Desert Isle Keeper
Eris Adderly’s Bass-Ackwards is the sweetest book you’ll ever read that starts with the hero committing egregious workplace sexual harassment. A standout working-class erotic romance that starts out pushing consent boundaries and gradually works its way backwards to heartwarming, Bass-Ackwards is a kinky, cuddly contradiction that I enjoyed from start to finish – or maybe, in true bass-ackwards fashion, finish to start.
Christina Lee Dodd manages the office at Haul Ash, a truck and equipment rental company in a small town in East Texas. Her boss Bill Miller is a complete jerk, as evidenced by the fact that when she asks for a day off, he says he’ll give it to her – if she bends over the desk and lets him have sex with her. Christina is taken aback, but decides to hell with it and lifts up her skirt.
If Christina is taken aback, Bill is downright stunned. He’s been in love with Christina for the entire two years she’s worked for him, but she’s a kind, helpful person and he knows full well she thinks of him as “Asshole Bill” – and he doesn’t disagree. It never occurred to him that she’d say yes to his offer – but once she does, he’s not going to hold back. What happens is the best sex of his life, and something Christina surprises herself by… not hating? The following day, Bill offers her a pay raise if she’ll give him an hour a week for sex. Again, she surprises both of them by saying yes.
This is going to be a completely unacceptable premise for some people, and if that’s you, please move on. But if you think something edgy might work for you as long as it ends up being heartfelt, then stick around.
I’ve struggled to find books I enjoy in erotic romance because I’m not particularly drawn to the ubiquitous tormented, wealthy, emotionally frigid, twenty-seven-year-old billionaire who stars in a very high percentage of recent releases. I love that the author doesn’t rely on what Bill possesses to make him sexy to Christina. The man’s house still has the pink bathroom and shag carpeting installed by the elderly woman he bought it from, for heaven’s sake. Rather, the attraction comes from how Bill makes Christina feel and how he shows himself to be better than we expected (he adopts a stray dog! He names it Daisy!). Both he and Christina learn to speak about the thing that they haven’t confronted in their lives – Bill, his emotions, and Christina, her budding submissive sexuality.
Bass-Ackwards doesn’t just stand out because it has a third person narrator (the ‘I’ voice seems to be the go-to for erotic contemporaries these days), but also because the prose is legitimately great. Christina wears a skirt that is “somewhere south of slut but north of schoolteacher.” Bill decides “nothing bad” should ever happen to Christina, “and that was pretty goddamn hypocritical considering he was likely to be the main bad thing that kept happening to her.” It was a delight to read authentic character-filled voices, both in and out of sex scenes, and ones which remain true to character instead of devolving into florid rhapsodies in the most emotional moments. (Bill’s declaration for Christina involves both the word “fuck” and the phrase “wretched sonuvabitch”).
Bass-Ackwards reminds me a bit of Cara McKenna’s legendary After Hours, in that it features an authentic working-class couple, some psychological d/s (rather than the props-driven kind), and relationships based on actions. It’s unlike anything I’ve found in erotic romance lately, and I’m excited to share a new-to-me author who is hopefully new to many of you as well.
Buy it at: Amazon
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I'm a history geek and educator, and I've lived in five different countries in North America, Asia, and Europe. In addition to the usual subgenres, I'm partial to YA, Sci-fi/Fantasy, and graphic novels. I love to cook.
|Review Date:||October 24, 2022|
|Book Type:||Erotic Romance|
|Review Tags:||dogs | mild d/s | Texas | working class contemp|
I just finished BASS-ACKWARDS and I loved it! In fact, I’ve put it on my list of Favorite Books of 2022 (published in a prior year). Although completely different in style and tone from Cara McKenna’s AFTER HOURS, I think the comparison is apt: the working-class milieu, the heroine who is the main source of support for her family, the older, dominant hero who reveals hidden emotional depths. Thank you, Caroline, for your wonderful review because I never would have known about this excellent erotic romance without it.
This looks really good, thanks for sharing this older book review Caroline!
