Title: Vanilla by Megan Hart
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic, Romance, D/s
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
It’s an acquired taste…he just has to acquire it
Elise knows what she wants in the bedroom, and she makes sure she gets it. Her thirst for domination has long been quenched by a stable of men only too happy to bow down before her.
But sexual satisfaction isn’t the same as love, and she’s been burned in the past by giving her heart too freely.
Niall is handsome, smart, successful and sweet—sweet as vanilla. When they meet, their romantic connection is electric, even though he’s way on the opposite end of the kink spectrum. Despite how she fights it, Elise falls for him—but how can a relationship work when both lovers want to be on top?
Vanilla is a highly erotic novel and Megan Hart expertly weaves a very sweet romance into the storyline as well. There is also an amazing amount of depth and emotional healing for the main protagonist. It is another multi-layered, complex novel by one of my favorite authors that I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend.
Elise is sexually confident and she unapologetically embraces her sexuality. While she does not like inflicting pain or humiliation on her partners, she does like to dominate submissive men. She is beautiful and smart with a lucrative, successful career but she has not been in a serious relationship since a bad break up four years earlier. Although she has been in a long term relationship with a man she met through a BDSM dating site, their interactions are purely sexual and neither is emotionally invested. Elise is obsessing over the man who broke her heart and although he offers her no encouragement, she still continues to send him messages when she is feeling emotionally vulnerable. When she meets Niall, she is surprised by her attraction to someone who is clearly uncomfortable with her desires.
Elise is a likable, no nonsense type of woman and she does let anyone push her around. This self assurance makes it all the more puzzling when she continues to pursue the man who crushed her heart. It is incredibly frustrating watching her pour her heart out to him time and again only to have him continue to reject her. While her current arrangement with her lover satisfies her sexual needs, she is beginning to miss a more intimate connection and when he inexplicably ends their relationship, Elise is stunned by the sense of loss she experiences.
When Elise meets Niall at an art exhibit where she is one of the featured models, he knows upfront about her “kinks”. He is also honest that he does not understand her desires and while there is an instant connection between them, he backs off pretty quickly. When their paths unexpected cross at her nephew’s bar mitzvah, the two pick up their relationship where they left off. For the first time in her life, Elise is in a relationship with someone who takes a slow approach to dating and although they indulge in some very steamy make out sessions, they do not immediately jump into having sex. Elise is happy with Niall, but she struggles with letting him into her heart while he finds it difficult to relinquish control in the bedroom.
Although a little slow-paced in the beginning, Vanilla is a very captivating read. Elise is a complex and intriguing character and while much of his back story is never revealed, Niall is a nice man who genuinely likes and appreciates her. The storyline is unpredictable and as always, Megan Hart puts her characters through an emotional but healing journey before they can find their happily ever after.
All in all, Vanilla is another extremely satisfying novel that is the perfect combination of blazing hot sex and a surprisingly tender romance.