Genres: Anthologies (multiple authors)
Judith’s review of Wicked Weekend by Gillian Archer
Why did Lauren Vaughn introduce her sister to the man she herself was crazy about? Now Lauren is watching the happy couple at their combined bachelor/bachelorette party—while Lauren sits all alone at the bar. Until she spots a hot stranger with the telltale black handkerchief in his pocket: the signal for “seeks no-strings affair with sexy submissive.” Lauren can’t take her eyes off him. So when he comes over, she kicks her inner good girl to the curb and follows Jamie Forman to his room, where he makes her scream with pleasure all night long.
But Jamie is a complicated man. He can’t handle how desperately he wants her in his bed—and his life. It’s up to Lauren to teach him how to make all night last forever.
Lauren is a woman who really needs to feel that she is worthy of a man who loves and respects her. But she is also a woman who is slowly acknowledging her deeper and darker desires and because of that has done significant searching and reading about the BDSM lifestyle. Why she introduced her sister to the man she wanted for herself is anyone’s guess. Probably just another indication that Lauren was one of those individuals who wanted to take care of others–a sign of a very caring, giving nature–and in the end, was the one who was left alone. Now her sister and Lauren’s love interest are engaged and getting married soon. The last place Lauren wants to be is at her sister’s bachelorette party–a skiing part, of all things, but it is here that she first spies Jamie, a Dom looking to hook up with a willing, no-strings-attached sub. Why not hook up? Maybe then it won’t be a wasted weekend, or so Lauren reasoned.
And so Lauren and Jamie begin their time together–she, as an adventure of discovery, and he, as having another fun playtime with a woman who will expect nothing beyond their “scene.” I guess the question that is at the heart of this story is: “Who is really at loose ends here? Is it really Lauren? Or perhaps Jamie is more at loose ends than he realizes.” Jamie is a man who has managed to act on his inner urges, is a trained and caring Dom, but he still wants to get in and get out without any emotional connections. Even though Lauren goes into the “fling” aware that it is a one-time thing, she is at least honest enough to realize that a series of these kinds of flings are not what she really needs. Ultimately she wants security and permanence, the kind of loving connection that sustains and heals and fulfills.
This is a novella and as such is a relatively quick read. I liked Jamie and Lauren, I liked knowing that Lauren discovers lots about herself as well as coming to realize that the many marrying her sister is a schmuck. I got the sense that Lauren discovered stuff about her sister that may have dismayed her but also gave her the strength to walk her own path. I didn’t like that fact that the piece was too short to really tease out Lauren and Jamie’s story or to develop the context of the story more fully. I think novellas fill a need we all have to find fiction that can fit into busy schedules. But it has the basis of a very good longer story and I was disappointed that it ended somewhat abruptly. All that being said, I did actually enjoy the story and found it to be a satisfying read–just too short. The piece was well written and I am looking forward to reading more by this author.
I give it a rating of 3.75 out of 5
This book is available from Carina Press. You can buy it here