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Holding the Cards

(Nature of Desire #1)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  2,446 ratings  ·  189 reviews
Book 1 in the Nature of Desire series.

Lauren is a successful doctor with a healthy attitude toward sex, unashamed of her proclivities as a sexual dominant. She wants love and a family, but she's beginning to believe there is no Mr. Right willing to stand by her in sickness and health...and be cuffed, stripped, and smacked with a riding crop.

Then her friend Lisette invites
Paperback, 256 pages
Published May 1st 2004 by Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc (first published January 1st 2002)
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Karin I would recommend her "Knights of the Boardroom" series.
They are what got me hooked on Joey W Hill. The first in the series is Board resolution, then …more
I would recommend her "Knights of the Boardroom" series.
They are what got me hooked on Joey W Hill. The first in the series is Board resolution, then they just get better and better....
I guess that you have already started with something though, as I see that you asked this question 3 months ago?
Happy reading.(less)

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Average rating 3.75  · 
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 ·  2,446 ratings  ·  189 reviews

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I had to replace my picture, November 23, 2012

Review completed October 7, 2012


Passion was a flower with a fragile bloom, easily collapsed by frost. It was fortunate that it also had strong roots, able to survive in darkness for lengthy periods without dying away completely. Under the heat of Josh's passion, the flower was opening.

First of all let me say that I'm sorry that I haven't read this story sooner. What a great read! There is one character in this book who I simply love t
Jan 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This book is completely unrealistic! Which is why I loved it so much!

White elephant, tree climbing, dancing, art, massages on the beach, making sand castles….and of course, it wouldn’t be a Joey Hill book without BDSM. Lauren is a Domme. I think this was my first Domme story I’ve ever read, and I really loved it.

My Lauren:

Messy fishtail

Lauren is escaping a heart-breaking break-up from a man who chewed her up and spit her out. She is spending a few days on an island. Soon after she arriv
UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish

Holding the Cards is the first book in the Nature of Desire series and while reading this story it hit me – Ms. Hill doesn’t write your average erotic stories meant to arouse the body, she writes tales meant to arouse the mind and heart, as well. Her stories make us think about why we are apprehensive about some things, while craving others. Or maybe more aptly put… why we’re apprehensive about the things we crave.

This book is a very emotional read, and honestly, I wasn’t expecting that. I thou
Lana ❇✾DG Romance❇✾
Jan 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lana ❇✾DG Romance❇✾ by: ~IreneOust~
3.5 Stars

I'll admit, female Dommes are not quite my cuppa. I was a little hesitant to read this one, but a friend recommended that I read this one before diving into Rough Canvas. Well I am so glad I let myself be convinced (take note, Irene, you won't hear this from me often LOL)

Joey Hill has a gift. She is able to take something as rudimentary as sex and weave it into almost poetic story telling. Cheesy sounding, I know. But true nonetheless. Her writing style is what continually draws me to h

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It's no secret that Joey W. Hill is my favorite author when it comes to all things erotic/BDSM. No one and I mean NOT ONE OTHER AUTHOR writes BDSM quite as sensual and full of feels the way Joey does it.

Having said that, there will be no pink furry cuffs or light spanking here so if you don't 'get' the whole dynamic of BDSM relationship and are easily offended by books such as 50 shades, this is NOT an author for you.

I have yet to meet a character of Joey's I haven't loved. Every one of them has
Mimi Smith
Mar 16, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: r
2.5 stars

What to say, what to say... *sigh* I just didn't get into this book, unfortunately. There were hot scenes aplenty, but the other scenes, where I should see H/h connecting, and falling in love, were lacking for me.

First, what I did like.

I liked Marcus, who is incredibly funny.
The hot scenes were, as I've said, hot.
The idea of one person holding the high card and people having the freedom to disregard their usual issues and problems and do what they want to do without over-thinking it.
Davina D.
Holding the Cards tells the tale of Lauren, a female Dom, who escapes to an isolated tropical island to try and heal a broken heart. It's been a while since she broke up with her "submissive" boyfriend, Jonathon, but somehow she hasn't been able to move on. Lauren's feelings of hopelessness is exacerbated by her anxieties about getting old and her instense longing to find love and have a family.

On the island she meets our hero, Josh, a beautiful tattooed stranger with secretive, vulnerable eyes
Mirjana **DTR - Down to Read**

**3.5 stars**

Joey's brilliant writing can make anything work. And although I'm on the fence about Lauren, my heart broke and healed for Josh. He really was the star of the book.

I was initially planning on skipping this book in the series, but was told to read it as my introduction to Marcus. So glad I got to meet him before I start Rough Canvas!
Xia Xia
May 08, 2018 added it
Shelves: no
It has happened. I can't take it anymore. It's not the story, it's not the characters, it's the writing. I started reading this in October 2017. One page per week. I broke down today.

