Loving You Easy (Loving on the Edge #9) by Roni Loren #BookReview
*** This review is SPOILER-FREE! Read on with confidence! ***
What a unique concept for a book! I liked everything about this story, from the geeky tomboy girl-next-door heroine to the virtual kink game world of Hayven to the history of all the individual characters. And the quality of the writing is just superb. And yes, this is book nine in a series, but you can absolutely read it as a standalone. That’s what I did, and went back for more in the series once I finished!
Hayes Fox, how you slay me. Here is a guy way down on himself and so wary of being betrayed again, that he’s barely going through the motions of life. Hayes is a natural dominant, and after being set up and sent to prison for being part of a scene he should’ve been able to trust, he’s created his own personal cage to keep himself safe. His business partner and best friend since high school, Ren, is the one thing he’s never let himself have and the one thing he needs the most now.
When Ren plunked the glass back on the counter, there was a calmness there in his eyes. “Use me, huh?”
Hayes swallowed. Nodded.
Ren’s lips lifted at the corner. “I hate to break it to you, but I’m not some dude you picked up at a bar. I’m not one of those guys you experimented with in college. This isn’t a hookup, Fox. We’ve been in a relationship since we were seventeen.” Ren leaned forward. “You wouldn’t be using me. You’d be consummating what’s already there.”
And Ren…whew. This man, so elegant with his Asian heritage and his sleek suits and his trim build, can flip from affable, playful charmer to no-nonsense Dom in a breath. His history is harrowing, and the fact that he came through with so few scars and emotional blocks is a miracle. A guy with this depth of charisma and insight would be damn hard to stay away from in real life.
“She vibrates with this undercurrent of sexuality. I’d lay big money that she’s got all kinds of deliciously twisted fantasies in her head. But for whatever reason, she doesn’t think she’s worthy or capable of them.”
“Why the hell not?”
“From what I gathered, she’s been the victim of insecure assholes who don’t know how to see what’s there. Men who don’t know how to deal with her not fitting into some easily defined category. She’s a straight woman who dresses androgynously and has no desire to change that. Maybe genderqueer, though I have no idea if that’s how she thinks of herself.”
Ren shrugged. “She’s different. You know what the world thinks of different. And beyond that, she’s crazy smart and straightforward and doesn’t play games, which can intimidate people.”
Then there’s Cora (Lenore, in Hayven). She’s just so darn relatable! Clever and bright, this chick is ballsy but vulnerable. She wants so badly to explore the world of kink and give submission a try, but experience has taught her that she’ll only ever be merely average and she shouldn’t trust anyone on a personal level. She’s also a hell of a hacker and all in once she sets her mind to a task. The fact that she wants both Ren and Hayes and that they seem to want her back–as much as they want each other–just lights everyone’s fuses.
Lenore: I’m here because my dating life sucked. And I think I could be kinky but am terrified to try it, to risk getting involved with someone who could hurt me or take advantage of the situation or shame me for my desires. It’s hard to tell the bad guys from the good ones.
Dmitry: So you wanted to be safe.
Lenore: Yes. And I wanted to feel sexy.
One of the things that often bothers me about D/s stories is how cavalierly the men tend to treat their subs. Both Ren and Hayes draw very clear lines between their scening time as dominants and their personal time with Cora as a woman and a colleague. They treat her with the respect her brilliant mind deserves, with sensitivity and open-minded support for ALL of her needs, not just the sexual or kinky ones, and they aren’t afraid to let themselves be casual with her.
Loving You Easy is edgy and sexy and intense and heart breaking and totally entertaining. Parts of this book are laugh-out-loud funny and other parts are pulse-poundingly suspenseful. I adored that the author is able to infuse such emotional range into a single story. It’s just all the best things, and even after finishing it, I felt fulfilled and happy. That warm glow is what readers chase, and I am delighted to find that feeling with a new-to-me author.
“I obnoxiously invited us along on your friends’ night out for the sole purpose of hearing you sing.”
She crossed her arms. “Good luck with that.”
“There’s nothing a little alcohol can’t fix. Plus, I’m infinitely charming and persuasive. Your stubbornness has no chance against my awe-inspiring powers.”
Ren gave an evil laugh and she rolled her eyes, but truth was she couldn’t help but be charmed. He did have that superpower. He put her at ease and guided her to places she’d never thought she’d go with a joke and a smile. Her friends were going to love him.
God, I loved this book. It tugged on heart strings I didn’t know I had, and I could barely tear myself away to…eat, sleep, work, you know, live my life. Loving You Easy is just delightful, easy to love and easily one of the best romances of the year.
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