Consent is everything…and with consent, everything is possible.
Olivia has one wish—to find a partner who will do consensual non-consent scenes with her. She thought she’d found the perfect man, but he turned out to be more dud than Dom. When their relationship implodes, she moves out, and moves in with her friend Cade. He’s happy to have her, but living with him won’t be easy. It was easier to ignore her feelings for him, and the fact that he’d always been her ideal Dom, when she’d had a boyfriend. But he’d stopped doing CNC after a scene had gone wrong, so she’d set her sights elsewhere.
Cade has his own problems. He’s been in love with Olivia since they met, but when she started dating someone else, he put his feelings aside and focused on being her friend. But now that she’s single again, he’s not going to let opportunity pass him by. He’s happy to set her straight about his feelings on CNC play—totally still into it, but won’t do casual scenes—and more than eager to make all her kinky dreams come true.
Olivia finally has the kind of kinky relationship she’s always wanted, and her feelings for Cade only grow stronger as time goes on. But when her ex reappears to explain why he ended their relationship, she wonders if she’s mistaking her happiness with their CNC play for love—and worries that Cade might be doing the same…
Reader advisory: This book includes scenes of consensual non-consent, as well as RACK, role-play, sexual fantasy, blood play and rape fantasy.
Publisher's Note: The story told in this book begins on the same day that Sharing His Submissive ends, and before the events of Show Me Something Good.
Hannah has been reading romance novels since she was young enough to have to hide them from her mother, and decided to try her hand at writing one when she realized the book she really wanted to read lived in her head. That was a dozen years and as many manuscripts ago, and there are still more stories to be told.
She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband—former Special Forces and an OR nurse who writes fantasy fiction, and acts as In House Expert for his wife on matters pertaining to weapons, tactics, the military, medical conditions and How Dudes Think—and their daughter, who takes after her father.
Hannah loves to hear from readers, and will answer questions here on Goodreads.
CNC is really something I haven't come across before in any of the BDSM and kink books I've read. It is an extremely taboo and triggering topic, so I can see why authors would be leery of even mentioning it in their books. Its something that you would have to handle properly with care and Hannah Murray does so perfectly. Every scene where consent is given were well-written and clear. Not just the consent scenes between Cade and Olivia, but also the consent scenes with anyone who participates with them. There are no questions left in the air.
Now on to the romance... I loved Cade and Olivia. Their chemistry was off the charts. And bonus points, their chemistry doesn't revolve around their kink. It's an added element to their sexual relationship. I love their support group made of previous characters and one who I hope gets his own book soon. I loved everything about In His Hands and I happily devoured it in one delicious gulp. Now I need to go back and read the previous books in the series. What a hardship, right?
I received an advance copy. All opinions are my own.
I've only read one other book by Hannah Murray (Honey and the Hitman), but I love the way she weaves spice throughout a compelling story. And she did the same in this book. While the topic of consensual non-consent (CNC) is a sensitive one for many people, I was amazed at how beautifully she was able to portray this in a consenting relationship, full of open communication, trust, and care for the other person's safety and well-being.
The characters are compelling and well-rendered, and it was incredibly enjoyable to read how they interact and develop a closer bond. It portrayed the kink community beautifully, and the care and genuine friendships that can develop to provide support. While CNC isn't exactly an uncommon kink, it can be viewed negatively by many, especially when it isn't well understood. I loved the way that Murray provided POV chapters from both Olivia and Cade, so that we can get to know what is going on in both their heads.
There were even some funny aspects to the story, particularly in Olivia's conversations with her friends, and I caught myself chuckling more than once. And I can't write a review without talking about the spice in this story, because I was honestly worried that my kindle might melt. This is definitely a great addition to Murray's work, and I'm ready to get my hands on more of her work.
I’m not going to rate this book because I read it mostly to understand CNC and how it might work in a relationship. I’m not sure my questions were answered mainly because I don’t really get how you transition after scenes like the ones described here. And the book basically skipped over that part and would just hop to everything was cool between them.
But I do give the author props for writing such a taboo topic.
This is hands down the most intense consensual nonconsent I’ve ever read. When Olivia and Cade decide to do CNC, they go ALL IN. They’re friends with mutual crushes so there’s not much holding them back once Olivia finally wises up and leaves her boyfriend. Everything is pre-negotiated but it’s not all negotiated on page for the reader so we’re often surprised along with Olivia when a scene begins. (See content notes for more details. If you have any sensitivity around CNC or sexual assault, this is not one to go into lightly.) A few things would have been helpful to see them negotiate on page, like For the most part, however, I was really impressed with how consent and safety was prioritized and what sharing this kink meant to them. My one caveat is that it would have been helpful to know how or if arousal nonconcordance factors in to this type of play and what other clues partners look for to ensure everything is going as agreed upon.
Oftentimes, CNC is presented as a way for survivors to work through things but that’s not true for Olivia. We’re not told how she became interested in this kink, only that she’s had a hard time finding anyone who will do it with her. Cade has done CNC in the past but decided it works best in committed relationships. It works out pretty well that they both have had crushes on each other and they can just do the thing. That’s not to say they don’t have to work through insecurities or figuring out communication. But they at least know their kinks are aligned. Cade is very thoughtful in the ways he takes care of Olivia and plans all their scenes.
There were some continuity errors in terms of how long they’ve actually known each other. Related: they’re good enough friends that she has the security code for his house and doesn’t need to ask first if she can move in when she leaves her boyfriend…but he didn’t know that her parents died when she was 17. That didn’t add up for me. Nor did Olivia moving in with her ex after six months of mediocrity. What about Kyle would have ever inspired moving in together?! She would have benefited from therapy to explore why she overlooked red flags just because she wanted to try CNC. I also wasn’t keen on Sadie’s fixation on Cade’s penis. Maybe that’s normal in their group of friends or what their BDSM scene is like but the degree felt weird and invasive.
