If you like sweetness with your spice, then take a bite of this bakery-set BDSM tale.
Owen is a big, burly baker, the sort of man women picture pinning them down. But actually, Owen wants just the opposite – he enjoys being bossed around in bed. Iris, an HR director, has never seen herself as a Domme before, but hooking up with Owen opens up a new side of her. Not only are they both growing in their sexual lives, but they’re applying that growth to their non-bedroom selves, as Owen starts to give up some control at work, and Iris works up the nerve to apply for an artistic role at her company.
This is simply a nice book about normal people jointly embracing their kinky sides. Typically, BDSM romances have one experienced partner and one newbie, but Tied Score has both characters feeling their way together, the way actual humans might get involved with kink. Owen’s explanation of submission, that he wants to serve and give pleasure, is pleasantly absent of self-loathing or violence. They talk honestly about what interests them, they read and research, experiment, branch out with some toys, and finally meet some like-minded people. The author apparently attended and enjoyed a Geeky Kink convention like the one in her book, which explains both the realism of the depiction and the perceptible fondness for the event.
In terms of characterization, Tied Score reads more like a novella than a full-length novel. Iris, in particular, has some abandonment issues which are not as fleshed out as they could be. Her whole ‘you just want me for the sex’ thing has been done before, and as a consequence, the plot doesn’t have a lot of tension. It’s pleasant to meander through Iris and Owen’s sexual growth, but it’s not urgent. Another weakness is that while we get to see Iris and Owen’s sex lives together, and Owen and Iris’s workplace lives separately, I didn’t get as strong of a feeling about Owen and Iris’s non-sex relationship life.
The workplace settings are strong, with the author pointing out things like the incompatibility of baker’s hours with a sex sub-culture usually active at night. I liked the secondary characters, especially Juan at Owen’s bakery.
I don’t have any statistics to bear this out, but I perceive dominant heroines as less common than dominant heroes in romance. If you’re looking for that, or just a book about two nice people aligning their sexual interests, give this a try.