Sunday, March 4, 2012

Safeword: Matte!

I say Matte! 

The book I am reviewing today is Safeword: matte by Candace Blevins which caught my attention right away. What a unique spin on a bdsm themed romance to have a fighter – a woman with the ultimate physical strength – have a need for submission. It gets right at the heart of the fact that submission is not a weakness.

Which leads me to my soap box moment if you don’t mind indulging me…
I am a big fan of bdsm romance and have been following the controversy over the Fifty Shades of Grey series. Most of you have heard of it too - it's the erotic trilogy by E.L. James that has caught the attention of even those who don’t normally read this genre. I personally read the first book in less than a day. It was good – not the best bdsm I’ve read – but I enjoyed it and plan to finish the series as soon as possible. Then last week on the Today Show, the series spurred on a discussion on violence against women which was simply CRAZY. (NOTE: I am absolutely anti violence against women but the two have nothing to do with each other!) So now I’m annoyed that people who don’t know enough about the bdsm genre (though even I myself am no expert) spoke out on national television in such a negative way. I didn't find any part of the Fifty Shades of Grey series that I read to be controversial – having nothing to do with violence against women – for several reasons.  
  •          First, being submissive is not being weak. It is about negotiation.
  •          Second, women cannot control what arouses them or what they fantasize about. And since bdsm is nearly always in a controlled environment, it is unlikely to become truly violent.
  •          Third, bdsm is not about the demise of the women's movement. Submissives are likely to tell you they actually own the power despite first appearances.
  •          Fourth, readers should not formulate an opinion on bdsm subculture based on a single bdsm book. This is my most important point because the fact is the series is FICTION and offers one author’s take on the lifestyle which is so incredibly diverse.

So, READ BDSM FICTION, enjoy the stories because they are usually the yummiest. Don’t overanalyze… no psychoanalysis… just enjoy. Honestly, the series would make a fun book club read! Now, back to my review of another bdsm romance book…

Like I said before, Safeword: matte caught my attention right away.  The heroine, Sam, is a part of the fighting scene (I know nothing about the fighting scene so it is likely I may get facts wrong – bare with me!) and could likely take most of the men she spars with. She’s also very intelligent and kind, a divorce lawyer with a heart – what a fabulously inventive concept! ;0 Anyway, Sam needs a Dom who she can’t beat in a fight; someone she feels is more powerful than she so she can feel truly controlled. But the men in the fighting scene aren’t necessarily into the bdsm scene and therein lay her problem. Frustrated, she backs off from dating entirely until Mr. Right literally walks into the ring.

Ethan is a bad-ass cage fighter new to the area. He’s also inexplicably drawn to Sam. They first meet in the fighting scene when Ethan fights Tom, one of her friends, in a cage fight competition. Ethan is known to knock out his opponents but with a little help from Sam on the psychological part of the fight, Tom wins. They meet again when Sam attends a play party with friends from the bdsm scene. Ethan is a Dom. Ethan is a fighter. Sam has found the best of both worlds wrapped up in a delicious package.

They both crave pain. Ethan is a Sadist - some of their scenes were quite intense for me - and he is just what Sam needed. The focus on consensual, honesty and trust were there - it was perfect that they sat down to talk before ever beginning a scene. And the intense way Ethan watches Sam to gauge her pain threshold, her desire while allowing them to push the edges of her needs was erotically beautiful. The author creates a perfect Dom in Ethan. 

Their romance is a bit quick but not overly so, the dialogue is a bit awkward but the characters are strong and interesting. Their connection is believable.  While I did not go crazy over the book, there are elements I enjoyed though wished had been fleshed out a bit more.  The bdsm scenes were original – not the same old, same old – and pushed boundaries. Sam’s inner strength and also her need for connection through submission are the most profound elements that will compel readers to read more by this author.

Safeword: matte is an honest look into a deliciously erotic world.

FYI… “Matte” is pronounced mah-tay and is the word used in martial arts to stop a fight. So what better safeword for Sam than matte? 

