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Heidi Hart

By day, I'm a domestic violence prosecutor. By night, I read romance to restore my faith in love, relationships, and humanity in general. 

Let Your Freak Flags Fly

The Principle of Desire - Delphine Dryden

I've liked all three of Delphine Dryden's Science of Temptation series, and I think I liked this one the best. Beth is a switch who has recently left her Dom of eight years because he wasn't willing to let her explore her own dominant side. She meets Ed at a party hosted by Ivan and Cami (whom readers may recognize from The Theory of Attraction, book 1 of the series), but writes him off as a cute but klutzy dork after he spills a drink on her. Later, Beth joins Ivan, Cami, and the rest of the kinksters at their local BDSM club, and Ed unwittingly follows them there, having accidentally left his phone in Ivan's car. Ed is alarmed at the discovery that so many of his friends and neighbors are into kink, but he rolls with it. When Beth's ex-boyfriend shows up, Ed agrees to pose as Beth's sub and actually takes a whipping just to lend the ruse some authenticity (and of course it turns his crank more than he'd have guessed).

 

I found Beth and Ed more likeable than the main characters in the previous two books, and I wanted their story to last longer than it did. Beth isn't looking for a sub or a dom; she wants a playmate, and she and Ed switch things up in a way that is lighthearted and playful (though some of what they actually do is a little hard-core for my tastes). Their fledgling relationship is threatened, though, when Beth's ex comes back into the picture and breaks his leg, and Beth feels duty-bound to take care of him (which puts her back in the submissive pattern she'd only managed to get out of when she kicked him to the curb a few months back). The ex was such a jerk that his character was kind of cartoonish, and that's one of the things I wished had been more fleshed out in a longer story: I understand the lure of lost loves and familiar patterns, but Aaron was such a douchenozzle I had a hard time believing Beth would be even slightly tempted to go back.

 

Apart from the kinky sex and romance, the best part of this series is that Delphine Dryden isn't afraid to let her characters' freak flags fly: they play Dungeons and Dragons and read comic books and go to Comic Cons, and they're all delightfully, entertainingly geeky in the best way.