Lora Leigh is a very prolific erotic romance writer and a highly successful one. Her Breeds books are popular paranormals, some of her better work in my opinion, and her Bound Hearts are popular ménage books, some with a D/s element. The Nauti series is more erotic mainstream, if there is such a thing. Her SEALS books are just ludicrous and have so many technical errors it’s annoying. Only Pleasure is actually part of the Bound Hearts series and follows the story of Chase Falladay, the twin brother and third in the Cameron Falladay story told in Wicked Pleasure. All of these books revolve around the men of the Trojans Club, a very private club for men who enjoy sharing their women, even their wives. Chase and Cameron Falladay provide security for the club in addition to being members themselves. Chase Falladay was one “hero” I despised in the first few pages and Kia Stanton – for a supposedly smart business woman – became an illogical annoying simp who makes bizarre, irrational decisions regarding how her ex-husband, an employee of her father’s company, is handled.
Kia Stanton’s husband Drew attempts to get her drunk and force her into a ménage with another man from the Trojan’s Club. She gets away, gets help and files for divorce. She was apparently unaware of his sexual preferences prior to marriage, so the whole ménage thing was a shock. Drew threatens her with the power of the men who are part of the Trojans Club if she tries using the incident as grounds for divorce. In the argument, he hits her. Kia, in distress over all that’s happened, tells a friend about the Trojans Club. The friend promptly starts spreading the rumor. (Well, duh! This is Washington DC, what else would happen?) But the Trojans protect themselves with their money and positions of power. They threaten the family business run by Kia’s father. Dad, one of the few real men in this book, is willing to lose it all if his daughter wants to fight her swine of her soon to be ex. With all this on her mind, Kia answers her door to find the Trojans very own enforcer – Chase Fallady – is making a house call.
Chase, supposedly the secret object of her fantasy desire, has been sent to ‘persuade’ – read coerce – Kia to humiliate herself even further by telling her friends she fabricated the story of the Trojans to hurt her husband. Now stop and think about this for a moment – a woman is victimized by a member of the Trojans Club with attempted rape with another member, then her husband hits her during an argument, thereby committing another felony, and his buddies extort/blackmail her by threatening her father and family with financial and social ruin unless she degrades herself even MORE by telling her friend she lied!!!!!!!!!! (I actually went back and re-read the opening twice and each time I came away with the same feelings of anger and disgust.)
Now the best part, the one that made me want to give Lora Leigh a good, swift kick in the butt – you know what Chase promises her? The ‘Club’ will punish Drew – he might even be thrown out and lose his ‘substantial’ deposit!!!!!! (Impressive, huh?) And in compensation for humiliating herself by saying she lied about the Trojans she be well compensated in her divorce. Man, compared with hard time in jail, that’s really dire, huh? You know what would have been fitting punishment? How about castration? As he departs, Chase keeps assuring her that men share their women ‘only for pleasure’. My gag reflex was getting a real workout trying to swallow this line of crap.
Now, before all the Lora Leigh fans out there flame me, and she has a large and loyal following, just let me say I have no problem with ménage stories. Lora Leigh writes some hot ones that I enjoyed, including others in the Bound Hearts series. That said, I do have a very real problem with any author that sees this kind of behavior as anything but utterly repugnant and repellent. How the Trojans handled this was inexcusable – actually, it was criminal. You do NOT compound crimes by committing MORE crimes against an innocent party! And make no mistake, these are felonies punishable by serious prison time. In my book this behavior is contemptible, not to mention aiding and abetting criminal acts! Ms. Leigh compounds her insult to sexual assault victims out there and marginalizes the trauma they suffer by suggesting MONEY is an acceptable substitute for justice. In this day and age she should know better.
Fast forward 2 years to a formal function in DC. It’s snowing. Kia does her social duty, but is still suffering from what happened 2 years earlier, socially and emotionally. The wives of the Torjans will no longer have anything to do with Kia socially because she is a “threat”, so is has lost many she called ‘friends’. Her ex-husband is chasing her too. She leaves early and heads to a nearby bar where she’s well known. Chase follows and they have a drink. Now comes the next part I can’t believe – Kia gets in a limo with Chase and Khalid and proceeds to engage in her very first ménage in the back of the limo – for pleasure, only pleasure. HUH? A woman who was a virgin when she married, was sexually assaulted, physically assaulted, blackmailed/extorted into demeaning herself in society by being forced to say she lied, has zero intimate contact since her divorce gets in a limo and has a three-way with guys she barely knows, never dated and have so far only added to her suffering. (That loud noise you just heard was my credulity snapping in half.)
The story progress thru the usual sex scenes as Kia is drawn into Chase’s world. Suddenly, those member’s wives who have shunned her for two years are her friends. Man, I wouldn’t touch those bitches with a barge pole after the way behaved. Kia is so hungry for friends she’s suddenly shopping with them. (eyeroll) Then, in the midst of all this shallow bonhomie, Kia’s life is being threatened. Now, because Kia is now ‘one of them’, she gets protected by the very people who made her life a living hell. (I so wanted to bitch slap someone at this point.) Let’s just say that the denouement was better than Ms. Leigh’s usual, but mystery fans will be unsurprised.
In the final bit of twisted angst, Khalid, the ‘third’ for Kia and Chase, is revealed to be the man that was with Kia’s husband Drew the night of the assault and actually fought to keep Drew from harming Kia so she could escape and get help. I’ll leave you to guess what Kia and Chase do to prove to Khalid all is forgiven. I guess a Hallmark card wouldn’t be enough.
Much of this book actually had a decent story. Unfortunately, the whole thing is tainted by abhorrent actions of the Trojans in the opening chapters. Even now, I remain incensed with Ms Leigh for trivializing such a serious matter.
My Rating: F- (And I will admit I am in a distinct minority according to the reviews on Amazon where this book get 4.5 Stars.)
Who would enjoy this book: Lora Leigh fans who sensibilities are not offended by having sexual assault victims blackmailed by so-called ‘heroes’. The book is rated XXX for sexual content.