We’re pretty excited to be participating in the tour for one of the most compelling books we’ve read in a long time: Asking for It by Lilah Pace. We’ve got an excerpt to share with you as well as a fantastic giveaway. First, here’s the 411 on this book that deals with a very controversial topic, along with our thoughts:Asking for It by Lilah Pace
Also by this author: His Royal Secret
Series: Asking for It #1
Published by Berkley on June 2, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Erotica
Goodreads Buy the Book
“This is who I am. This is what I want. Now I need a man dangerous enough to give it to me.”
Graduate student Vivienne Charles is afraid of her own desires—ashamed to admit that she fantasizes about being taken by force, by a man who will claim her completely and without mercy. When the magnetic, mysterious Jonah Marks learns her secret, he makes an offer that stuns her: they will remain near-strangers to each other, and meet in secret so that he can fulfill her fantasy.
Their arrangement is twisted. The sex is incredible. And—despite their attempts to stay apart—soon their emotions are bound together as tightly as the rope around Vivienne’s wrists. But the secrets in their pasts threaten to turn their affair even darker...
Reader Advisory: Asking for It deals explicitly with fantasies of non-consensual sex. Readers sensitive to portrayals of non-consensual sex should be advised.
Kassiah: Everyone has already told you that this book is not for everyone. There’s a lot in here that’s pretty graphic–rape fantasies, flashbacks, and some things I can’t say without giving away the story. Asking for It is definitely unlike any book I’ve ever read before.
This isn’t just a story about a woman who has fantasies about being raped–it’s a psychological thriller that really explores the why, and it’s about the man who is willing to fulfill those fantasies and the reasons he needs to. It’s smart and I found myself surprised at how much I understood the way Vivienne was thinking.
“With a boyfriend you can pretend – but it’s a joke really. A game. Not the fantasy you really want. Me? I’m nearly a stranger. I can do more than fuck you. I can scare you a little. Just a little. Enough to make it what you really want…it’s your fantasy, and mine. Chances like this don’t come along often – two people twisted in the exact same way.”
It feels strange to me to give this book a 4-star rating, saying that I loved the story or related to the characters. But maybe that was Pace’s point–there’s this taboo thing that you’re not supposed to even think about, and here I am, flipping the pages because I can’t not find out what happens next. It’s raw and gritty and erotic and absolutely amazing.
I loved how realistic these characters were. In a way, they are the pair that totally works in spite of the fact that they absolutely shouldn’t. I didn’t know that there was going to be a sequel when I read this book, but I have to say that I am looking forward to reading Begging for It. I don’t really see how these two could ever have a conventional happy ending, but I definitely can’t wait to read more about their relationship.
I know the reason I’m giving this book four stars instead of a million is twisted since I am all about the romance and the HEA. The thing that I don’t really appreciate is the fact that Jonah and Vivienne start to fall for each other. That’s not really a spoiler since we know there’s a sequel now, but I felt like the whole point of their arrangement was so they could act out their fantasies in a safe environment, without fear of feelings lessening their authenticity. The degree of anonymity was absolutely crucial to their relationship working, and I don’t think that either of these characters can be “cured” in the traditional sense of the word. The hint of them falling in love doing just that is almost a slap in the face to the Vivienne and Jonah at the beginning of this book.
With that being said, this book is amazing. The character development and every line of dialogue between them is brilliant. The storyline is consuming. A beautifully written story about two broken characters and what they can only get from each other, Lilah Pace knocks it out of the park with Asking For It.
It’s all delightful fun until you have to explain your life choices to your shrink.
“To say I have mixed feelings about this,” Doreen said, “would be putting it lightly.”
“You’re not supposed to give opinions about my life. That’s not what therapists do, right? They listen.”
Doreen shoots me a look. “Have we ever had a traditional patient-therapist relationship?”
“No,” I admit.
“And I doubt we’re going to start now. Besides, I gave you my opinion when you asked whether or not I could ‘believe this.’ If you weren’t uncertain about your decision, you wouldn’t have asked.”
She just poked through the bubble of giddiness I’ve floated in since Jonah and I spoke two nights earlier. All the concerns I had – that I still have – become clear once more.
She says, “I have to admit, I feared your meetings with Jonah would prove destructive, and they haven’t. The shame you’ve carried about your rape fantasy has diminished to some degree. Both he and you took precautions to ensure your safety. Best-case scenario, I’d say. But you need to be aware what you’re doing now – merging your fantasy life and your emotional life – that’s about a thousand times more complicated.”
“What’s going to be so different?” I snap.
“You tell me.”
I hate it when Doreen makes me answer my own questions, mostly because I usually do know the answers. They’re just answers I don’t like. For a moment I fidget on the couch – pushing up the arms of my white cardigan, curling my feet beneath me. But I can’t postpone replying for long. “… I still wonder what kind of a man has such powerful fantasies about rape. When we play our games, he knows exactly what would scare me. He knows how to be cruel. He’s thought about that a lot.”
“That’s a valid consideration.”
“How can I judge him for that when I have rape fantasies too?”
“You know why you’re so fixated on them. You don’t know why he is.”
I want to tell Doreen my theories about his family – about his anger with his mother, the way her threats might have taught him about violence. However, I remain quiet. Doreen would simply say that it’s only a theory, with absolutely no proof to support it. She would be correct.
More gently, Doreen says, “Have you ever considered telling Jonah the truth about your rape?”
“No.” The word comes out more sharply than I intended.
“You’ve still never told anyone besides your mother and me, have you?”
I shake my head. “Nobody else.”
One time, years later, I tried to tell Chloe the truth about that night. But she shut me down before I’d even revealed the whole story, telling me I’d always been jealous of her, asking whether I’d come on to any of her other boyfriends. It wasn’t exactly a moment for the Sisterly Bonding Hall of Fame. So Chloe still doesn’t know. “Refusing to believe” is the same as “not knowing,” right? For my sister, it might as well be.
“It’s your secret. A piece of your life that’s yours to share or not to share, as you see fit. You never have to tell a soul if you don’t want to.” Doreen has never tried to make me feel ashamed of my own silence, for which I’m deeply grateful. Sometimes I see courageous rape survivors on television or the internet, braving clueless commentators or vicious trolls to speak out about their experiences, and my admiration of them is mirrored by my own sense of cowardice. She continues, “But keeping this secret from Jonah – giving him that kind of power, without knowing how deep your wounds lie –”
“I’ve handled it so far,” I say. Which is true.
So far, though, Jonah and I have played “softer” games. Ones where I could easily reassert myself at any second. I want more than that from him, though. I want him to tie me up. I want him to fight me, to defeat me.
I want him to own me.
When the sex between Jonah and me turned out to be so freaking amazing, I thought maybe I’d disarmed Anthony’s power over me, for good. What if I only buried the bomb deeper? As Jonah and I dig further into my darkest fantasies, we might be getting closer to the fuse.
***About Lilah Pace***
Lilah Pace is a pseudonym for a New York Times bestselling YA author. This is her first adult novel.