Lou: Vivienne and Jonah return in the sequel to Asking for It, a book Has and I reviewed favourably a couple of months ago. The ending of the last book wasn’t a cliffhanger but it also wasn’t a HEA. It was impossible to give Viv and Jonah a HEA in the first book and it would have done the book a huge disservice because of the dark and past tragic history Viv and Jonah suffered and are still paying for, with Viv unable to orgasm without fantasizing about being raped, and Jonah, whose sexual desire for a certain dominance behaviour in roleplay, was damaged from his horrendous and abusive childhood. Begging for It delves deep into Jonah’s history and his family, especially that of brothers and sisters. The sexual role-play games Jonah and Viv engage in are still a very important factor in their relationship but Jonah completely turns things around after a very intense role-play where he reached his own limits, and it’s Viv who now has to create a safe place for Jonah. The author did an amazing job with these characters and the journey she creates for them.
Has: I have been anticipating this book for a long while because I was left on tenterhooks to see how Viv and Jonah will deal with their issues, which came to a head in the last book. Like Lou said, Begging for It focuses much more on Jonah’s family and past, and how he grapples with their problems (with their limits due to Viv’s sexual fantasies) and the impact this has on Jonah.
In a lot of ways I felt this book delved much more further than Asking for It with its themes of rape culture and abuse. And like the first book, it was hard to read at times, especially in the first half. I found it quite brutal at times, such as the sex scene at Jonah’s old home, which crossed his limit and found it heartbreaking because of the after-effects. But it was also powerful and intense because it was so raw and visceral that drew me into their story.
Lou: Begging for It follows on from the last book where Jonah and Viv split up because Jonah had reached his limit when he found out the truth behind Viv’s past rape. I was a little worried this book would rehash themes from the first book but there is a progressive journey these two characters go through. It’s Viv’s turn to be a protector for Jonah because he needs her help to make sure he doesn’t go past his limits. But the problem is the harder and more forceful Jonah becomes, it turns Viv on. And that becomes a problem in the scene Has mentions above in Jonah’s childhood home. After a tense meeting with his abusive step-father, Jonah is left raw and deep into horrific memories. He takes Viv to the one safe room in the house and they role-play. But it’s more dark and brutal before and Jonah realises this and has to stop. I got a little angry with Viv during this time because I felt rather than knowing and understanding the place Jonah was in, she was still concentrating on her own need. But I was glad Viv does learn and though she understands she is being selfish by craving her rape fantasies when Jonah is in such a troubled place, she loves Jonah completely and wants to have a relationship with him. Which means no more games because it’s what Jonah needs.
Has: I agree with your feelings towards Viv. I don’t think she fully realised how much in a dark place Jonah was in. But I loved that they decided to work on their sexual relationship by exploring other facets of their sexuality, which also helped to heal and develop their issues. It was realistic and authentic. There was no magic wand or magical sexual breakthrough which overcame their problems, and that by the end of the book, they were still tackling aspects and obstacles. But at the same they also learned to accept their fantasies but not to use it as a focus or a way to try to avoid their differences, which showed how much they grew and developed as characters. I thought Lilah Pace explored these characters and themes beautifully which was full of pathos, poignancy and hope.
Lou: Not only do Viv and Jonah explore other areas of their relationship but they also once again meet each other’s families, with Viv meeting Jonah’s brothers and sisters. The love they have for each other was unmistakable, and I loved Maddox who came barging in to be by Jonah’s side against his father. I hope Pace writes future books involving these characters as that side of the storyline is still not concluded, especially with Rebecca who stays on the other side of the world, and Elise who has her own issues and butts heads with Jonah and Maddox who only want the best for her. There’s also a suspense running through the book was a series of rapes around the campus and Jonah becomes prime suspect number one. I liked the suspense and it tied into other threads of their story and once again Jonah has to make a difficult decision to spare Viv. The ending was awesome with Viv literally being kick-ass and it was also a revelation for her and the reasons behind her rape fantasies. Like Has said above, there’s no magic wand but Viv and Jonah make the effort to take their time because they know they have a lifetime to get it right.
I was happy to see Viv’s friends again, especially Georgie who is battling his own demons and though there’s this uneasy truce between Jonah and Georgie, Viv doesn’t shy away from her friendship with Georgie. Viv is a wonderful heroine who understands her own issues. This author is so talented and I can’t wait to see what Lilah Pace writes next.
I give Asking for It a B+
Has: I also hope that we will get to see more of Jonah’s family. I was definitely left with the feeling that there is more to come from this series because there were a few open threads that tied in with Jonah’s step-father and siblings. However, I would have liked more expansion on the ending with a few more of the lighter scenes because I felt that was a bit rushed, especially with the dark first half. But overall Begging For It was a fantastic conclusion to Viv and Jonah’s story. Even though it was heavy-going and really difficult to read at places, this duology is one of the most memorable, thought-provoking and amazing example of a multi-faceted romance. I love how Lilah Pace tackles themes like rape culture, abuse and addiction as well exploring complex family dynamics which was so well written and engaging despite the dark elements because she balances it with love and hope, and I love that message.
I also give Begging For It an A-