Teach Me A Lesson
Haynes newest book introduces us to Charlotte, a high school counselor and sex therapist, and Lance, the high school principal. While the role play – between boss and employee, or principal and student – that the pair engages in most of the time is steamy, overall the book doesn’t make that connection with the reader’s heart. I really loved the last book in this series, The Naughty Corner , but this one just didn’t work for me in the same way.
We first met Charlotte in The Naughty Corner as that heroine’s best friend. Now, encouraged by her friend Lola’s successful BDSM exploits that led to a serious romance, Charlotte becomes interested in trying it for herself. Charlotte runs a practice as a sex therapist and relationship counselor but she also spends days counselling at the local high school. This was the first snag I ran into with this story. Maybe it is become I live in a very conservative state, but I think many parents in my area would have an issue with a sex therapist being their child’s counselor. Realistically, there’s no reason a person couldn’t do both and, as we see in the story, Charlotte is qualified to do both. However, inevitably, the issue does come up of parental disapproval over Charlotte’s dual career.
Although Charlotte is reluctant to get involved with an older man, especially one that acts high handed, she picks the school’s principal as her dom in this BDSM experiment. I think that Lance is actually what really turned me off about this story. Charlotte attempts to set boundaries for their relationship. She doesn’t want to see each other later than midnight, no sleeping over, and if she says “no” he has to stop. Lance constantly attempts to violate these rules with the excuse of wanting more from their relationship. He will storm into her house, tie her up so she can’t make him leave, and ignore her requests to stop. It was too much. I kept thinking that if he really wanted to take their relationship to a deeper place, force wasn’t the way to do it. In the previous book, Lola and Gray had this same issue. The difference was that Gray handled it correctly and Lance fails miserably. Gray would actually ask Lola to dinner, involve her in his life, and overall try to set up situations where they could get to know each other more and develop feelings. Lance basically goes all caveman without any regard for Charlotte’s feelings.
Lance does get better towards the end of the book when he has the sudden realization that he is too controlling with women and that is why he’s already been divorced twice. Sadly, for me, it was too late for him to save my opinion of the character.
I also felt that we didn’t get to know as much about Charlotte and Lance as well-rounded characters. This surprised me because Haynes is usually fantastic at infusing her characters with realistic back stories that help humanize them. I think if you really want an erotic romance to work, you have to have real people involving not just their bodies, but their hearts and minds. Otherwise it’s like reading a cheesy porn script. I usually like Haynes for that reason, but in Teach Me a Lesson she skimmed the surface of the characters; we didn’t get nearly enough depth.
I was happy that we got to revisit the characters Lola and Gray to see how their happy ending is working out. I think The Naughty Corner was a really strong book and I was glad to spend a little more time with the pair as they sorted out their future as a couple.
Hayne’s writing varies in the level of kink included. Some of her books have actually made me blush, which is no easy task, and many are more on the vanilla side. Teach Me a Lesson could be described as bondage light. There’s a fair amount of spanking and some tying up, but nothing too extreme. Probably the most taboo material is just the cuckold fantasies that Charlotte discusses with her patient and Lance. So, although Lance attempted to get into the role of dom, it really wasn’t that extreme. Of course, when I say vanilla, I am not excluding that this is erotica and is graphically sexual. It definitely earns the “burning” sensuality rating and, if that is where your tastes lie, you won’t be disappointed.
Overall, Teach Me a Lesson fell a little short in the emotion and likeability categories, but it might be worth the read if you want to continue the series after reading The Naughty Corner .