Another contemporary quote erotic unquote romance in which the hero specifically talks about “violating” the heroine.
From Amazon: When reserved flight attendant Bianca gets one look at billionaire hotel owner James Cavendish, she loses all of her hard-won composure. For a girl who can easily juggle a tray of champagne flutes at 35,000 feet in three inch heels, she finds herself shockingly weak-kneed from their first encounter. The normally unruffled Bianca can’t seem to look away from his electrifying turquoise gaze. They hold a challenge, and a promise, that she finds impossible to resist, and she is a girl who is used to saying no and meaning it… If only it were just his looks that she found so irresistible about the intimidating man, Bianca could have ignored his attentions. But what tempts her like never before is the dominant pull he seems to have over her from the moment they meet, and the promise of pleasure, and pain, that she reads in his eyes.
Judging by the plot description, I assume the R.K. Lilley is both a genuine flight attendant and a sincere BDSM aficionado.
My challenge with In Flight was that I couldn’t tell if it was genuinely
or just me being uncomfortable with other people’s tastes. The author gets credit for explaining why the characters needed this kind of interaction. I’ve read a couple of (free, I want to stress that they were free) books like this now and the young, inexperienced heroine always starts with,”Jeepers, I don’t know. Um, I guess I shouldn’t, gee willikers, I mean, it’s kind of wrong, I guess, supposably, but I am kind of curious, and, shucks, he makes me feel so safe, gosh, but also kind of threatened, heavens to Betsy, but, wow, in such a sexy way,” and after this brief “Mother may I?” phase, the rest of the story acts as a primer as she is introduced to BDSM and builds to increasingly risque and intense sexual behaviour.
The hero, James, is supermodel good-looking, wealthy, and powerful which leads me to ask why the men in these books are always titans in their field and ruler of all they survey, yet still need to find someone vulnerable and pretty to dominate. I don’t get it. Shouldn’t they want a little humiliation instead of asserting yet more power in their private lives? With that in mind, the book lost me on page 17 when he said, “I will put you over my knee every time you lie to me, Bianca.” It’s belittling and repellent, but, of course, Bianca’s reaction is different.
James politely and sexily stalks Bianca as they move towards an intimate relationship. Though there are some bumps in the road – “James opened his eyes suddenly, looking more furious than I’d ever seen him,” when she’s known him for less than one rotation of the earth. – They move past this difficulty and it’s time for the Big Night: “I’m going to tie you to my bed and take your hymen.” Ew. “He used it like a handle. Or a leash. He pulled me, not ungently, up the stairs by it.” She’s referring to her HAIR. He actually uses her hair to drag her into his lair and once there “It was beautiful and frightening. It was a bed made for beauty and pleasure. And bondage and pain.” He has myriad restraints and a “cushioned ramp in the middle of the bed”.
Bianca is fine with it; in fact, she’s a 23 year old virgin and apparently that first time:
which, by the way, she ENJOYS. If I may?
but it also made me want to do this for the heroine:
I continued to read, but like this:
and occasionally wishing
but this is the book I had chosen and
I forged on
as things went from bad to scary mutually-consented-upon-violence, while Biana was still
and I kept asking
as James invades her privacy and intrudes on all aspects of her life. A sampling:
“I can’t wait any more for this. Nothing has ever made me feel this wild. I need to mark you. I need to own you. I need to punish you. I need to open you up and strip every detail out of you.”
Don’t worry, he only metaphorically pees in a circle around her to mark his territory. There may also have been a slave collar of some sort. I’m not certain as I’ve blocked as much of it out as I can.
“It’s just for cutting clothes. I would never cut your skin. The thought is abhorrent to me. I just want to blister it a little.”
OW! Let’s let Bianca’s best friend take over: “We’re all shaped by our childhoods. Accepting your preferences is not the same thing as being a victim. As long as you like what he does, and it doesn’t harm you, I say let it go and enjoy yourself.” Okay, the author has me there, but James infiltrates every aspect of Bianca’s life. He virtually moves in, he “rifles” through her things, he tells her what to wear, monopolises her time and her personal space,
follows her to work (as a flight attendant), stalks and controls her. I know that my viewpoint in all of this
is patronizing and presumptuous, but the whole thing struck me as genuinely awful and unhealthy and I am baffled by the high ratings these novels get on GoodReads and Amazon. I can say, “To each their own,” but I don’t care how much they rationally explain the origin of the characters’ desires when each revelation makes me feel
I may have started reading In Flight with this perspective
and progressed to
in the end, I landed securely on
Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful.
Tagged: book reviews, erotic romance, R.K. Lilley, romance review
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