I guess I should start this off by saying that I didn’t really know what I was getting into when I started this book. I got an email from Netgalley with a list of new romance titles, and I requested a bunch of them without reading the summaries. (That was my first mistake.) I saw that this was a slightly different type of romance than I usually read, but I went with it, thinking it would be a good introduction to the genre. Of course, the fact that it has almost a 5 star average rating helped. I’m sorry to say that I just didn’t get this one. I don’t understand why everyone liked it. I didn’t think it was sexy – I actually found Kyler to be very creepy, and while I liked Ella at the beginning, I was very disappointed in the way her character devolved from a strong, single woman to a woman totally dependent on, and totally willing to change, for a man she barely knows.
In Desired, Ella has just gotten out of a bad marriage. Her soon-to-be ex-husband was a violent alcoholic, and she moved from Savannah, Georgia to Las Vegas to start over. She hears a challenge on the radio to live like you only have a few months left, and decides that she wants to spend more time saying yes and less time saying no. She wants to try new things she never would have done before, and then she meets Kyler. Kyler is a police officer who’s very much into BDSM. As Ella and Kyler get to know each other, the pull to bring her into his world – where he’s a Master at Club Sin – gets stronger and stronger. But how can he bring Ella into his world of BDSM knowing that she’s had an abusive past?
The thing that really bothered me throughout this entire book is that everybody thinks they know better than Ella. She says she doesn’t want to talk about her past, that she wants to keep it in the past. But no, everybody is going to badger her about it until she breaks down and starts crying – but this is good, because it means she’s showing vulnerability. Ella says that she’s ready to join Kyler at Club Sin, but he says she’s not ready, because clearly, after a few weeks, he knows her better than she knows herself? Ella started the book by empowering herself to leave a bad situation and take her life back into her own hands, and she finishes the book letting other people call the shots. An example:
“I don’t want to talk about it,” she growled, angry tears filling her eyes. How many times did she possibly have to say that? “I don’t need to talk about it. I dealt with it, okay? For months I dealt with what it did to me. I have recovered from that. I don’t want to go back to that time in my life.”
Kyler didn’t move. Was he even breathing?
He finally said, “You must, Ella. It’s that simple.”
She wiped her tears, cursing those damn things trailing down her cheeks, and said through clenched teeth, “I don’t understand why you need to hear about what happened in the past.”
(This goes on and on and on and on ad nauseam.)
The second thing – and I have to preface this by saying that I read an uncorrected proof, so this may be corrected in the final version – is that Kyler’s voice is so stilted and awkward. One example – “I know that you’re a person who craves to be happy.” What’s wrong with “I know that you crave happiness”? Less words, not awkward. Also, his little pet names for Ella – especially “little one” – made my skin crawl. If any guy called me “little one” as he was trying to seduce me, I would probably vomit and then run away. Pet names like that are the polar opposite of sexy to me.
Finally, the narration constantly reminds the reader that Kyler is a Dom. Like, every other page. At least. “You’re asking Kyler to do the unthinkable when it comes to Dom behavior.” “He wouldn’t be a good Dom if he didn’t pay attention to the sadness in Ella’s soul.” “His eyes blazed with his dominance as he gripped her arms tight against her back.” I just searched my Kindle, and Kyler is referred to a Dom 160 times over 256 pages. This does not include all the mentions of a D/s relationship. I understand that Kyler is a Dom. He’s a Master. Okay. Okay. Okay. It’s pretty hard to forget. I do not need to be reminded every fifteen seconds.
Overall, given the other favorable ratings, I wonder if I just was not the target audience for this book.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the free copy.
Final rating: ★★☆☆☆