One thing I didn’t expect was how thoughtful this was about Cade’s sobriety. We don’t get many details about his alcoholism but he attends meetings and meets up with his sponsor to discuss how having Olivia around and doing this type of play could affect him. While Olivia drinks alcohol when she’s with friends, it’s never at the house or during their dates and nobody makes a big deal about it. It was great to see.
Characters: Olivia is a 33 year old white physical therapist. Cade is a bisexual biracial Portuguese American construction company owner. He has a cat named Phoebe.
Content notes: MMC is sober, past kink-shaming, past death of FMC’s parents (house fire), top drop, Master/slave contract (from ex), on page sex, D/s, consensual nonconsent (includes scenes involving ), MFM menage, pain play, consensual physical assault, knife play, impact play, degradation play, forced orgasm, orgasm control, skeleton masks during sex, phone sex, masturbation, alcohol (not when MMC is present), marijuana references (secondary character), gendered pejoratives, ableist language
So this book features consensual non-consent, or rape fantasy scenes.
The hero and heroine are both very experienced with BDSM. They negotiate everyone via checklists before they "play" together.
The hero has been in love with her for years but she was with a different guy and living with that guy so he couldn't make his move. That guy dumps her brutally because he didn't want to do the consensual non-consent.
SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER
They act out a home invasion scene where he ties her up and does whatever he wants to her, a date rape scene where she invites the guy in for a cup of coffee and he forces her, a scene where she has stolen diamonds and 3 guys interrogate her and force her to try to get her to tell them where the diamonds are. Things like that.
I was upset that the hero shared her with other guys. 3 guys had sex with her during the group sex scene. They were both excited by it but he made a big deal about how he loved her for so long and then he's sharing her?
The hero is recovering alcoholic who goes to AA meetings. He is part Filipino and part Brazilian.
If CNC (consensual non-consent) is not your thing, then you will want to stay far (far) away from this one. Like, don't even look at the cover and back up twenty paces. Forget you were ever here.
No shit, this book is INTENSE.
If, however, CNC is totally your bag (as it is mine), then chances are this will be like mainlining all your dirty fantasies and snorting a few you didn't know you had for good measure.
What makes this book so successful is the genuine care shown towards Olivia by Cade. There's no getting around the fact that what they do together is incredibly full-on. And that it has the potential to go totally custard-shaped. But Cade navigates the very murky and tricky waters with skill and, yes, compassion.
The play is done extremely well, doesn't hold back, and, crucially, shows what positive R.A.C.K.-aware CNC can look like. There's no shaming here. Just a beautifully dark celebration of a kink that won't be in everyone's wheelhouse but deserves to be treated with sensitivity and respect.
Jack? Hot. Really, really (really) hot. And terrifying. The kind of sadist I only want to meet on a page. Maybe. :)
This is definitely the most taboo book I’ve ever read! If you’re into CNC, dark and dirty romance, you will love this. It’s well written and you can tell the author is passionate and knowledgeable about the subjects she writes about, and she definitely handles everything and everyone with care. It makes me happy to see there are books like this to make a safe space for the community who will enjoy them. While this particular subject matter wasn’t exactly my jam, I really enjoyed the characters and am super intrigued by some of the other stories in this series!
Wow-that was intense. CNC definitely feels like a varsity level kink and I thought it was don’t really well here. It wasn’t new to either character and the consent and discussion was well done. Admittedly I skipped the chapters with the group scene, but that’s a me issue and not a knock against the book. But skipping those chapters didn’t feel like I was missing much plot-wise either. The ending made me shed a happy tear too. 😢
4.5 This is a book that if you don’t enjoy the kink obviously you won’t love the story. It was a well written story, love Olivia and Cade (again, Sadie and Jack please!! 😩) and shout-out to not having a stupid ass third act breakup. The kink was just a little intense for me but I really love how Murray just continues to handle the topics in her books with such care. So, 5 stars just for that.
All right. I’m gonna get right to it and say that I DO NOT like CNC. At all. None of it. Ever. Never. However; this author wrote such a great story that I sort of skimmed over those parts and found that I loved the other parts SOOO MUCH! A great book and an even better love story.
hot and tender the same way i like my hotdog jk,,,,, i know this is not everyone's cup of tea. hell. i even thought it wasn't mine. i just really liked the dynamic of their relationship outside the scene and how much consent was highlighted in the entire book
This might be the best CNC book I've ever read. Hannah Murray explained the whole dynamic very well and wrote a non toxic book. I loved it. Thank you. People really need to see the real thing about bdsm.
I've been following this author for a while now and with each book, she surprises me again with the very careful yet sensual and beautiful way she portrays different aspects of kink. So when offered a chance to review In His Hands, featuring consensul non-consent scenes, I didn't hesitate, even though I expected it to be tough for me to read. Not so! Ms Murray did it again and delivered an awesome story of two people who should have been together ages ago finally getting their chance at HEA, including the fullfillment of their deepest desires. The scenes between them are hot and graphic, yet the care and careful consideration of her safety and well-being coming through loud and clear. Telling the story from both Cade's and Olivia's POV adds insight and helps with the overall positive portrayal of their interactions. Along with the spice, there are quite a bit of nice, even funny instances with their respective friends as well as his family. An awesome addition to her Perfect Taboo series and a definite keeper. I'm eager to find out what's next!