Doing it at: This is making me feel squicky, but we’ll go with 13%
Catnip: Light College Romance JK LOL, Banned books, Dark Romance, Serbian Mafia Car Salesmen, Serbian Pillowtalk, Just The Tip, Nonconsensual Sex, Choking, Bondage, #TeamAnal, We Like What We Like
Shame Scale: Every bit of shame you could possibly muster
Fantasy Cast: Amy Jo Johnson circa Felicity, plus Ian Somerhalder
It took me years to find the courage to speak to Luka. He seemed exactly like me. Intelligent. Focused. Serious.
But he’s not the man I imagined.
His reality is cruel and dark. He traps me in his web, his power twisting tighter the more I struggle, until it’s hopeless. I can’t break free.
As he drags me unwillingly into his filthy world, I can’t ignore the terrifying idea circling my mind. What if I belong here with him?
Mary: There’s been some buzz about Nikki Sloane’s Sordid for awhile now, after Amazon banned it from their site for “offensive content.” So duh, we had to have it. Tell me I can’t have something and I’ll want it double.
Cleone: Plus we were like, how bad can it be really? We’ve read lots of twisted sex books in our romance rabbit hole.
Mary: We picked it up on Smashwords, but you can still buy it on iBooks and Kobo. And then we decided that it sounded like the perfect book to read during our Autumn camping trip to Shenandoah National Park with all our children and my mom.
Cleone: Nothing says wholesome family fun like buddy reading some BDSM amongst stunning fall foliage, as your children frolic nearby.
M: It’s sort of your typical dark romance/kidnapped heroine/sex slave love story – in the same vein as some of the darker stuff by Nashoda Rose, C.J. Roberts, and Pepper Winters. I think the big distinguishing factor is that while most dark romances have scenes with dubious consent, Sordid has a scene between the hero and heroine that is unequivocally nonconsensual.
C: Trigger warnings in effect guys, because she says no, and he does not stop.
M: And then this is the part where we confess that we enjoyed this book, but we are not too proud of ourselves for it.
C: We have spent time before talking about the slippery issues of consent in romance novels, and about being feminists who still enjoy an alpha hero who takes what he wants. Sordid pushes past those boundaries though. I found a lot of the scenes hot, and I don’t entirely like myself after this revelation.
M: Addison is a shy, mousy, virginal, pre-med student in her senior year of college, when she runs into Luka at a Halloween frat party. Luka was the TA in one of her math classes, and is the star of all of Addison’s secret fantasies. So when he asks her to go upstairs at the party, she’s like, YOLO.
C: Well first he catches her counting cards and makes her take two many tequila shots THEN they go upstairs.
M: They start making out, and it’s hot, ok? Addison and I are both on board this train. But then Luka starts moving faster than she’s comfortable with, and everything devolves pretty quickly from there. Luka turns into that skeevy, “Shhhh let this happen, it’s just the tip” guy, and then he basically just R’s her. She says stop, he doesn’t. Not really any other way of putting it.
“It’s ok,” he whispered. “You can still be a good girl.” The tip of his cock dug into me, forcing it’s way toward entry. “It’ doesn’t count if I’m barely inside you.”
It was gross, but we pressed on.
C: That is not even the scene that had me the most ashamed of myself, but as Mary said, we pressed on. Because we felt squicky, but the writing was good, the story was interesting, and Sloane knows how to write a sex scene.
M: Unfortunately for Addison, Luka is part of a Serbian Mafia family, and when he realizes she isn’t exactly thrilled with what went down, he decides to kidnap her until he can change her mind. The book gets back to familiar territory after this – mild torture, “training,” and dubiously consensual but mutually pleasurable sex. Addison comes around pretty quickly to Luka (probably my biggest beef with the book), and after some mafia drama, there is a nice happy ending.
As a dark romance, I thought it was pretty average.
C: The switch from loathing to love actually happened faster than I was expecting, and made the second half of the book easier to embrace. Here’s the thing though, Amazon BANNED this book. A giant website that provides probably 85% of all the ebooks read in the world decided for us that we weren’t allowed to read this book. The majority of romance readers are women, grown women who get to decide what interests them and what turns them on. For Amazon to say that we need to be protected from this book is, in my opinion pretty fucking condescending.
M: A website that sells LOADS of creepy coded incest/child fetish erotica. Not even remotely cool.
This book had a few parts that made my brain feel like it needed a shower, but it really wasn’t that different from all the other dark romance out there. I mean, in one of our favorites, Dirty Angels, the hero literally carves his name into the heroine’s back with a knife. (It’s sexy, don’t ask me to explain it.) I think banning books in 2016 is ridiculous, and this one felt awfully arbitrary.
C: So, bottom line, if you think you might be in to this book (readers of darker romance, readers of more hardcore MC stuff, I’m looking at you), check it out, give the author some love, and show Old Man Amazon you don’t need his parental supervision.
Check it out: