Some things are meant to go together...
Peanut butter and chocolate.
Rodgers and Hammerstein.
Butch and Sundance.
Spanking and pregnancy...uh, not so much. Seriously. Not a good idea.
Second Chances (a contemporary, spanking erotica) has a laundry list of problems, not the least of which is ending a spanky erotica with a pregnancy. The funny thing is....despite all of these problems, I still really enjoyed the book.
First, let's start with the duds....
- copious grammatical errors--usually the kiss of death for me
- unlikable heroine...she's whiny and bratty, has a horrible self-image because of her size
- jarring POV changes; in general, not well-written
- after a fairly concise storyline, the author decides to throw in a dead baby, emotional meltdown (by hero), marriage proposal, marriage and pregnancy at the end of the book...all that was missing was the dead body in the library
- the spanking theme crossed the boundary (for me) from acceptable to uncomfortable
In spite of all of this, it also has a wonderful and romantic premise that I adore in romance novels. The heroine is a big girl, and the hero loves her, worships her, protects her, takes care of her, and lusts for her (and spanks the holy crap out of her, too...but let's not go there just yet). After reading Night Play by Sherrilyn Kenyon, I became a fan of "curvy girl" heroines....not all women are a size 2, and I like to see big girls get the guy for a change.
It's not really about the size. It's about the love. Regardless of the hero (or heroine's) flaws (too big, too small, war-injured, illegitimate, unfortunate tendency to turn into a werewolf when the moon is full, etc etc), I want the heroine (or hero) to fall madly, deeply in love, to see beyond the physical imperfections and find the true beauty of her (or his) soul-mate's being. This is a very, very romantic theme, and I personally love it.
Chance, the hero in this story, is a fabulous guy. He is patient and protective; he doesn't let Holly get away with belittling herself, he is sexy and domineering, and....did I mention patient? The freakin' guy waits ONE WHOLE FREAKIN' YEAR to be reunited with Holly after making a stupid mistake. He loves her just the way she is. He is a gem, and the perfect romance hero. (Well, except for the spanking thing....hee hee!).
Now....onto the spanking thing. I love a good fictional spanking as much as the next guy. In my mind, spanking is an extension of the alpha male exerting dominance over his woman...caveman-ish, but also sexy. One good swat on the fanny, then a lusty bout of love-making is always welcome. However, when the spanking crosses over into inflicting real pain....I have a problem with it.
This is my own personal opinion. I realize many folks are digging the whole BDSM thing right now, but in my mind, a true hero doesn't hurt his mate. I'm not really interested in diving into the whole psychological platform for this sort of behavior.
I just don't find hurting someone sexy. That's it. And I definitely think if an author is going to go that route in a book, then there shouldn't be any kids, pregnancies, etc etc. Call me crazy, but BDSM and carpools in the minivan seem like a strange partnership to me. I was about 75% okay with the spanking sitch in this book, but there was one scene that focused a lot on welts, pain, etc that made me cringe.
So, I have a lot of conflicted feelings about this book, but the bottom line (pun totally intended) is that I liked it. I'm giving it a B/B- grade (3.5 stars on goodreads). In spite of all of the problems, I loved the hero, and I loved how much he adores his big, beautiful soul-mate.
Pondering the Prevalence of Paddles,