09 February 2015

Protective Custody


Synopsis from Goodreads: When Skye Madden is caught trespassing at an exclusive ski resort while trying to support herself as a tabloid photographer, she is stunned to discover that her childhood crush, Aidan Hastings, is the head of security. More shocking still, Aidan tells her in no uncertain terms that if she is found snooping around the resort again, he’ll take her over his knee and give her a spanking she’ll never forget.

When her boss sends her back to the same resort a year later on another assignment, Skye can’t help but remember Aidan’s warning, but a spanking quickly becomes the least of her worries after she gets lost on the mountain. While trying to find her way back, things go from bad to worse when she witnesses a cold-blooded murder, and she is left with no choice but to confess everything to Aidan. Worst of all, it appears that the murder is connected to the Russian mob. 

Aidan decides he’s taking no chances with his best friend’s little sister, a girl he’s never been able to forget. As a former special agent, he is more than ready to do whatever is needed to keep her safe, even if that means taking her into hiding in an isolated cabin, whether she likes it or not. But Skye Madden has grown even more stubborn and headstrong than he remembered, and he soon realizes it will take quite a bit more than just a bare-bottom spanking to bring her in line. 

Even with her world collapsing around her, Skye wonders how she can let this man—someone who has a place called a “punishment room” in his house, on top of everything else—start to claim her heart again. Can she learn to trust her firm protector, or will she take matters into her own hands and put her life in even greater danger? 

Publisher’s Note: Protective Custody is an erotic novel that includes spankings, sexual scenes, anal play, elements of BDSM, and more. If such material offends you, please don’t buy this book.

Stats for my copy: Kindle edition, published by Stormy Night Publications, 2015.

How acquired: Bought.

First line: Skye Madden sat in the holding cell along with her colleague, Barb Smith, at the Blue Piste Ski Resort in Aspen, Colorado.

My thoughts: Skye is a photographer for a tabloid paper, a job she’s not necessarily proud of but it’s a job and puts food on the table. She and a colleague are caught trespassing on the grounds of a posh mountain resort, where the head of the security team turns out to be Aidan, who was her older brother’s best friend years ago, and who kissed her on her 18th birthday and then disappeared. He lets her go, with a warning that if he catches her sneaking around his mountain again, he’ll spank her.

A year later, and she is again sneaking around the resort, trying to get pictures of a celebrity rumored to be there with his mistress. But this time she witnesses a murder before getting caught by security, who once again deliver her to Aidan.
Given that two Russian mob families are involved, and Skye’s life would be in danger if they ever found out she’d taken pictures of them, Aidan makes Skye stay with him so he can protect her. And punish her.

I was drawn into the story very quickly. A tabloid photographer is definitely a sleazy profession, but Skye is a very likable character, though seeming younger than her age and pretty naive. Even while doing her job her conscience pricks her and she has misgivings, but a girl’s got to eat, right? It’s been ten years since Aidan, who is quite a bit older than her, kissed her, and she’s been angry at him ever since for just leaving and disappearing completely. Aidan has never forgotten that kiss either, but he believed at the time he was too old for her, and then he went undercover and couldn’t contact her or her brother if he’d wanted to.

The relationship between them develops quickly, which is expected given their history and the current circumstances, so it didn’t feel too rushed. The plot line with the Russian mob families at first felt a little unrealistic to me, but then quickly became suspenseful. In the middle of the heaviest action though the narrative sort of jumped over the action, so that events happened but were not described. For instance, Aidan leaves Skye at a hidden cabin, and she locks the door behind him:
But before she ever had a chance to unzip her bag and take out the blanket she’d packed, there was a muffled sound of something she wasn’t sure she recognized at the door and within a few moments, two men were inside, one reaching for her, silencing her with a hand over her mouth before she could even scream.
What happened during those “few moments”? How did the men actually get inside? Did they pick the lock? Break down the door? Jimmy it open? Too much was left out there. In another scene, Aidan is sitting in a chair, with a man standing behind him, holding a gun to his head:
Aidan jumped up from his seat while taking out his own hidden revolver and knocking the guard over the head.
With that sentence and the next one, the fight with the guard is over, and I felt like it should have lasted for several sentences. 

Other than that, the story is pretty mesmerizing. The characters are fairly well written, and the sex was sizzling. Natasha Knight specializes in erotic stories filled with spanking and other BDSM elements, and she's very good at it. For Skye, this is completely new territory, and her emotions are all over the place, as she tries to process and understand why Aidan's treatment of her embarrasses and humiliates her, yet thrills and arouses her at the same time. In addition to spanking, there is bondage and anal play. But there's also a sweet love story at the core, with a satisfying resolution. 

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