Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Fit to be Tied by Kate Willoughby

TITLE: Fit to be Tied
AUTHOR: Kate Willoughby
PUBLISHER: Liquid Silver Books
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 27k)
GENRE: Contemporary BDSM erotic romance
COST: $4.75

In high school, Sadie had one fantastic, incomplete night with the geeky Max, and then turned around on Monday and called him names in front of the whole school. Ten years later, she has the chance to apologize. Time has done wonders for Max, turning him from a nerd into a raging hot intellectual. He’s never been able to forget Sadie, and this seems like the perfect opportunity to finish what they started. But he’s changed in more ways than just filling out his clothes better. The question is, can she handle the masterful man he’s become?

This is one of the authors I can usually count on for frothy, funny contemporary erotic romances, and while this started out like that, it didn’t quite end up that way.

Sadie is a free spirit, rarely staying in the same place for very long, intent on visiting and experiencing all fifty states. Her latest job puts her right in the path of one of her biggest regrets. In high school, she spent one great night making out with Max Brody only to be interrupted before they could go all the way. On Monday, with her snotty friends watching, she disparaged Max in front of the whole school, and the potential of that one night was never realized. Now, she apologizes and discovers that he’s an expert in the very field her next job is about – tarantulas. He agrees to come check out the tarantula she has, and when the friend she’s staying with gets unexpected company, offers to let Sadie stay with him. Their attraction explodes, and one night turns into more. The sex is great, but Max has secrets he’s not sharing, secrets that are starting to drive Sadie crazy.

The story starts like many of the author’s better works. The characters are quirky and fun, delightfully different from the standard erotic romance protagonists. Max is an obsessive intellectual with control issues, while Sadie’s free-spiritedness borders on flakiness. The more I learned about Max, however, the harder it got for me to have fun with his differences. His independent wealth and various achievements start to make him too good to be true, and while I think I understand why his characterization went in that direction, I was a little disappointed he didn’t stay as more of an everyday, quirky Joe.

Sadie’s characterization suffers as well, though primarily because of events that occur in the last couple chapters. Gradually, she learns of Max’s interest in BDSM, specifically rope play, and she seems okay with it at first. Even when a previous traumatic event puts a hamper on their explorations, I was okay with it. What I wasn’t okay with how that traumatic event got resolved. It’s too easy for what was involved, frankly, even if this is meant to be lighter erotic romance fare. The seriousness of those sequences, actually, is very different tonally to the frothiness of the beginning, and it never meshed well for me. The greatest bulk of that rests with how lightly it’s handled. This could just be a sore spot for me, since the rest of the BDSM is handled tastefully and intelligently. But I just find it very hard to believe such a traumatic event – even for a strong, free spirit like Sadie – could be taken care of so easily.

This one’s probably middle of the road for me for this author. It has elements of what I adore in her writing, but I just can’t get over the resolution of Sadie’s problems enough to merit this higher.


8/10 – Mild headhopping and the sense of being two stories merged into one held this back


7/10 – I liked his quirkiness but it bordered on too much for me


6/10 – An interesting blend of flakiness and likeability, but I wasn’t so sure about how quickly things turned around for her in the end

Entertainment value

6/10 – I was enjoying this as some pleasant escapism until the end that didn’t seem believable

World building

8/10 – Highly credible on a lot of levels, at least until the end




Kate Willoughby said...

Book U, I'm so glad you're back. Thanks for the honest criticism. As always, I appreciate it. I can't wait for you to pick up a copy of Once Upon a Kiss so I can see what you think of that one. It literally picks up right where A Wolf At Her Door left off.

Book Utopia Mom said...

I have it already. It's just been sitting on my TBR pile. I'll probably end up saving it for one of those times I'm frustrated by a string of bad books. I usually turn to an author I love then to pull me out of it. :)