Dark Lessons by Julia Sykes
Narrated by Fred Blogs and Lauren Sweet
Standalone BDSM Suspense Romance
I had no idea what to expect with Dark Needs by Julia Sykes. I was just going through the list of Wicked Book Weekend authors and seeing which ones had audiobooks available. Since she was the sponsor of our BDSM demonstration, I knew her books were BDSM romance, but that was all I knew.
When I started Dark Lessons, honestly, I was very “meh” about it. It seemed to traditional and almost old fashioned, if that makes sense, for a contemporary. It seemed like everything a traditionally published BDSM book was 6 years ago. It felt predictable; an amazing one night of sex and the handsome stranger turns out to be her instructor for Natalie’s first day at Quantico for FBI training. It also seemed like a beginner BDSM book, explaining the reasoning behind the submission a bit.
“Natalie’s submission was as addictive as the drugs I’d abused. Just as addictive and equally as dangerous.”
Jason was an agent who had a bad case that left him with some major PTSD causing him to become an addict. Add to that his abusive father was a high ranking official, and Jason was sent to Quantico to be a trainer until he cleaned up. Meeting Natalie was a complication he didn’t need, but one that brought out all of his dominant and protective instincts.
“She might not need rescuing, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t going to protect her.”
Still, it was a pretty tame book. The sex scenes were very beginner BDSM, and again, I was just feeling meh.
And then HOLY SHIT. Is this the same book?
DANGER. ACTION. SUSPENSE. Holy cow, this book totally turned around! It was almost like two completely different books! It had a dark turn to it, and a lot of twists and turns that were a little tough to follow on audio, but still kept me riveted.
- Well written.
- A completely surprising turn.
- The second half kept me riveted and my heart pounding.
- Good sexy times.
- Sometimes there was a well placed funny line that perfectly lightened an intense scene.
- I love a kickass heroine.
- The Jason Bourne type turn.
- The whole 1-night stand ends up being your teacher trope is so freaking overdone.
- The BDSM and romantic relationship felt very BDSM 101. Like this should be your first foray into this genre.
- He was a very gentle dominant and everything and the emotions behind it were explained a little too much.
- The writing and terminology felt like a safe, traditionally published BDSM book from 2011 at first.
- The second half where the suspense began was a little tough to follow.
I enjoyed both narrators. While neither are my hands-down favorite, I really have no complaints either. The voices fit the characters, and I think this story is just as good in audible as it would be if I read it.
The Down & Dirty:
Rating: 4 Stars, 4.5 Heat, 4 Narration
Purchase Dark Lessons by Julia Sykes