Friday, February 12, 2010

Board Resolution by Joey W. Hill

TITLE: Board Resolution
AUTHOR: Joey W. Hill
PUBLISHER: Ellora’s Cave
LENGTH: Novel (roughly 45k)
GENRE: Contemporary BDSM erotic romance
COST: $5.95

Savannah Tennyson is her father’s daughter. Bred to be his replacement, her entire life has been about the business, all the way to the rules she has posted on her wall. Business partner Matt Kensington is her intellectual and business equal, and if she has the occasional less than professional thought about him, she just squirrels it away to savor when she is all alone. Because she is alone. More often than she would like. And now Matt, with the help of his four-man team of associates, is determined to show her she never has to be alone again…

With the exception of one, maybe two, stories, I absolutely adore Joey W. Hill. Her writing is dense and evocative, and the eroticism of her prose unparalleled. She’s one of the few authors that I’ll read paranormal water creatures by, and when friends ask for D/s suggestions, I always recommend her. Ellora’s Cave recently released this short novel on its own as an ebook, after having been part of an anthology several years ago, so I’m only now discovering it. While some people will certainly have some issues with it, it worked so completely for me as erotic fantasy that I was shocked to see just how long it really was.

At thirty-five, Savannah has a plethora of not so flattering nicknames, including but not limited to, Savannah Cyborg. She has no personal life and lives for the business, the vast majority of her contact being with Matt and his “child prodigies” in the board room. As she’s gotten older, though, she’s increasingly aware of her isolation, and the armor she wears to protect herself grows thicker and thicker. At the story’s start, she is on her way to a meeting with Matt, scheduled for Friday evening, a tactic she is sure he is using because he knows it’s the one time she is most vulnerable. What she doesn’t expect is for his words to almost immediately take a sexual tone, blunt and erotic, but when she announces she’s leaving, he orders her to sit. This starts the back and forth game they have always played, a game that has always resulted in an inevitable draw. The difference is, this time, Matt intends to win, and Savannah is mostly trapped until that happens.

This is the first line readers might not be able to cross if they aren’t immersed already in the erotic fantasy of it all. This entire exchange has tones of noncon, though it’s done entirely in Savannah’s POV and she makes it clear from the start that she views this as an extension of their negotiations in the board room. She is determined not to let him win, which means temporarily acceding to his commands. In doing so, she finds herself strung up on a sling-type apparatus, blindfolded, gagged, and then put on display as Matt’s four-man team enters the room. What follows is Matt’s seduction, using the men who have come to claim Savannah as one of their own as his tools. While it’s a ménage in the technical sense (without physical contact between the men), the focus is all on Savannah and getting her off, and the men are just living, breathing means of making that happen. The entire night has been scripted before she ever arrived, playing out at Matt’s command, and if you’ve bought into the fantasy of it by this point – which I had – it’s a highly charged, whirlwind of an erotic adventure.

The characterizations of the two leads might not be as fully fleshed as they could have been – for instance, Matt takes a back seat for a large chunk of the story as the four men service Savannah; each of which, incidentally, felt as realized as either of the two leads – but that’s a minor complaint in the grand scheme of things. Few people write BDSM like Hill does. Even fewer make me accept such an outrageous erotic fantasy so easily. Yet, she’s done it here, and I know she’ll likely do it again. Because another of her stories has just been released this week, in the anthology Laced with Desire, and features one of the four prodigies, the third in this particular series as it turns out. I’ve had the second on my print TBR pile for ages, but now, knowing it’s connected to this one – albeit loosely – I’ll be pushing it closer to the top.


8/10 – Some of the mechanics of the equipment slowed me down trying to get a visual on it, but otherwise, I was shocked at how fast it read


7/10 – With so many other men in the room, he often took a back seat, but I liked what I got


7/10 – I had a few problems with her experience vs her reactions, but I appreciated the attempts to make her so strong

Entertainment value

9/10 – Accept the fantasy of it, and it’s erotic bliss

World building

8/10 – My notions of their relationships at the start of the book were different than what was offered in the middle, but the crisp detail of the business world – even in their dialogue – crackled



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