"I didn’t want you to be…so incredible. I wanted you to be a rich arrogant asshole. I wanted you to force yourself on me as repayment so I could hate you. I wanted you to be ugly and cruel so I could walk away.”
This sums up more or less why I loathe books like these. I'll expand on it in a while, but first I want to say a few things. I wasn't sure I was going to review this book when I read it. Why? Because for me, dark erotica can be well done. I've read them in the past and liked - even loved - some of them. On the other hand, I've loathed many of them for one particular reason. I don't usually use trigger warnings, but here I will.
TRIGGER WARNING: RAPE.
Some people might argue with me, and that's fine. But personally, dark erotica is not equivalent with rape. More importantly, this is where a dark erotica book will hit the mark or not with me. And if now the book in question does contain rape, then I fully expect that to be a warning somewhere on the book. The cover, before the story begins... somewhere. I don't think that's too much to ask for.
Now, back to this book and why it did not work for me. Basically, what it comes down to is consent. If a person owes another person over a 100,000 dollars, you are not able to give consent. When your benefactor, so to say, is adamant about you paying your way back, not in money, but in obedience, you are not able to give consent. Even if, in this case, he continues to state that, yes, you do have a choice, that doesn't mean she's able to give consent or that the choice is a legitimate one. Which is exactly what this story does. Mr. Roth, the one with the money, states that they will not force our heroine into doing anything, but he also says this:
“If you don’t say no, then it’s going to happen, Kyrie.”
“For all that I’m in control here, this still moves at your speed. I will push your boundaries, push you beyond what you think you’re comfortable with, but not so fast that your fears take over."
And this is not how consent works in the least.
So, in my book, this is not consent. And by legal definitions, it isn't consent. And that is the one thing I require with dark erotica, because, as I said, it is not equivalent with rape. But I have a few more things to say, and that brings us back to the opening quote of this review. What is it that justifies all this? Well, the thing is, when our heroine first appears at Mr. Roth's (I don't want to use the word hero, but that's who he supposedly is in this book) door, she is blindfolded. So she is unable to see him for the first few days. And when she sees him, she's blown away by his male perfection. And suddenly, it's okay. She can't dislike him because he's handsome beyond comparison. And I am so past my days when I found beauty to make up for stalking and other (seriously) disturbing qualities.
So no, this book did not hit the mark with me.