Lighting Crotch Is Best Crotch

His House of Submission (Mischief Books) - Justine Elyot
Jesus, what was happening to me? Lightning bolts, electricity up and down my spine and all over my skin. As for my crotch, I could barely sit still, it felt so full of sparks.

Because when you think about it, a book is never smutty enough until some form of crotch power takes centre stage.

But it really wasn’t that bad. It made no effort in stepping out of the box, there was no secret life-threatening disease, no psychoanalysis to rationalise the spanking, no debt to be paid off by the heroine to the billionaire hero. It was just about two people who just liked a bit of spanking on the side with their sex.

Jasper Jay is a film director who likes collecting things with historical value and Sarah has been hired to catalogue said artefacts. Sarah not-so-accidentally stumbles on his secret collection of rather kinky items which led to an unexpected confession from her boss which of course leads to them having lots of kinky sexytimes.

I make no claims that this offers any complex perspective on the BDSM lifestyle or any depth to either Sarah or Jasper Jay beyond what the blurb says. The exploration of the Dom/Sub dynamic was shallow at best and the actual BDSM scenes weren’t particularly innovative. There’s a secondary character that was made out to be the token bad guy because there really wasn’t much of a conflict in the story. I thought it was going to stem from Sarah’s inability to derive pleasure from vanilla sex because she’s too distracted with her concerns of pleasuring her partners but that issue was never to be heard of again once Jasper Jay was in the picture. What took its place was quite lame actually and the entire struggle that followed felt rushed and meaningless.

But something about it worked for me. Maybe its the unapologetic, straight out smuttiness of it. Maybe because while the characters had very little depth, they remained true what they’re supposed to be and consistent in what little they had to offer. Sarah is a history geek with repressed submissive tendencies, while fantasizing about Jasper Jay, she masturbated with a razor strop, A Mid-Victorian Era strop.

Oh ,what the bloody hell was I thinking? The real strop, the antique, possibly worth a shedload of money, was pressed to my clit, all shiny and slick with my juices.

I grabbed a tissue and rubbed it clean, but when put to my face and sniffed, my scent and the leather were all mixed in one incredible sexual cocktail. What if I’d destroyed the delicate balance of the textile? Did I not know better than to masturbate with precious artefacts?

Obviously, there were some cheesy turns of phrases but that’s something to be expected from this genre. 

Jasper Jay is a former soap star who recently made a name in Cannes as a film director. So the description of being middle-aged, ultra-tanned with ultra-white teeth was quite horrid to imagine but at the same time something apt for his background. So definitely NOT going to be everyone’s next book boyfriend but I like that this made no compromises and found this bit of oddity refreshing. He even made me laugh sometimes. 

Their D/s relationship wasn’t as heavy as what I’m used to in this genre and it actually even sounds as close to mainstream as I can imagine. It’s not in Tiffany Reisz’ realm but it’s not Fifty Shades either. Even if it name drops FSoG in a moment of self-awareness, I suppose. 

So not something I’d probably recommend to anyone missing their kinky reads but not something I could admit to outright hating either.

”A summer of submission,” he said. “I know I sound heartless.”
”I don’t think you’re heartless,” I said. “But you have to accept that other people have hearts too. And they sometimes give them to you.”
"Keep them," he said. "I don't know what to do with them."

That, I could openly admit, to hurting my brain.

ARC provided by HarperCollins (Mischief Books) thru NetGalley in exchange for an honest unbiased review.