Title: The Dare
Author: Harley LaRoux
Publication Date: October 19, 2019
Age Range: Adult
Genre(s): Erotica, Dark Erotica, BDSM
Source: Kindle (free on Kindle Unlimited)
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Jessica Martin is not a nice girl. Hot, popular, and a former cheerleader, she looks down her nose at everyone – especially Manson Reed, the “freak” she used to bully. When Jessica and Manson end up at the same Halloween party, Manson challenges her to a game of Drink or Dare, and Jessica can’t pass up a challenge. As the dares get increasingly sexual and degrading, Jessica is horrified to find herself enjoying Manson’s orders a little too much. When cocky Jessica loses the game, she becomes Manson’s slave for the night, and what ensues is a dark game of pleasure and pain, intense fetishes, hard punishments, and Jessica’s realization that she can’t get enough of Manson’s dark cruelty.
This dark erotic novella is written in First Person POV and is about 30k words in length.
WARNING! This book contains intense fantasy scenes of hard kinks/edgeplay, graphic sex, and harsh language. It is intended only for an adult audience.
These are the kinks within: heavy erotic humiliation, heavy fearplay, heavy painplay, knifeplay, CNC play (with consent shown), boot worship, spanking, crying, blowjobs, clowns, spit, bondage, light public play, light bloodplay.
(List of TW/CW provided by the author)
First and foremost, this is a review of a smutty novella. If that’s not something you’re in to, then this is not the review of mine you want to check out. Second, this is a kinky novella and has some intense kinks within, again if that’s not your jam, I highly recommend skipping this review. For those of you who are still with me, buckle up, this review is gonna be a wild ride.
So, this book wasn’t on my radar until Chelsea talked about it during her smutathon TBR and y’all this seemed right up my ally. I bought this book immediately and sat on it for a couple weeks as I wasn’t sure what kind of reading mood I was in. I ended up picking this one up on a whim since I wasn’t enjoying Gideon the Ninth as much I was expecting and didn’t want to risk a reading slump. What I wasn’t expecting was enjoying this one nearly as much as I did.
This book follows former popular high school cheerleader Jessica as she reconnects with a one-time fling, Manson, and ends up losing a bet and agrees to be his slave for the night. Jess finds herself enjoying being Manson’s slave a little too much and ends up having a wild night exploring various kinks.
I really liked Jess’s friend Ashley. At first, she’s super confused as to why Jessica is upholding her end of the bargain (something Jess is reminded several times she can get out of if she wants), but Jess lets Ashley know that she is willingly going along with it. Ashley doesn’t fully understand why but tells Jess to have fun and find her when the night is over. Ashley never shames Jess or makes her feel guilty, and despite not fully knowing what Jess ends up doing, she is clearly supportive of her friend.
Manson does a great job of establishing boundaries with Jess and reminding her of the safeword. There is also on-page aftercare midway through the book after an intense spanking scene and Manson is shown to constantly be checking in with Jess throughout the book. There is a bit of “if you use the safeword, we’re completely done for the night,” however it isn’t presented as a threat, it’s presented as a reminder. Jess is enjoying the night exploring these various kinks, and at times mentioned that she doesn’t want to invoke the safeword as she wants to continue the night, though Jess is never presented as feeling trapped in the activities. She is shown to be a willing participant throughout the entire night and as the slave/master relationship starts, Manson limits her alcohol consumption to ensure that she is completely willing.
Boundaries are set in this book by Manson presenting Jess with new kinks and allowing her to decide if she wants to explore them or not. Although there are no hard and soft limits set at the beginning of the night’s scene, Manson does continually check-in to make sure Jess is okay.
Although this book takes place over a few hours, you actually really feel Jess and Manson’s relationship. There’s clear history between the two and that pent up sexual tension allows for the night to have a lot of steamy moments. I know this is a standalone, but I would definitely read more about these two or side characters in this book.
I flew through this book so quickly and enjoyed every second of it. This book was sexy, dark, and perfect for fans of the slave/master or public humiliation kink. This is also a great book for those who want to explore a darker kink, especially since the writing is really well done. I went into this one hoping for a quick, sexy story to read to offset a reading slump but instead got a contender for a favorite book of the year. I think that tells you all a bit more about me than you signed up for lol.
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