BLOG REVIEW: Striking a Balance by Jennifer Bene

Heroine used to have a lackluster & ordinary life as a office temp employee.
But since she was abducted by her building's security guard and forced to submit to him for their sex-slave business,
her life totally changed. At her auction, she's instantly drawn to an intent bidder Hero, 
who was willing to buy her at whatever cost. Despite the aggressive protestations of her BDSM((bondage & discipline sadism & masochism) trainer to keep her with him,  
she's sold to wealthy British businessman Hero, her new Master.
Early-30s Hero dominates her like she'd become accustomed to.
Yet he gives her the freedom & tenderness she never had with her former trainer.
As well as a posh lifestyle and promise of freedom.
Her over-dependence on him and her persistent social phobia
eventually becomes a problem for Hero. To save their relationship, she agrees to get therapy and a more balanced BDSM training at his friend's facility.
Only to be halted by news of Hero's car accident. What happened to Hero? How does his accident impact her progress? 

I ended up skimming the last half of this book. Why?

1.) I was disappointed with who the Hero turned out to be in this book series.
 I was absorbed with book 1 & hoped things turned out different for heroine & her abductor, the security guard (click here for my book 1 review). But this book solidified the fact that the British businessman who bought her at the auction was the Hero of this book series, and not the security guard. My time & emotional investment in book 1 seemed like a waste, after realizing that heroine was supposed to be with another man. I basically checked-out emotionally from this book by the 1st 15% of the book. So, my reading experience felt meh just because of Hero turned out to be.

2.) Too much focus on sex. 
The first 50% of this book is mostly about heroine & Hero's sexual relationship. We do find out that Hero was a nice man who liked the BDSM lifestye. He was kind & sensitive to heroine's needs, offering her freedom upon meeting her. He wanted a willing submissive but bought heroine anyway because he was taken with her, after watching the 24/7 video surveillance of her with her former BDSM trainer. Yet, page upon page of them smexxing this way & them smexxing that way. 

Hero's concern for heroine's panic attacks & over-dependency on him became an issue. But it was touched upon in between their sex sessions. 

3.) Sharing.
I don't like to read about Hero or heroine' sexual experiences with others in my romance novels. When there's sexual sharing of any kind, I'm out. That's the main reason why dominant Hero as caring, generous, & understanding as he was with heroine couldn't revive my interest in this book series. Heroine was with another man in book 1, who I thought was going to be the Hero of this series. They went through a lot together, many confusing emotions. I had my emotions invested in that romance turning around into a redemptive kind of love. But that's not how it turned out to be. So, in this book, heroine is with another man & going through another set of emotions for him. It's like sharing to me. Sharing of her body, feelings, thoughts, & life. I like monogamy in every way in my romance novels. Two Heroes (even if 1 was a pseudo-Hero) who she thinks she might be in love with & who she's multi-orgasming with is just too much for me.

By 50% of this book, heroine goes to the safe BDSM training facility & therapy program ran by Hero's good friend. But

       ------------SPOILERS: Don't read below if you don't want to know the book's details-----------

heroine's balanced BDSM training includes Hero's friend seeing her naked & touching her sexually. With Hero's consent and with Hero sometimes observing it & getting turned on by it. That's when I started skimming this book. I don't find any of this sharing business romantic in any way. Although she doesn't actually have sex with his friend, she did have a very detailed dream (about 3-4 pages worth) of her having sex with him & Hero at the same time. Uh, no.

       -----------------------------------------------------------END SPOILERS------------------------------------    

There's sexual voyeurism involved as well, with a bunch of other doms & submissives in training. It's not my cuppa.

I limitedly recommend this book.

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