by Joely Sue Burkhart, contemporary (2009)
Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-582-5
Rae Jackson has a secret. Our heroine is trying to pull her family business after her ex-husband had made a mess of things, and she has scored a big contract that may just be the answer of her prayers. She will not just fix up the old house of Miss Belle, she is also given a contract to perform regular maintenance on that place once it's all fixed up and Miss Belle converts it into a bed-and-breakfast.
However, Rae doesn't want Miss Belle to know that, just five years ago, in the local college, Rae passed a test given by Miss Belle's son, Professor Verrill Connagher, with flying colors. The test involves bending over his table, rear end bared to his vigorous spanking. I tell you, we have come a long way from crayons to perfumes.
Having bared her moons to Conn five years ago, Rae was scared of the way Conn made her feel. Also, events in her life at that time caused her to opt to drop out of college. So while she had given him her heart, she decided to forgo the thousand-foot high letters in the sky for a tear-soaked note and an email instead, telling her dear sir that the time had come for closing books and ah, the long last looks and spankings must end.
You can guess, I'm sure, that Conn wasn't happy with how she ran out on him all those years ago, or that when they meet again, these two definitely have unfinished business between them.
Dear Sir, I'm Yours is a fascinating read. While this is marketed as an erotic romance with domination elements present in the sexual interplay between Conn and Rae, I don't find this story particularly erotic, to be honest. But I find this story a very compelling look into the characters' heads. The most memorable parts of this story are the letters to Conn that Rae had written but never sent to Conn. These notes are a beautiful showcase of Ms Burkhart's way with words - elegant, heartbreaking, without being too overwrought or melodramatic - as well as a fascinating doorway into Rae's head. These letters present a clear and often haunting story of Rae's in the last five years, and through these letters, I get to feel as if Rae is real indeed to me. Her relationship with her father adds a very nice gloss to the various facets of her personality.
As for Conn, he's intriguing. Sometimes he's crude and vulgar, sometimes he speaks as if poetry falls from his very lips. Then again, he's an English professor, heh. I would have never guessed that spanking and the poems of Percy Shelley go together so well until I meet this fellow.
If I have one complaint, it's the secondary characters, who can be quite obnoxious because they are way too obviously inserted into the story to act as blatant matchmakers and plot devices to drive the characters toward various appropriate episodes of epiphany. I'd have liked this story better if the author has given her main characters more breathing room to explore and discover their feelings for each other on their own.
Dear Sir, I'm Yours is a little rough around the edges when it comes to the development of the overall story, but it is nonetheless a story where the main characters' relationship dynamics and the author's prose capture my attention and hold it to the last page. I'd definitely be looking forward to reading more stories by this author.
This book at Amazon.com
This book at Amazon UK
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