Picked it up a few of hours ago on your rec and totally loved it!
I read it in one go – hot in the best way, sweet as well, and hurray for real people!!
Thank you for this review, I agree with it all.
Well, that is the nicest thing you can say to a reviewer! Thank you for letting me know, and I’m glad you liked it!!!
This sounds fun!
Isn’t Christina Dodd a romance writer—and a popular one (at least when I read her eons ago) at that? I wonder if the name choice was intentional or a coincidence.
Yes—I wondered about that too. Dodd published a lot of Regencies back in the 1990s. Not sure if she’s still publishing today, but I have to think the name choice is deliberate (perhaps that’s why the character has a middle name, to avoid making the “homage” too obvious). Anyway, heroine’s name aside, I only had to read “Bass-Ackwards reminds me a bit of Cara McKenna’s legendary After Hours…” to know I’m adding this book to my TBR.
I wondered the same thing!
Heyo! For the sake of confirmation, thought I’d pop in and say I actually did *not* know about this author. I’m kind of a late-in-life newcomer to Romance and, after decades of reading mostly fantasy and sci-fi before I got here, I’m woefully out of the loop when it comes to who’s who among authors.
But I do usually pick character names by scrolling lists of top 1000+ baby names for the year my character was born and then similar lists of surnames (in this case for the US) until what feels like the “right” combo lands on me. Since I’m using more common names, I’m not surprised to hear my Christina shares a whole name with someone else. Oops!
I originally had another name for her, but after a quick search to be sure I wasn’t accidentally picking the name of a celebrity or something, I discovered there was some moderately well-known pop singer with the name and I scrapped it. Don’t even remember what it was anymore, heh.
I guess when I searched for Christina Lee Dodd, this author either didn’t come up that high in the results, or if I saw it I decided the first and last names were common enough people would forgive me. I’d like to say I remember exactly how this went down, but I’m lucky to remember why I just went into the kitchen half the time lol.
I almost never respond to reviews (because authors really aren’t supposed to be doing that), but since I’m here answering about a character’s name, I’m going to thank Caroline for such a lovely, thoughtful review, anyway. I, too, am pretty over all the billionaires, and I wouldn’t know how to write those people authentically anyway. I feel more at home reading about average folks who talk the way I do and (aside from their nutty romantic life) have average-people problems. Hearing her thoughts on all this absolutely started my day on a fantastic, encouraging note. I’m so happy she had a good time with this book!
Thank you for dropping by. Author comments like this are the best!!!
I love that the name is a sort of happy coincidence! I understand why authors typically don’t respond to reviews, so my thanks for checking in on this particular question.
@Eris Adderly: Thank you for explaining your naming process and how googling Christina Lee Dodd’s full name didn’t show anything for the writer. I stand corrected about the name being an homage to Christina Dodd, lol. Speaking of googling character names, a few years ago, a writer published a Scottish historical romance with a hero named David Cameron! The writer (and apparently all the other people involved in the production of the book) had never heard of him and didn’t know David Cameron was a famous name.
I grabbed BASS ACKWARDS yesterday after reading this review (it’s on Kindle Unlimited for those with a KU membership). I started it this morning, and I can already tell it’s going to be the type of book I want to be reading all day long. Alas, until this afternoon, I’ll just have to grab a page here and there between work!
David Cameron is the hero of Summer is for Lovers by Jennifer McQuiston!
A few years ago, I picked up a book I’d been eagerly anticipating and saw that the hero had the exact name, first and last, of one of my daughter’s ex-boyfriends. I knew there was no way I could read the book with THAT visual in my head! Lol
Funny! But it made me think that maybe one the reason so many contemporary authors are using really odd (imo) names and/or spellings lately is to avoid these associations, either of famous people, or of commonly used names. I just assumed the authors were bored with regular names.
Yep. As he was the UK prime minister at the time I read that book, it made it a bit difficult! (But seriously? The author, an educated intelligent woman, and nobody on the editorial team knew that?)