The story opens with a terrified young woman arranging to flee from an abusive control freak and then gently veers into kinky sex, including bondage. Without lingering on the questions of what's unacceptable in one and mutually agreeable in the other, the novel does navigate through the dichotomy between rational desires and emotional needs, and along the way brushes up against some thorny issues in the rough sex scene. There's always physical danger, for one, including a dom's slipping over into cruelty. How far can a D be trusted, for another, or even worshiped? (We've seen serious abuses in extreme sports, where young Olympics hopefuls will do anything their coach demands – it's on the same spectrum, don't you think?) Smith doesn't dwell on these, but they're in the air. She has the goods to take this deeper, but doesn't, alas. Still, let's not overlook the hopeful, flowery romance along the way.
(reviewed 10 days after purchase)