Review – Sweet Obsession by Kelly Jamieson

Sweet ObsessionPublisher: Samhain
Publish Date: Out now
How I got this book: eARC from publisher

Sasha Bendel is a bundle of nerves as she knocks on the door of a Gold Coast penthouse. Her landscape design business took a hard hit when one of her biggest clients defaulted on his payment, and she desperately needs this rooftop garden design project to get back in the black.

But when her potential client answers the door, she’s stunned. It’s her old high school boyfriend, the one her wealthy parents ran out of her life when they were discovered engaging in some youthful exploration of bondage and discipline.

Twelve years ago, Jack Grenville let Sasha’s powerful father intimidate him into giving up the love of his life. With the help of a sensei, he’s overcome his obstacles and accepted his sexual dominance. Now he’s back in Chicago to claim what’s his—Sasha.

One look at Jack brings back all the forbidden desires Sasha’s put on lock-down since that shameful night. No way can she turn down this money-is-no-object job…but can she resist Jack’s no-knots-barred determination to recapture her heart?

Product Warnings
This book contains a woman with a sweet tooth, a man with a sweet obsession, a cupboard full of bondage rope, and some not-so-sweet kink.
*Blurb from Goodreads*

I was really looking forward to this book, not only because I love a little kink in my romance, but also due to the second chance love story. It’s one of my favorite tropes in romance.

Sasha is from a well-to-do family, but her desire to become a successful business woman in her own right is something she strives for every day. She doesn’t want to live in her family’s shadow, so her landscaping business is her baby. When a client screws her over, she is left in a tough financial bind, and must take a job that brings up more of her past than she is ready to deal with.

Jack and Sasha were high school sweethearts, and when they were caught exploring bondage, the consequences were more than either could bear. Now that Jack has his life together, he wants Sasha back. Hiring her to work on his patio garden is the first step in getting close to her. Convincing her they still have a spark will take more than Jack ever expected, especially since Sasha is living with a lot of guilt regarding their past. But their sexual chemistry is strong, and together, they just might be able to build a relationship that neither will be able to walk away from.

There were a lot of really great aspects to this story, but one little thing continued to rub me the wrong way: Sasha’s guilt and regret and shame over being caught with Jack as kids. While I can understand why she felt that way, it seemed as if she never wanted to deal with her feelings, never wanted to find an underlying reason for why she was turned on by bondage. Even after her roommate sat down and explained the BDSM lifestyle to her, she continued to stick her head in the sand and deny what was right in front of her. It got to be a little annoying, especially since her personality was to dig in and research every job, every opportunity. She was thorough and inventive with her business, and yet, in her personal life, she was okay with living under a rock. For me, that attitude just didn’t jive.

That being said, there were a lot of amazing aspects to this book as well. I loved the way Jack was able to come to grips with his teenaged decisions, and move on to become stronger, more confident, and successful. While most of this development happened off the page, we got to see it in the way Jack handled Sasha, in his memories, and in his overall attitude toward life. I really liked Jack, despite a few bonehead decisions he made.

The way that Sasha and Jack told her parents about their relationship was beautiful. I loved the fact that Sasha’s parents weren’t one hundred percent okay with it, and yet were open to learning more. It was a very realistic way of dealing with a potentially volatile situation, and I thought Jamieson handled it wonderfully.

The romance had it’s ups and downs. While there were a lot of things I really liked, it was slow to develop. It took me quite a few chapters to really get into the story, and I wasn’t pulled into Sasha and Jack’s romance like I expected. I loved the way Jack was so patient with Sasha, and also pushed at her when he knew she needed the nudge. Although I felt like the beginning could have used a bit of a jump start, I liked the way these two eventually came together.

The secondary characters in this book were interesting as well. I’ll be interested to see what other kinks Jamieson explores in this series. I hope that the next book will be about Sasha’s roommate, Kevin, because I can’t think of any story I’ve read and enjoyed with a cross-dressing hero.

All in all, this was a very interesting book. Jamieson has taken a kink that isn’t seen much in romance and made it into something beautiful and special. Although there was only a few key bondage scenes, they were very well done and amazingly written. I’m anxious to see what Jamieson has in store for readers next.
I give Sweet Obsession a C+

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