Review: Tenderly Wicked

Tenderly Wicked Tenderly Wicked by Katerina Ross
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Romance Review
TENDERLY WICKED is a tale of an inexperienced dominant who makes several newbie mistakes. To compound this problem, the submissive is unable to communicate his discomfort or to use his safeword. This is a disaster waiting to happen.

Max is an ex-patriate in the rough city of Moscow. The black sheep in the family, he enjoys teaching in Russia and his life has been an adventure. His latest adventure is entering the intoxicating world of BDSM. Max's BDSM training is what he gleams from chat rooms and forums. Before a reader starts to scoff at Max's lack of education and experience in the kink world, this is how it used to be, before the internet.

Ms. Ross creates an interesting contemporary romance. Instead of creating a perfect dominant or an abusive one, she creates a newbie who doesn't know what he is doing. He kind of knows what he likes and he fumbles his way through scenes. This is pretty accurate and Max is a very credible dominant trying to do his best without guidance. The submissive, Vadim, possesses more experience with fetish play. However, his baseline is warped. As more is revealed about Vadim's previous kinky experiences, it is clear he received the raw end of the deal.

This story is not exactly a love story. Let me rephrase. It isn't a romance. It is a love story between two men who find the missing piece to end their loneliness with a sexual twist. The conflict in this story is well written as it becomes increasingly difficult for Max to meet the expectations he placed upon himself. Ms. Ross shows how the realities of two people trying to get kinky without a support group. It is so easy to accidentally get hurt. I appreciated the illustrations of pitfalls as well as Max's perspective. His introspection about whether he was a good and responsible dominant or not is what makes this book good.

The BDSM scenes are accurate and well researched. What is missing for me is a spark. I couldn't get into this book because neither Max nor Vadim appealed to me. It isn't because they weren't perfect. They just seemed a bit flat for me. Because I felt nothing for either one of them, despite their sad stories, I couldn't get into the story as much. Technically this story is well written and researched. The perspective it takes is rare and I like it. The story just gave me a more clinical feeling. It isn't that Ms. Ross lectured, because she did not. It is almost as if the sexy fun of BDSM was sucked out of this story. And perhaps that is intentional because it coincides with Max's dilemma and his crisis of faith.

Near the end of the story, I finally feel a bit and it is sorrow for Vadim. This boy is the proverbial kicked puppy left in the ditch on the side of the road. Makes me want to cuddle him and take him home. This erotic romance is recommended to kinky readers who enjoy newbie dominants learning the ropes.


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