RATING: 4 Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries

(WARNING: BDSM-themed scene)
He released her ankles from her wrists, but left her bound wrist to wrist and ankle to ankle. A rope had been thrown over the beam running across the porch, and he used it to tie her arms over her head, threading it through her cuffs and expertly knotting it. Stepping back, he dried himself while looking at her appraisingly, but didn’t say anything. He’d taken the condom off at some point and his cock was semi-hard. Sam watched as he walked to a side table and picked up a large flogger, and then lost her view of him as he stepped behind her.
The rope above her didn’t let her stand flat footed, she was up on her toes and she knew her calves would be hurting before this was over. The rope had a knot she could grab onto with her hands to take some of her weight, and she knew he’d done that on purpose. She wanted this, wanted to hurt, wanted him to hurt her, wanted him to own her in this way, too. He’d said he was going to flog her until his arms were tired, that could be a very long time. It was raining harder now, a true downpour, what her grandfather would have called a toad strangler. The wind was blowing and every once in a while she felt a mist from the rain blowing in. Not enough to wet her, just a warm light mist on her front.
She heard the flogger swishing through the air and then felt it as she heard the crash of the strands on her back. He set up a rhythm right away. Swish, crash. Swish, crash. Sometimes it hit flat and the thud of it knocked her forward. Sometimes the tips landed and set her skin on fire in more than a dozen spots. She knew he was doing it on purpose, because he kept it balanced – right flat, left flat. Then a while later – right tips, left tips. Swish, crash. Swish, crash. He spent time on her upper back and on her ass, avoiding her kidneys in between. She felt it when the endorphins kicked in, felt her muscles relaxing. She rode the feelings, going from dealing with the pain, to accepting the pain, to finally craving the pain, wanting the next stroke. Needing the next stroke.
“Harder. I need more. It’s not enough, Sir. Please.” Her voice didn’t sound the way she was used to hearing it.
He stopped and walked away, then walked back. The next stroke was what she’d asked for, and it was with a different flogger. She felt the knots in this one; felt them hitting her skin, dragging across it, raising welts in their path. It was perfect, exactly what she needed. She moaned in ecstasy, and then she realized he hadn’t hit her hard the first time – he’d been testing to see how she was going to handle this flogger. Now he was putting muscle into it.
A thunderclap sounded in the distance and it was perfect, Mother Nature lashing them with rain and thunder, and Ethan lashing her in the midst of it. She grabbed onto the knot above her, raising herself up, feeling the burn in her arms as she relieved a little of the burn in her calves, and the flogging went on and on in a perfect rhythm. Swish, crash. Swish, crash. Her back and ass were on fire, her body was like a lit fuse, she needed to come but had no way to do it. Yes, she did. She squeezed her legs together, trying to get enough sensation on her clit to get herself off, and still the flogging continued, the knots striking and dragging.
The thunder and lightning were getting closer, the rain was more ferocious, the warm wind misting her almost constantly now. Swish, crash. Swish, crash. She heard him yell when the thunder roared, but didn’t know what he’d yelled. In between the thunder and the wind she could hear herself giving moans and groans, gasping the humid air in, screaming it out. The pain was exquisite; the burn had turned her back and ass into a large throbbing sex organ, the caress of the flogger making her more and more raw.
She relaxed her hands, let more of her weight go to her calves once again, and then he was behind her, releasing her ankles from each other and lifting her up, sitting her down on his cock and pushing her down onto it. She hadn’t expected it, but it was perfect, this primal claiming. She reached for the knot above her hands again, not because she needed to relieve the weight distribution anymore, she just needed something to hold into.
He fucked her like a madman. She came twice, her orgasm rolling through and over and around her as he played her body, his cock going in and out, his hands and gravity controlling where her body was.
Just as another peal of thunder reverberated against the mountain, shaking the house, the floor of the porch, the rope… he came with a roar she felt more than heard, his chest to her back, and she came with him, her orgasm rolling through her body as the thunder had rolled through the sky.
As Sam was coming back to herself, once her orgasm had finally subsided, she felt Ethan reach up and release her cuffs from the rope above her head. He slowly sank to the floor with her in his arms and gently maneuvered her onto her back, leaning over her and kissing her like a man possessed.

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