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The Arrangement: Unchained Vice Kindle Edition
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Nell Harper is a successful lawyer with a career on the fast track when a chance meeting opens her up to a world she only heard about. Vincent Mason reaches out and pulls the young woman out of the way of a speeding car she is too engrossed to notice. There is an immediate and strong attraction. Vincent is a fire fighter with a budding political career. But there is more to Vincent then what meets the eye. Vincent is a Dominant and his taste in sexual partners aren't what Nell thinks she is. But she is curious and the chance to explore sex as a submissive to Vincent's Dominant is too good to resist. Vincent writes up a contract between them and they agree to the arrangement.
Nell will give herself to Vincent as his sexual submissive for six months. Together they will explore the darker and more satisfying sides of their sexual selves. But what Nell is not prepared for are the emotional exploration that they share. To be Vincent's submissive, to give so totally to him, she must learn to trust the man more than she has ever allowed herself to trust anyone. Subjecting herself to the physical pain of their relationship is one thing, but to allow herself to be emotionally vulnerable is something she is woefully prepared to do.
The comes that night, when in the throes of pleasure and pain, she blurts out, "I love you..." and everything changes in an instant.
Nicolette Hugo writes exciting sensual novels of sex and bondage. She doesn't shy away from the lifestyle and writes BDSM with a graceful brutality that will make you wince and then beg for more. Yet the sex, as beautiful as it is written, pales when compared to the characters she creates. I cannot stop singing the praises to this author and the characters she creates. They are not celluloid billionaires and horny secretaries with super jets and super fast cars and the most expensive dining restaurants. They are not ships that pass in the night but they collide with all the power and drama that comes with relationships that can be at times very messy. Hugo wields the sex hammer with deft and grace but she is equally skilled with the emotions of love. The fear. The insecurity. The great leap of faith that is love. Something that is far more frightening and painful that the crack and sting of a whip. Hugo understand that and respects it.
If you were to remove the sex from this novel it would still stand as a true romantic tale between two people who; like all of us often do, sometimes fail to communicate. Fail to trust. Fail to believe, but want so much to do so. The Arrangement is a love story. With a lot of sex.
""Give up control and trust you.' The devil makes it sound so reasonable."
Given that we don't see much in the way of their relationship actually building, it made the story seem very surface level when the characters are more complex than that. I thought they were both interesting, so I think a dual point of view would have helped make this better. Maybe the lack of connection between the characters was intentional by the author given Vincent's edict that things stick strictly to the agreement, but we as the readers like to hear what isn't being said by both characters with internal dialogue.
"When there is no pleasure for me...when he gives pain just for him...that's when I steal my pleasure from him. I have my own darkness."
Now I'm not saying this book was bad. I was just frustrated a lot of the time, because I felt like I was missing key parts I felt were necessary. Like I said, I liked both characters and the bits we get of their intimate times together were incredibly hot. That breath play scene was...intense and I loved it. It made me want to see more complete scenes with them than the fragmented ones we got. Overall, I'd say that this story has real potential. I wanted it to be longer, but I really wanted it to be from both points of view so we understand more about their relationship. The characters were complex, and they have an intensity in the bedroom that I found intriguing. I'm definitely going to give Nicolette another try in the future.
"I like his simple commands, submitting to them is easy, free from the struggle between the desire for his domination and the guilt of wanting it."
Nell Harper's got her life all figured out:
Build a successful law career, find Mr. Right, then have 2.3 kids and a white picket fence. Everything is going to plan until a handsome stranger stops her from stepping in front of a speeding car.
Vincent Mason, rising politician, not only rescues Nell from death but from her safe but predictable life as he introduces her to the darker pleasures of domination and submission (Amazon Blurb)
From the beginning of the novel I had a distinct feeling that it would not be the same as the other erotic novels I’ve had a chance to read in the past. I was glad it wasn’t. Where most would concentrate on how the contract came about, Ms Hugo concentrated on the effect it had in the beginning and towards the end when the players, Nell and Vincent, decided to live 24/7 together for the last month. It was fast, since readers didn’t get a chance to get used to the flow of the story, which shows us how Nell probably felt since it was mentioned a few times she felt overwhelmed by all the feelings, it was extremely sexual in the sense that I was able to feel the tension as though they were both in front of me rather than me just reading it happening and especially, I enjoyed the fact that even though they were comfortable with their roles, they were capable of giving escape routes should they need it. This was the type of writing where i opened the book, started reading and next thing I knew, I was halfway through the book and missed half of my day and needed to stretch like a cat since my butt had gone numb (only I am NOT complaining one bit!!).
**Received a copy in exchange for an honest review. Read and reviewed by Kathleen for Alpha Book Club**