My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A copy of this book was provided by the author for an honest review at The Romance Evangelist.
I think I’ve mentioned this in previous reviews, but it bears repeating here: It takes a special talent to write a good romance novella. You’ve got about 100 pages or so to make your reader believe that these characters not only have a genuine attraction that makes them want to be together, but that they will stay together – if not forever, than at least past the end of the story. After all, pretty much anybody can write multiple chapters of insta-lust sex scenes, then slap a happy ending on it and call it a day. It doesn’t mean that what they’ve written will be believable, or even readable. So when I read a romance novella that does everything well and makes me want more without feeling deprived, I want to tell everybody.
WICKED WEEKEND by Gillian Archer is one of those romance novellas. It tells the story of how the woman who just lost her office crush to her sister finds a much better man and perhaps even a chance at true love. Lauren is one of those people who always end up doing what other people expect, especially when it’s for someone in her family. That’s how she ended up in the same ski resort bar as Jamie, a man who would never let anyone push him around that way. Lauren’s love life is practically non-existent, but she’s read about other more fascinating sexual lifestyles, so when she sees a black handkerchief sticking out of Jamie’s back left pocket, she knows he’s a Dom looking for a sub. But it takes Jamie’s mutual attraction for Lauren to convince her to not only go up to his room for the night, but also give herself over for what proves to be a pivotal weekend for them both.
I’ve read quite a lot of BDSM-themed erotic romances, but the handkerchief code was a new one on me. (It does exist, mind you, and some quick online searching was especially enlightening.) I enjoyed this more believable way for Lauren to recognize that Jamie was just the sort of man she had always wanted to help her explore her as-yet-unrealized fantasies of being a sexual submissive, if only for just one night. I’ve read too many books where the Dominant simply “senses” that the other person is submissive just by looking at them for 5 minutes, and while I’m not saying that could never happen, the handkerchief code seemed more plausible for me, especially in this shorter format.
Jamie and Lauren have a great personal rapport when they first meet, but that doesn’t mean their initial sexual encounters go off without a hitch. Again, this made the progression of the romance so much more believable, and seeing the way they both dealt with their differences then, and later as the story developed, was the best part of the story for me. By the time we got to their final conflict, it was obvious that they would be able to take their relationship to the next level, and embrace their need to be together both in and out of the bedroom. All this made WICKED WEEKEND a wonderful example of a romance novella with the Happy For Now ending, one where we can imagine what happens next without the need for a marriage proposal or baby epilogue. I loved every minute I spent reading it.