As Elena and Teal were saying, life is too short for bad books.


Jul 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: x-2016, elib, contemporary
4.5 stars
Amber Rose
Aug 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bdsm, erotica, joey-w-hill
For more of my reviews click here

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There was an intimacy to a relationship between a Dominant and submissive that pulled on the elemental need for unconditional love and trust.

Why have I not read this sooner???? It has been on my to read list forever.....

This book will pull you in. Joey Hill's writing style is one of my favorites, and her BDSM scenes, she knocked it out of the park.

1 women and 2 men on a island together. Ohhh I know it is going to be good!

Lauren is a fe
Feb 01, 2013 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Awilk -never sleeps-
Joey W Hill has a beautiful writing style, and it suited this story so well.
I have read a couple of her vampire books, so I was willing to give this series a read, and I am so glad I did. This was a lovely romance, where two broken people helped each other heal. The story wasn't crowded with characters, which I enjoyed. I really got to spend my reading time with just a few characters who I got to really feel for. I will be reading more of this series, as soon as I find the money to buy them, and
Shannon The Show Stopper
Jun 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: buddy-reads

I started this series with Rough Canvas and so since I'm a fan of Marcus it was nice to get more of him. I also really like Josh and Lauren and I'm just an overall fan of Joey's. I'll be shocked if I read something I don't like that she's written.
BookAddict  ✒ La Crimson Femme
I've been a fan if Ms. Hill for a long time. I haven't read all of her earlier work and I'm slowing making my way to them. This is a 3.5 star for me. It's interesting to see Ms. Hill's growth in BDSM through her books. This earlier one is focused on more the relationship than the scenes. It's quite well done.

Here's a few quotes that really caught my attention.

“That’s how the game was meant to be played. Savoring, drawing it out, cherishing, never taking for granted the gift that has been given t
Jun 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: challenge-read
I always feel a bit badly rating less than three stars. I know this book/series really worked for a good number of people. Sadly, I'm just not one of them. So why? I came up with four main reasons...

First, aside from the sex, the main part of the plot was the re-telling of personal histories. Nothing really happened in real time except sex or situations that lead to sexual situations. I needed some real life stuff. It also didn't make sense to me that they shared their deepest hurts so quickly.
Jul 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes to read about interpersonal dynamics and likes erotic novels
Recommended to Sassafrass by: SheSwitches
This is books has a few firsts for me. This is my first foray into Femdom, my first book I've read by Joey W. Hill, and the first recommendation that I got from a friend that I really didn't think I was going to like.

Well, I was wrong on the last part. I absolutely LOVED this book. This book is highly sensual. It's not your average erotic novel where there's a new sex scene on every other page. This book truly delves into the mind set of a BDSM relationship. It was extremely engrossing and highl
Allison ❤️Will Never Conquer Her TBR❤️
3.5 stars. I read this book out of order in the series. After reading Rough Canvas, I absolutely loved Marcus. So I backtracked a book to this, where Marcus is first introduced. I didn't like this book near as much, however. This book is about Lauren taking a trip to an isolated island, meets up with submissive Josh ( whose best friend Marcus is also visiting). Literally the entire book encompasses two days. Crazy. Some spots got so boring with her thoughts of being a Dominant and "educating us" ...more
Apr 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dee by: Reanna Hanley
This is my first book by this author and I enjoyed it very much. It was well written and EDITED much to my delight.

I enjoyed the characters and the scenery, although at times I felt the story got bogged down with an abundance of description.

I would have rated it higher, but on a personal level I dislike books where a character constantly refers to her ex, as did the heroine in this story. I realise it was a necessary part of the story, so again this is just a personal thing.

My personal reading
May 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the best D/s I've read. Now I know why readers love the writings of Ms. Joey W. Hill it is amazing! Got me hooked reading the story of Lauren, Josh & Marcus, that I can't put it down and loss of sleep is so worthy because of this book! I think this is the beginning of my good book relationship with this author. ...more
~Stéphanie's Journal~
Too slow for me, too much anticipation, too psychological :/
I'll review it probably next week as I don't have a lot of time at the moment ;)
Dana aka ♥Belladonna♥
No idea what I'm going to rate this one. I'll have to think on it a bit... ...more
☾ Dαɴιyα ☽
A book with Lauren, Josh, and Marcus? There wasn't even the slightest chance I wouldn't like it.

I started this series out of order by reading Rough Canvas (though, to be fair, I did that last year when I read Natural Law). Normally, even when the books are standalones, I read them in order, but I don't regret it here at all. It worked out just fine. Marcus and Thomas were amazing, and the appearance of Lauren and Josh, what little I saw of them, and what was said about their history made me want
Reanna Hanley
Aug 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bdsm
Josh and Lauren came to the same island to fight inner demons, both have been in D/s relationships where things were definitely lacking. By the time they realize those relationships weren't right they have already lost faith in the ability to make it work again. The question is whether or not they can help each other?

