsequent death to force Madison back to Charlotte and the shop she’d always mocked. Now all Madison has is the store, her memories and her regrets. But Alice’s bequest extends beyond the building and its contents. She’s also made sure that Madison will finally find sexual submission with a man who can make it all happen. It’s now up to Madison to decide if she’s ready to finally accept the gift her sister always wanted her to have.
The man that Alice has found for Madison is Logan Scott: hardware store owner, woodworker, and sexual Dominant. Even before Madison knows who Logan is and what he will mean to her, she’s mesmerized by his looks and demeanor. She knows he represents what she’s always both wanted and feared. Logan knows Madison been too afraid to embrace her submissive desires, but that the decision must be hers, and hers alone. All he can do is point her in the right direction and hope that he can earn her trust along the way.
In THE LINGERIE SHOP, we see how Madison had always been threatened by Alice’s embrace of her own sexuality, even though Alice was right about why the men in Madison’s life had never measured up. We also see how Logan had fit into Alice’s life and why he is the perfect man to help Madison embrace her hidden self. By the time we reach the end of this first part of NAUGHTY BITS, we have a good idea of how our heroine got here and what our hero has to do to make her his by the end of the final installment.
What I loved best about THE LINGERIE SHOP was how it neatly avoided the problems that have made me burned out on serial novels in the first place. So many of the serials I’ve read have consisted of a relatively simple plot, doled out in tiny portions that either end on an insane cliffhanger, or at what appears to be a predetermined page length, regardless of where the story is at that point. But THE LINGERIE SHOP has absolutely none of these problems. First of all, it’s well over a hundred pages, qualifying as a novella in its own right. And it ends at a logical stopping point, after Madison has used Logan’s offering of the erotic cards and handcuffs, and sets the stage for THE TRAINING SESSION, Part 2 of NAUGHTY BITS. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Sensuality level: 3.5 (several BDSM-related discussions, brief descriptions of BDSM club activity, heroine’s solo sexual activity and related thoughts/dreams)<