When I read that Hold’em by Katie Porter featured a submissive male and a female dominate, I was skeptical but curious. I haven’t had really good luck in the past when reading erotic romance where there is a submissive male. But the guy on the cover was cute and I loved the idea of a female fighter pilot.
Leah Girardi is the daughter of a world-famous motocross champion, and is an over achieving adrenaline junkie. She is always striving to the be the best and the fastest. She’s tough, competitive and takes her job as a fighter pilot very seriously and can hold her own against any man. While her call sign is Princess, she is anything but.
Six years ago she had a fling with Mike Templeton that ended because of Mike’s chauvinistic views about women being fighter pilots. Now, Mike has been assigned to Leah’s squadron and will receive his training from her. Leah outranks Mike and while professionally he has a hard time with Leah, he’s extremely attracted to her strength and powerful personality. Leah on the other hand is career driven and not interested in dating someone from her squadron. She’s still attracted to Mike, but with their history, anything romantic is out of the question.
The thing I thought I’d have the hardest time believing in this story is Mike’s duplicity; however this was what I ended up enjoying the most. It makes Mike’s teeth grind to have a woman outrank him, yet he’s totally turned on by being dominated by a woman in bed. Not only dominated but he likes to be flogged, caned and spanked by a dominate woman. So, he doesn’t like being bossed by a woman professionally, but beat his ass in the bedroom and he’s all over it. lol I loved it. Moreover, I liked that although he has issues with women, he’s not overly external about it. It’s something he deals with and through the course of his training, he and Leah develop a mutual respect for each other after Mikes gets his ass handed to him a few times by Leah.
What I found difficult to believe was how easily Leah slips into her role as a dominate. In her brief relationship with Mike in the past, she always wanted a little more in the bedroom. She felt he was too sweet, too gentle etc. But when they reunite and Mike reveals his need to submit, Leah becomes an instant Dominate. And I don’t mean just bossy in the bedroom. She has very little reservation about going all in. Admittedly, this is her personality type but it just felt like she jumped right into the kink too easily having never had any experience.
One problem I tend to have in erotic romances that feature certain kinks and preferences is understanding why the characters are turned on by whatever it is they’re into. I was especially fascinated by Mike because he seemed like two different people in and out of the bedroom. I like to get into the characters heads, especially when they have an interesting kink. I think the author did a great job of showing what this outwardly alpha male gets out of shedding his bravado, and fully submitting to a woman during sex but I never understood why he enjoyed pain during sex or why Leah enjoyed inflicting it upon him. I wish that would have been explored more.
The sex scenes are really hot and I’m surprised to hear myself admit that. As I said, the idea of a totally submissive male doesn’t really appeal to me but I really liked the way this played out. Mike was very sexy and didn’t come off as weak. Leah was very dominate and never came off as wanting to demean or emasculate Mike (and she never did). I really liked the way the sex scenes were written and I may seek out this sort of story in the future. Maybe.
I know I focused on the sexual relationship a lot and that is because there was a lot of interesting sex. But there was romance, some emotional conflict and both Mike and Leah grow throughout the story, especially Leah. I liked both characters and believed their relationship could work. I was skeptical at first, but in the end, I found that I really enjoyed this reversal of roles in the bedroom in what I usually read in romance.
All in all, a hot sexy romance.