This all started with a card game suggested by Marcus... High card wins and can ask anything of the others as long as they are all willing to play the game. Stakes are high as well
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: erotica
Wow! I don't give very many books 4 stars or more, because I don't want to diminish how good a 4 or 5 star book is by giving the rating out for every book that's a pretty good read. I thought Holding the Cards was something special. It's a D/s story, and I've never heard the emotional side of the relationship described so powerfully. This book made me want to go find a D/s club, not for blow-your-mind sex, but for the emotional connect that is described so well in this story. Even in Joey Hill's ...more
May Young
Sep 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
I can't wait to get started on the next book in the series. I've read several other erotica books but this is the first that not only excited me sexually but also stirred me emotionally. I really appreciate how the author was able to get more in-depth with the characters' emotional and psychological makeup and motivations. She did it so well that I couldn't help but empathize with them. The book wasn't filled with titillating sex scenes in every chapter but it wasn't a disappointment at all beca ...more
I'm embarrassed for the author.

Why do vanilla people imagine those who like to play are so weird? Here, it's believed that we use Shakespearean speech. Seriously, who talks like this? No one. Let me tell you. No one says, "Is he not beautiful?" Nor, "It symbolizes your willingness to be bound to me, obedient to me, for it is not my will that holds you, but yours." Nor, "Should you ever desire to cast away your bindings, then you need only break the chain..."

The florid dialogue, ornately purple
Apr 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written story! This really surprised me in this regard. This BDSM tale was richly woven with warmth, sincerity and love. At it's soul it was about finding healing in ones exceptance in their true nature and in finding it, a soul-searing love/friendship is bonded.
With such a small cast of characters and an equally small stage the poetic beauty of this love story unfolds exquisitely...Hill shows true artistry in her writing.
I'm an absolute sucker for the epic HEA in a really good tell
Jul 07, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: mmf
This is another of my one-star ratings that's only there because I didn't like it enough to finish the book. Not even halfway. So someone else who finished would be able to give a fairer review and rating.

Why I couldn't finish it? Too slow-moving. The same style and pacing that won me in the Nature of Desire failed me in Holding The Cards. After I abandoned it, I thought perhaps it was because I wasn't into gay romance so a year later I tried reading it again. Still no go.
*Ja'Mecha* ~Dhevious~
Jan 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: bdsm-medium
3.35322 Stars

I wanted to read this book after reading Rough Canvas. I wanted to see where the story began for Lauren and Josh. to be honest if I had picked this one up first I wouldn't have wanted to continue. the book was lacking something in the beginning and it picked up in the end.

if you are like me and want to know the rest of the characters at Marcus and Thomas's wedding this I say pick it up.

on to book 2.
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C.D.'s Canaries: Holding the Cards (NoD 1) BR 9/30/14 138 42 Oct 04, 2014 09:44PM  
Want to start a new series worth reading? 3 34 Jul 01, 2013 01:35PM  
Kindle Smut: Holding the Cards : Alt Smut September 2011 11 37 Sep 30, 2011 11:48AM  

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"BDSM Romance for the Heart & Soul"

Unforgettable alpha males and strong female protagonists are the hallmarks of Joey W. Hill's work in the contemporary and paranormal BDSM romance genres. She has everything from boardroom executives, cops and housemaids to vampires, mermaids, witches and angels. A submissive herself, Hill brings authenticity to her intensely emotional BDSM love stories.

With forty

Other books in the series

Nature of Desire (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Natural Law (Nature of Desire, #2)
  • Ice Queen (Nature of Desire, #3)
  • Mirror of My Soul (Nature of Desire, #4)
  • Mistress of Redemption (Nature of Desire, #5)
  • Rough Canvas (Nature of Desire, #6)
  • Branded Sanctuary (Nature of Desire, #7)
  • Divine Solace (Nature of Desire, #8)
  • Worth the Wait (Nature of Desire, #9)
  • Truly Helpless (Nature of Desire, #10)
  • In His Arms (Nature of Desire)

News & Interviews

  Mateo Askaripour is a Brooklyn-based writer whose bestselling debut novel, Black Buck, was published in January. It's been a Read with Jenna...
87 likes · 13 comments
“I have my limits, Lauren," he said, low. She knew it, could feel the caged beast hurling against his bars, knew how close he was.” 1 likes
“Lauren swallowed. "Lisette also told me... you weren't house-trained." He gave her a knowing look, but said only, "She had one out of two things right.” 0 likes
More quotes…