I've loved romance novels since...like forever. I read across most subgenres of romance. I also write fantasy/paranormal and new adult romance.
This was my first Charlotte Stein book and I will definitely be reading more from her. Wowza! It was sexy, funny, awkward, and had these sweet moments, totally unlike anything I've read lately.
Control is a contemporary BDSM erotica about Madison, a "naughty" bookstore owner, and Gabriel, her new employee. They explore their D/s relationship, with Maddy as the Domme and Gabe as the sub.
**Yay for female Dommes! There should be more of them in Romancelandia. Ahem.**
Their romance builds slowly as Madison discovers more about the shy, buttoned-up Gabe. Her attentions, for really, she does center most of their scenes around his fantasies, enable him to open up a side he had kept hidden. This may sound strange, but it was delightful. Gabe is truly adorable, possibly even adorkable. For me, I really like the consent to be explicit and in this case it was. I also liked how Maddie may have had some intuitive sense of things Gabe liked, but she also based much of what they did on what he indicated (I won't spoil it totally.) to her. So we weren't subjected to an all-knowing Domme. (Although, to be fair, those are usually, annoying all-knowing-doms.)
Stein's voice is perfect. Since it is in first-person, we know what Madison is thinking about what is going on between her and Gabe. She is bold, but slightly self-effacing. At one point, she realizes that she's the quirky friend who gets to have crazy sex (vs the envious heroine). She's a different kind of heroine. I like them like her: strong, bold, and (gasp!) sexually experienced. Maddie's reactions to Gabe are hilarious, both what she can control and how she just let's go. Of course I loved how he treats her. Gabe has her figured out too, at least on a couple of levels.
It was crazy, it was sexy, and I am thrilled to have found a new author! Woo!