Title: The Deep End
Series: The Honey Series, Bk #1 - Standalone
Author: Kristen Ashley
Release Date: 3/7/2016

Enter a decadent sensual world where gorgeous alpha males are committed to fulfilling a woman's every desire…
Olivier isn’t sure what he’s gotten himself into when he joins the Honey Club, only that a dark part of him hungers for the lifestyle offered by this exclusive club. Here, no boundary will be left untested…and one's deepest fantasies will become an exquisite reality.
When Amélie invites Olivier to surrender, she gives the alpha submissive what he craves. Soon they both find themselves falling harder than they ever anticipated—but as their connection deepens, the truth about Olivier’s past could destroy everything…
Gripping and seductive, The Deep End is the first book in a sensational new series from bestselling author Kristen Ashley.
 For years, Kristen Ashley has been hailed as the queen of alpha romances. She's also often been described as somewhat of a formulaic writer, her stories, while all captivating in their own way, following a pattern of sorts that is distinctly Kristen Ashley. Enter: The Deep End. The blurb alone sent up giant red flags that this would not be like anything else this author has written before. And it's not. At all. THIS is KA taking her formula and kicking the crap out of it. With a riding crop. In a sex club.

Full disclosure: I had serious reservations about where this story would go. There's nothing in this life that I crave more than Kristen Ashley's all-male, take control, toss their women around in a sexy caveman way, crime-fighting alpha sex gods. So telling me that Kristen Ashley is going to hand me a story about a dominatrix and an alpha-sub? I couldn't wrap my head around it. In every single BDSM book I've ever read, the dominant is male. Every. Single. One. It's difficult for me to completely understand the BDSM lifestyle in general, but it's even more difficult to wrap my mind around a male submissive. Exponentially more difficult is wrapping my mind around a male submissive penned by Kristen Ashley. I know her men. I get them. I know what they like, how they act, how controlling and ridiculously alpha they are. Olivier is a character that struggles as much with giving over to his submissive side as I do with understanding it. Reading this story is a test. I just had to let go. Give in. Submit. I had to relinquish control to Kristen Ashley and trust that she knew what she was doing, that she could treat her readers with the care they need to fully succumb to this kind of story. It wasn't easy. I resisted. I repeatedly forgot the rules. But once you come to accept it, it's pretty freaking addictive.

The Deep End is seriously hot, seriously kinky, seriously intense. It's also heartfelt and romantic and unpredictable from start to finish. But, more, it's eye opening. It sends a strong message about taking what you want out of life, out of love, out of sex... because why wouldn't you? Life is short. Get yours. It's also about acceptance, about not passing judgement on what other people are into. The Deep End forces you to step outside the box. It demanded that I take what I've come to know and expect of Kristen Ashley's books and check it at the door. It demanded that I stop putting characters in boxes, stop assuming that because they're X, they can't be Y or Z. Tastes and limits and kinks and attraction mean different things for different people and this story is a huge lesson in acceptance and in embracing whatever makes you truly satisfied in every way you can be.

The Deep End is straight up erotic romance. It's fresh, it's exciting, it's incredibly addictive and unpredictable. It's a love story at heart but it's cloaked in the taboo, the tawdry, in deceit, in humor, in a complex web of emotional turmoil, envy, and desire. It's messy. It pushes boundaries. The deep end is dark, disorienting, a bit terrifying if you're used to swimming in the shallows. It's a story where you don't know up from down, where you're not sure how these characters will find their way out or what will come of them once they do. In The Deep End exists a world so foreign to me, I read in a constant state of discomfort, fascination, and rebellion. My own internal war held me completely ensnared. If there's more stories like this in the deep end of Kristen Ashley's repertoire, I'm eager to dive in.

Don't go into this book thinking it'll be just another KA novel. It's not that. This book made me uncomfortable because that's what the unknown is. This book is a book I'll probably blush just from thinking about for a good long while. And I will think about it... because you can't read this book and not think about it. I don't know what you've read, I just know what I've read, and this book scandalized me more than anything I've ever read before. I mean, anything. Ever. Maybe I'm a lot more sheltered than I realized. Or maybe this just goes there, pushing limits that even I wasn't prepared for. You'll just have to read it and decide for yourself.

Jessica's Rating:

She slid out of the booth with murmurings of “good night” and “have fun,” taking her stiletto-heeled-sandal-shod feet with the will of steel her mother had begun the process of instilling in her and her training as a Domme had completed.
She could not have her legs give out on her and she could not expose her nervous anticipation.
And she wouldn’t.
But, God, she had not felt like this in years. That sub she’d spied or she’d had who was so promising or such a transcendent experience to play with that she could barely control her own reactions to exploring that promise or again feeling the wholeness, togetherness, oneness with another. 
She moved in his direction, no game playing. She didn’t even glance at Stellan in his booth. 
Amélie didn’t participate in those games, not ever. There was no reason for her to be coy with a sub. 
And she moved with the gait and bearing that it was solely her mother who’d ingrained in her in the sporadic times they’d had together, doing it with an unrelenting fervor that it would take the threat of death to force her to move any other way. 
Chin up. Shoulders straight and slightly back. A sway of her hips so subtle, it was elusive. Long, confident strides.
Amélie could walk a catwalk.
She could also make a specimen she was approaching get so hard his cock was aching by the time she made it to him. 
She hadn’t even gone halfway when he sensed her approach and she was gratified that his response was instantaneous.
He pushed from the wall.  He turned fully to face her.  And she felt his eyes drop not with the respect a sub owed a Domme, but to take her in from sandals to hair.
Then his gaze locked on hers and he didn’t look away.
He didn’t look away.
He watched her approach not like he was taking the risky liberty he was taking but like it was his God-given right.
Amélie felt her clit quiver.
She arrived at him, stopping several feet away, knowing that the minute her body language made it clear she was going in for the capture, most eyes in the room, if not all, were on her.
She did not care about this.  Not that she’d ever care about this (which she wouldn’t), but because, now close to him, she found to her enchanted surprise, he was not big.
He was colossal.
A mighty beast.
A magnificent beast.
He was not six foot five.  He was six-six, more likely six-seven.  A mountain of compacted muscle encased in a very fine, very expensive suit.
Taking him in, in proximity, she wanted him more than she’d already wanted him.  She wanted no boundaries.  She wanted everything.  Her diverse skill set, experience, imagination, creativity, and if it came down to it, sheer determination and grit, she’d utilize it all to wring him dry in a way he’d contemplate murder in order to have the opportunity to come back for more.
She was on the verge of speaking when he did.
His direct gaze appreciative, and arrogant smile curving his full lips, he asked, “How you doin’ sweetheart?”
She froze.
Full eye contact. Speaking without being spoken to. Using an unconsented and unearned endearment.
The already damp gusset of her panties soaked to the point her wet crept up the silk of her front and back sides.
But her brows snapped together, her censure clear, and her lips ordered, “Follow me.”

Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA and nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn't taken her first breath!). Her mother said they took Kristen away, put her Mom back in her room, her mother looked out the window, and Gary was on fire (Dr. King had been assassinated four days before). Kristen's Mom remembered thinking it was the end of the world. Quite the dramatic beginning. 

Nothing's changed.

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana and has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus, she's blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her family was (is) loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. They all lived together on a very small farm in a small farm town in the heartland. She grew up with Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up. 

And as she keeps growing, it keeps getting better.


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