Author: Sloan Johnson
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Erotica, BDSM
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Tasha Skinner finally shed the baggage of a failed marriage. Now, she’s looking forward to a night of margaritas and man-bashing. Tasha’s friends have other plans, including Leather, Lace and liberation.
Dylan Caprese didn’t want to go to Marquee, but he and his friends were on a mission. They took it upon themselves to make sure things didn’t get out of hand when wannabe Doms mixed alcohol with playtime at the monthly Leather and Lace night.
From the moment he set eyes on Tasha, he knew there was something different about her. She wasn’t some bondage babe who thought she knew what it meant to be into BDSM. She was much, much worse; she was innocent and trusting. He can tell she is something precious.
When Tasha’s past threatens to destroy her, Dylan begins to realize that while their paths have never crossed, their lives most definitely have. Will he be able to save her before it’s too late?
Unexpected Angel by Sloan Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really, really liked this book, but didn't quite fall into all-out love with it. The concept was good, the characters were solid, and the writing was superb, but something just held me back from "clicking" with it entirely.
Tasha Skinner is a young woman who just got out of a very bad marriage. She married her high school sweetheart and then allowed him to control and manipulate her during their ten year marriage. While he wasn't physically abusive, per se, he was very mentally and emotionally abusive and belittling. He pretty much made her damaged goods. She has a hard time trusting men, and is very insecure and hesitant in everything she does. However, she allows her best friend Holly to drag her out to a "Leather and Lace" night at a local club to celebrate her divorce. It is there that she meets Dylan Caprese who takes it upon himself to save her and her innocence from the depravities that are going on inside the club. The story takes off from there, and has several interesting twists and turns along the way.
First off, I had a hard time liking Tasha. I felt sorry for her and admired the small bursts of spirit and sass that she showed, but for the most part she was weak. I wanted to see her grow more, and become more independent and self confident. Towards the end of the book she did take a few baby steps, but I wanted to see it develop earlier in the book.
Dylan was an amazing character. I never really thought that I could find a bald man sexy, but damn! That cover is all kinds of hot. Plus his alpha-male, Dominant tendencies paired with the tenderness and patience that he shows Tasha make him the most perfect man ever! Zeke and Tommy were definitely h-o-t also, and I'm really excited that the next book will focus on one of them. Holly, I hated from the beginning. She just came across as so selfish and self-absorbed to me that I couldn't understand how Tasha so adamantly maintained that they were best friends. Maybe she'll redeem herself in a future book. Meh.
My second semi-disappoint with this book was the lack of more BDSM focused sex scenes. There was a little bit, sort of an intro course if you will, but from the x-rated cover and the blurb I was expecting (and hoping for) a lot more! The lack of hard core stuff fit with the story line and Tasha's journey and her innocence, so I can't complain on that front. I have to admit that it probably worked better with the story and with Tasha's trust issues for it to be as tame as it was, but I guess it's just my inner perv coming out that wanted more, lol. I wanted more x-rated steaminess between Tasha and Dylan!! Oh well, maybe it's part of Sloan Johnson's evil plan to lure us in a little at a time. If that's the case, it worked! I can't wait to pick up the next book to see what happens.
I also wish that the story had been fleshed out just a bit more. There were a couple of things that were mentioned briefly that I really wanted to go back to in more detail. For instance, it is mentioned that Dylan owns a tattoo shop. Would that happen to be the one that Tasha goes into at the beginning of the book? Just what all exactly is Dylan involved in since it is apparent that he is rich? At one point, Tasha also mentioned having to go to brunch with her family, but it never comes up again. Did she blow them off, or did she go and not mention Dylan? Seeing more of her family life would have been nice. For instance, would they have approved of her getting back out in the dating world, did they know what kind of relationship she had with Nick, etc.? Dylan also mentions a couple of times that he wants to hire Tasha to come work for him and be an integral part of his company. I would have liked to see this conversation take place, if not her go ahead and come work for him. Maybe in the next book.....
I was also able to predict the ending from pretty early in the book, but even knowing what was coming, it was still a good read. Overall, I did like this book and would definitely recommend it to everyone looking for a good read. Can't wait to read book two in the Isthmus Alliance series and see what happens next!
View all my reviews
And here is a little bit of a treat for those of you looking forward to book two in the Isthmus Alliance series, Unexpected Protector:
Sloan is a Midwestern mom who began writing nearly seven years ago as a way to make money while staying home with her daughter. Now, with two kids in tow and having written more articles on how to assemble various pieces of furniture than she can count, she is reaching to make her dreams come true.
Unexpected Angel, her debut novel, is set to be released in August 2013.
Sloan loves to hear from her readers!