Claim Me (Stark Trilogy 2)
by J. L. Kenner
Published by Headline Pb
Genre: erotica, BDSM
Thanks to edelweiss for the preview
4 / 5
Picking up right where Release Me left off, we return to Nikki Fairchild and Damien Stark, two BDSM-crossed lovebirds who just want to be happy. And have tsunami-causing sexy times.
Nikki, she of the former beauty pageants, and Damien, he of the former tennis championships, each know something about pretending to be what you aren't. Nikki can paint a smile on her face, pirouette, and appear to look happy. Damien can conquer and vanquish and appear to be satisfied. What they see in each other is a kindred soul, someone who has ceded control to others and chafes against it.
Their relationship, begun in Release Me, continues here. You don't need to have read the first one to pick up this one, thanks largely to Kenner's occasional summaries. I do suggest reading the predecessor because of the sex scenes, if for no other reason. Nikki and Damien continue to chart the course of their relationship, each trying to establish autonomy while also relying on the other. They crave independence, but they crave each other more.
The first book hinted at some of Damien's past struggles, and here they are laid to bare, so to speak. He confides everything (or apparently everything) to Nikki, which further cements her affections. Not that all goes smoothly. Of course it doesn't. They get angry with each other, she leaves, they reunite, rinse, repeat. When she heads home, even she knows it isn't permanent. She needs to be apart from him to find her bearings, but just as a compass always points north, so does Nikki's vagina point to Damien.
And it should, because MY GOODNESS, Damien Stark can please a woman. There is some BDSM here, but nothing as extreme as what Christian Grey, Nora Sutherlin, or Gideon Cross enjoy. The headboard rocking with Nikki and Damien is, however, extremely passionate and extremely luscious. You will want a Damien of your own.
There is a third installment, due out later in July. I can't say that Damien and Nikki stick with me the way Gideon Cross or Nora Sutherlin do, but I look forward to continuing to read about them.