Waking Kiss (City Ballet #1)
by Annabel Joseph
A stranger in the wings, a traitorous pair of toe shoes, and a traumatic turn dancing with The Great Rubio… For ballerina Ashleigh Keaton, it’s been one hell of a night.
But it’s not over yet. When Rubio drags her to a private BDSM party at his friend’s house in the ritzy part of London, she meets Liam Wilder, a lifestyle dominant and frighteningly seductive man. Liam pursues Ashleigh, attracted by her strength and talent, but she has secrets—an abusive past and a crippling fear of intimacy that prevents her from connecting to anyone, especially a kinky playboy reputed to be legendary in bed.
Eventually he wins her trust and sets out to heal the troubled dancer, awakening her to a world of erotic obedience and sensual abandon in a series of “sessions” at his home. But how pure are his motives? Is he helping her or endangering her fragile soul? Liam hides his own destructive secrets, and so does Fernando Rubio, their temperamental friend. Over time the three become embroiled in a tangle of artifice, fears, and lies that threaten to undo everything they’ve worked for.
Will Ashleigh and Liam find the strength to defeat their demons? Or are they cursed to sleepwalk through life forever, afraid to experience the passion and intimacy of love?
Note: This 81K word romantic novel contains reflections on childhood abuse and violence which may disturb some readers.
Annabel Joseph is an amazing writer and she has the BDSM lifestyle down to a “t”. She writes characters full of flaws that you absolutely fall in love with. This book was no different.
Ashleigh, “Ash” is a ballet dancer who has joined her current troup to work with the famed “Rubio”. She wants to dance with the best and learn. What she doesn’t count on is a last minute character change that lands her dancing with Rubio live in front of an audience with shoes that aren’t’ broken in. Rubio is seriously unimpressed and Ash is mortified.
Liam and Rubio are friends in the lifestyle. Liam is a Dominant. After Ashliegh’s bomb on stage, Rubio invites Ashleigh to an after party. The thing she doesn’t know it that it is a BDSM party and when they go to the play room, she gets more than she bargained for. Liam is a wealthy eccentric who has befriended Rubio. He immediately takes a liking to Ashleigh but Liam is not a one woman man.
Rubio is a Latin Heartthrob and a big shot dancer…and he knows it. He can be cruel and conceited but we begin to discover there is more to him than meets the eye.
Ashleigh’s past has left her afraid. She sleeps in a sheet tent. Initially, Liam has his heart set on sleeping with Ashleigh but he finds himself falling more and more for this bizarre young woman who he wants to Dominate.
Ashleigh feels broken. She has resigned herself to a life of celibacy. She is emotionally fragile. She wants to learn how to be a submissive and how to give herself fully to her Dom.
She has a lot to overcome. She must learn that to be submissive is not to give control, but to give power and that in the end she is completely in control.
Liam decides that he has to have her. He will take Ash however he can get her but only to help her and then he will move on. Because that is what he does. Always.
Soon Ash is experiencing pleasure she never knew existed.
She continues to suffer emotionally and she punishes herself relentlessly.
Soon it’s not clear who is saving who and Liam is in for more than he bargained for.
Annabel Joseph has done it again. Love her characters, loved this poignant and beautifully broken story. Bravo! There are warnings attached to this book that should be taken seriously. This book addresses tough issues of past abuse. It would be very difficult to read if this was a trigger for you. It is also not a sweet and clean love story. It is dirty and broken and absolutely beautiful. I can not wait to hear Rubio’s story!