by Layne Blacque, contemporary (2007)
Total-e-bound, £1.99, ISBN 978-1-906328-42-9

Whipped is part of a series called Sensual Mastery. Judging from the title of this story as well as the title of the series, I look forward to a story of some jolly BDSM fun.

Tara Drake has a contract with Leo Hanson. Leo, as a "consultant", will provide Tara, his client, with "disciplinary services". The contract, however, as a rather unusual clause:

The specific services to be provided to client by the consultant are as follows: Anything you can dream of. Except sex.

I doubt this contract will hold up in court, since anyone from Bill Clinton to Joe who runs the local porn shop down the street can argue until the cows come home what "sex" is or isn't.

Tara is a familiar heroine for a BDSM story. She is this prim and cool career woman by day, working with numbers, so she feels this need to be dominated by a man at night. That is where Mr Leo comes in for one hour a week. It doesn't take long before both parties begin to regret signing a contract with a no-sex clause.

Now I am not familiar first-hand with paddling and spanking and other BDSM fun so I am not the person to judge how authentic the scenes in this story are. The problem with this story is that with it being so short, these scenes are pretty much all the story has to offer. However, I am struck by how underneath their Dom and sub exterior, these characters are depicted as wanting something else. I am told, for example, that Leo works as a Dom only for the money. Often Tara will think to herself that she wants "more" with Leo. I can only assume that she wants "more" than the weekly discipline sessions that she has with Leo.

A part of me can't help wondering whether Leo really likes being a Dom. Since Tara supposedly enjoys being a sub - although she also wants "more", whatever that means - I wonder whether these two are really compatible in the long run. What happens when Leo reveals that all he really wants is a more conventional lover rather than a sub? Will Tara go, "Oh no, this is my boring ex-husband all over again!"?

Whipped is readable, although on the whole it's too short to be anything more than quick read for readers looking for some BDSM-themed erotic reading material. I do wonder though whether it would be better for Ms Blacque to have spent a few more pages letting me know what the characters really want in their lives and loves. BDSM isn't for everybody, so for me to believe that a couple in a D/s relationship will be happy together, ideally I should be convinced that these two really enjoy what they do with the paddles and whips. Whipped has me doubting the longevity of the relationship of these characters, unfortunately.

Rating: 63

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