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Sex, Pain, and Trust


One of my favorite independent writers of erotica, the worlds created by Astra Rose are consistently rewarding, well-crafted, and hot. Her novellas are well-structured, giving the reader time to get to know her characters as believable people, a "slow burn" that pays off later when the sex scenes inevitably unfold. Even when approaching unusual or taboo subjects, such as the highly charged relationship between a teenage girl and an older father-figure in the four-part Daddy´s Girl series; or exploring the "hucow" fetish in A Splash of Cream at the Alabaster Cafe (to read my review of that book from last October, please go here), Rose always grounds her erotic narratives in a realism which is imaginative, humorous, as well as sexy.

In her latest novella, Dominant, the author invites us into a world of sexual submission and corporate intrigue. Jordan Starck is a smart young woman in her early twenties, long estranged from her biological father, her stepmother, and their exceptional wealth. The book opens with her meeting the devilishly handsome yet mysterious Alexander, a wealthy businessman in his early forties who is negotiating a corporate take-over of the family´s estate. Mutual attraction and mischief unfolds right from the beginning, but Alexander does his best to put on the brakes, not wanting to mix business with pleasure. However, when he hires Jordan as his personal accountant and she begins examining the mysterious account that funds the vast majority of his company, their relationship gets extremely complicated--and highly erotic--very quickly.

As the title suggests, Alexander´s wealth derives from an elite private club for the rich and powerful, where men can explore their dominant sexual fantasies with submissive women at a club which seeks to expand its activities (hence the take over of the family´s estate, which rests on a vast acreage of land). Determined to learn more about this secretive business in her new role as Alexander´s accountant, Jordan accidentally stumbles into this hidden BDSM world, mistakenly believed by other clients as one of the "initiates" who perform whatever sexual service the men desire, some of which border on the violent. Despite Alexander´s warnings, Jordan willingly asks to train to become one of these initiates, changing the course of their personal and professional relationship forever.

Rose takes her time developing the complex relationship between Jordan and Alexander, a dance which includes flirtation, frustration, and confusion. The two grow close to one another over time, and not without each one needing to change, and seek greater understanding of the other. And while the genre of Dominant is BDSM and sexual episodes involving dubious-consent, role play, and sexual arousal from pain, at the heart of this erotic novella are themes of trust. What are we willing to give to our most intimate relationships, to demonstrate our love for another person? What are we willing to sacrifice? How much of ourselves are we willing to share?

Like her other erotic writings, Astra Rose´s Dominant is an enjoyable, arousing, and well-crafted story. Highly recommend.

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