Title: The Agreement
Author: S.E. Lund
Genre: Dark Erotic
Is This Part of a Series?: Yes (Volume 1 of The Unrestrained series)
*I purchased an on-sale copy of this book for review purposes
Kate is a journalism graduate student showing a lot of promise. She is also a good girl, always trying to live up to the right image for the sake of her powerful father: “The Hangin’ Judge” of New York’s State Supreme Court and a congressional hopeful. Drake is the son of her father’s best friend–and also a talented neurosurgeon, well-known philanthropist, and talented bass player. But it isn’t until Kate decides to do an article on BDSM in popular culture and Kate is introduced to a dominant, Master D–who turns out to be Drake–that their lives really intersect. Can the agreement she draws up–and her insistence that this is all just for research–keep their relationship in the “strictly professional” zone? Or will curiosity and mutual attraction win out?
This book is an enjoyable read and is a full book in its own right. The characters were enjoyable, their actions believable, and the sex scenes were sexy. I managed to get swept away by the book (loosing track of time when I should have been sleeping) and have no doubts that it was a fun use of my time.
The Nitty Gritty:
One of the reasons I started reading this book is because I was looking for an easy way to fill a couple hours and most erotic fiction novels tend to be on the short side, so I figured that I could fly through the pages and be ready to write another review. This book, however, was not one of those short reads. It had a steady page and kept me moving through the story, but it took about four times longer to read than the typical erotic fiction. And I have to say, I really liked that. It was refreshing to have an author take the time to fully flesh out the characters, the relationship between them, and the conflict. It was also nice that although the sex happened much quicker than a romance novel (and there was more of it), S.E. Lund took the time to deal with realistic doubts and hesitancy. More importantly, although this is a dark erotic novel, focusing on the “BD” part of BDSM, Kate–who is new to the lifestyle–goes through a full range of emotions surrounding the idea that she is attracted to the lifestyle. And Drake–her Dominant and instructor–does not go from 0 to 60 in 2 seconds. Instead, he works her into things gently, going slower than even Kate would like, most of the time. In short, it feels realistic and mutually pleasurable. This is truly consensual and for the benefit and pleasure of both people involved.
The one negative to this, however, is that the slow and easy introduction to the lifestyle also leads to somewhat repetitive sex scenes. Although this sort of tickled at the frustration center in my brain, it never totally pushed me out of enjoying the book. The characters and plot–the story–is important enough and well-written enough to keep me interested. They have good moments and bad moments, struggles and triumphs, and deal with a full range of emotions. In short, the characters seem to have real lives. If you read “those books” (as Kate mentions more than once in The Agreement) and wished that there had been more to them–not more of them, but more to them–than this book could very well fill that desire. The writing is good, the sex is good, and the arc of both characters and plots is detailed and believable.
Goodreads Rating: 3.94 (4,440 Ratings)
Amazon Rating: 4.3 Stars (460 Reviews)
My Rating: 5 Stars
I would like to add one little P.S. to my review here: while I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I was a bit surprised to find that there was a sequel. This book felt very complete and satisfying as it was. While I am happy to have the opportunity to spend more time with Kate and Drake, I am unsure where it could be going and am rather hesitant about the idea. Second books tend to be less satisfying than first books anyway, but when it feels unnecessary, it seems to me that it will have to work that much harder to make it a worthy read. I hope S.E. Lund is up to the challenge.