Marie Tuhart launches her Wicked Sanctuary erotic romance series with Tempt, a kink relationship-turned-to-love story. This red-hot read offers a captivating portrayal of the sex club scene and the BDSM lifestyle. However, the author is only vaguely successful in creating a genuine romance between the main characters. With a sex-to-love ratio of 3:1, I regard Tempt as a work of romantic erotica instead of as an erotic romance. But if you’re an EroRom reader who digs a barely-there courtship that is heavy on ‘nipplegasms’ (not that I’m necessarily complaining), then please read on.
Sierra Blake really hates being scared. So when her boyfriend takes her on a horror-themed camping trip, she breaks up with him and walks off into the rainy night without her phone. Desperate to contact a ride home, Sierra unknowingly rings the doorbell of Wicked Sanctuary, a private BDSM sex club (emphasis on the ‘BD’ – bondage and dominance). She is greeted by shirtless ‘n’ seductive proprietor Max Preston, who ushers her inside as a bacchanalia set to techo music rages on in a back room. The sizzling chemistry between the bossy hunk and the distressed woman is palpable.
An overprotective Dominant to his core, Max comes to Sierra’s rescue and subsequently pursues her in hopes of making the voluptuous beauty his submissive. Driven by a desire to satisfy her ‘kinkosity,’ Sierra agrees to practice BDSM under Max’s tutelage. As the kinky couple embarks on their Dom/sub journey and takes occasional detours through ‘crazytown’ melodramas, they develop feelings for each other that go beyond carnal pleasure.
Wicked Sanctuary is absolutely fascinating, with its sexually liberated members, luxury amenities, and organized infrastructure that includes sex code wristbands (which is a real thing #thanksgoogle), ‘playtime’ rules of conduct, and BDSM education classes. Tuhart vividly brings Wicked Sanctuary and its reverent community to life, and establishes the club as a safe-haven where those with diverse proclivities can find release from the confines of everyday life.
Horny-for-each-other protagonists Sierra and Max are interesting characters with enough traumatic backstory to engage readers’ sympathies. Tuhart cleverly writes Sierra as an ‘everywoman’ erotic romance fan who finds kink culture and the pleasure it promises to be wonderfully intriguing, making it fairly easy to settle into Sierra’s point of view. Her rational caution and adventurous spirit are admirable. While I did feel a kinship to Sierra, it took time to warm up to Max. At first, he performs the same old overprotective alpha song and dance, which is predictably off-putting. But after Sierra criticizes Max’s caveman behavior, he softens his Christian Grey tendencies and reveals a gentler, more understanding side throughout the rest of the novel.
Tuhart clearly has a talent for writing titillating descriptions. She carefully crafts steamy sex play that can be enjoyed by both veteran and newbie EroRom readers. I was especially impressed by how details of Sierra’s sexual exploration with nipple play are both edifying and exciting.
Even though the sex is ample, romantic gestures are scant. Sierra and Max lay claim to each other’s hearts, but a substantive love is neither established, nor felt on the page. The two undoubtedly share a bond of trust and acceptance, but it is based on their mutual physical attraction and their shared sensual appetites. To be honest, I’m not entirely certain that Sierra and Max’s relationship could survive a global shortage of nipple clamps or a bout of erectile dysfunction.
All things considered, I giddily devoured each chapter of Marie Tuhart’s Tempt. The novel is a letter to readers who fantasize about experiencing the gratification of a BDSM/kink lifestyle. Thank you, Marie. I appreciate you.
Keep Wicked Sanctuary on your radars, readers. With nine books expected to publish in the series, you will want to get in on the action. (cue music: bow chicka bow bow).