Title: The Delicious Torment
Author: Alison Tyler
Series: A Story of Submission #2
Publisher: Cleis Press
Format: ebook and print
Release Date: January 14, 2014
A copy of this book was provided by the author for an honest review.
The second in a series of novels by bondage connoisseur Alison Tyler features heroine Samantha progressing with her predilections and exploring the deepest recesses of her master’s dungeon and her heart. The Delicious Torment is a Story of O meets 9 1/2 Weeks coming-of-age tale fueled by lust, longing, and based on the author’s personal diaries. The Delicious Torment takes readers to Sunset Strip, way up in the sky in a penthouse apartment overlooking Los Angeles with a love affair ensconced in an S&M relationship filled with corsets, crops, and plenty of kink. In the introduction Tyler notes, “This is a novel with me at the center. That is, my heroine is based on me. I’ve sketched her with broad strokes, but at our core we are the same. She’s gotten herself entwined with an older man — nothing new there. But now she has to learn how to maneuver a 24/7 relationship.”
Before I tell you how much I enjoyed reading The Delicious Torment I need to insist that you must first read Dark Secret Love, the previous book in this series. You could try to read The Delicious Torment as a stand-alone, but your experience would not be half as rewarding.
In Dark Secret Love, Alison Tyler introduced us to Samantha, a fictional character who is more like her than not. We saw Sam grow from a teenager exploring her power over men (and vice versa) to an adult woman discovering her sexual persona through a series of increasingly meaningful relationships. But after the man she nearly married had all but broken her with his withholding behavior and emotional abuse, Samantha was able to begin healing through her submission to Jack, a man more dominant and dangerous than she’d ever known before.
When we return to Sam’s world at the start of The Delicious Torment, she’s moved into Jack’s penthouse apartment and committed herself to him in a 24/7 power exchange. Jack continues to push her limits further out, and she responds to his demands with her complete and unwavering submission. Well, mostly. When it’s Jack who commands her, Sam can’t help but comply. But it’s another matter when Jack uses his assistant Alex as his “designated Dom” during the times when he can’t be there himself. Her brain knows that Alex is only doing what Jack has directed, yet she senses that the two men have a connection far more complicated than what they’ve presented to to the world. As Jack leads her deeper into submission, Samantha wonders if what they have can transcend Master and slave as long as Alex remains in the picture.
As much as I adored Dark Secret Love, The Delicious Torment was an even better read for me. I was so pleased to be back in the thick of Sam’s life as she continued her path of self-discovery as the slave of the first man strong enough to earn her complete submission. Jack is easily one of the most terrifying and desirable Dominants I’ve ever read, and The Delicious Torment ultimately becomes his story as much as it is Samantha’s. If it seems like he’s continuing to test her capacity for submission, it’s because his need for her exceeds hers for him, even if that’s not always what he wants to reveal. And now with his long-time assistant Alex in the mix, Jack is forced to face his deepest secret, leaving us to wonder how it will all work out in the end.
What makes both of these books so compelling is how authentic they feel as the events in Samantha’s life play out. The characters and their actions may be fabricated, but there is a thread of realism that makes me feel like I’m reading Alison Tyler’s secret diary instead of a work of fiction. There’s no fairytale romance here – just fascinating portrayals of people who could be anyone you might meet in real life, if only you could ever be that fortunate.
The Delicious Torment provides the essential next step in Samantha’s journey and is just as riveting as the book which preceded it. I can’t wait to read the next book. 5 stars