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Unrestrained by Joey W. Hill
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really liked it
bookshelves: joey-w-hill, erotica-or-erotic-romance, being-mature-is-sexy

4.5 intense (view spoiler) stars.****Review completed December 8, 2013

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Athena is having a drink and a little chat at the BDSM club Release when an impressive, dark-dressed man catches her eye. Having been a Mistress to her late husband, the thought of going down on her knees for a Master she'd just seen for the first time doesn't startle her that much because deep down in her heart she knows that she isn't a natural Mistress. She loved making her deceased husband happy by being his Mistress and giving him what he wanted and needed. However, she longed to explore the other side of the coin by being a sub herself. When Athena leaves the club and needs to refuel her car, a guy is assaulting her. Lucky her, the mysterious man is not too far away and rescues her. His name is...

"My name is Dale. Dale Rousseau.”
“Rousseau.” She smiled, eyes still closed. The warmth of the car was making her drowsy. Her trembling had stopped. Things were slowing down again, the fog returning. ‘Nothing is less in our power than the heart, and far from commanding, we are forced to obey it’.”
“Intriguing choice. ‘To live is not merely to breathe; it is to act; it is to make use of our organs, senses, faculties—of all those parts of ourselves which give us the feeling of existence’.”
“A Master who knows his Rousseau. Thank you, Dale."

Dale is a former SEAL, gardener, dog trainer and junkyard operator. And let's not forget that he's also an extraordinary and rigorous Master.

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Dale and Athena are having an insightful conversation and come to an agreement.
He reached down, brushing a finger underneath the wisps of hair across her forehead. “It’s interesting where you ended up, isn’t it? On your knees?”

She tensed, but his tone made it a neutral observation. He wasn’t mocking her. “Does that have anything to do with what you want to ask me?”

“Yes. Maybe.”

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Unrestrained is a beautifully developed story about grief, exploring needs and desires and a second chance at love. I believe that grieving never stops (why, Athena, we are so on the same page). Over time, however, it changes its form and intensity.

“Are you ready for this, Athena?” Dale spoke in a low voice. Not interrupting her memories as much as stepping into the room and taking her hand. Prepared to lead her out of it, back to the present. “Or are you still grieving?”
“I don’t think you ever stop grieving someone you loved for so many years,” she said. “You learn how to make his memories part of your life, how to interweave them into your future, rather than letting them hold you down in the past. That’s what I’m ready to do.”

When you lose a loved one then you have the right to move on because life doesn’t stop either. You have the right to let go of your disguise and seek your own happiness because you don’t need to meet anyone’s expectations except your own. What is it that you truly want? It is all right to be sad and feel lonely or alone. It is all right to take as many months or years you need to work through the worst of your grief. It is all right to be afraid but it is also all right to fall in love again and to lean on someone’s shoulder. Also, it is all right to live out your fantasies, desires and needs. By doing that we don’t tarnish our past as long as we honor the memory of that person we loved and lost. Every action, every relationship gain a certain momentum which you simply can’t control. In fact, isn’t that very positive because sometimes it’s best to let yourself drift in the direction that was meant for you before you were even aware of what would happen? Maybe it’s called fate. In this context I need to get something off my chest. It didn't happen in Unrestrained yet I'd like to express how much I’m getting irritated with human beings who point their finger at grieving people, saying things like ‘Why, she/he only lost her/his partner a few months or a couple years ago and now she/he is in love again so soon?’ There are people in my periphery who act this way. Who are we to judge how much time anyone needs until they want to move on? We have no right to do that. I must confess that I’m pretty emotional as I’m writing this and it’s all Joey’s fault. She brings out the best and worst in me. Reading her books reduces me to an emotional mess. *sniffles*

I LOVED that Roy was such an integral part of Unrestrained. It’s obvious that he was is still very present in Athena’s life. He always will be no matter what. In any event, having been married and in love for twenty years won’t be forgotten only because he isn’t here anymore. Besides, I think that Unrestrained is as much of an (erotic) love story as it is a sign for Athena to move on, to say a final good-bye to Roy and to explore and embrace her submissive tendencies. Athena is an accomplished businesswoman. She is used to being in control and it’s not easy for her to give up the reins.

“You’re self-disciplined and selfless, and being both of those things takes a powerful will,” he observed. “Anyone who doesn’t really understand what a Dom and sub are about, would find it hard to believe you’re not really a Domme. What we are deep inside is often the opposite side of what we show to others. Deciding to reveal that, explore it, brings balance. Are you seeking balance, Athena?”
“Yes.” She looked down at his hand. He’d spread out his other fingers so they rested between hers. Just his fingertips, the curved digits above like a cage holding her hand there, a restraint she willingly accepted.

It was amazing to see how she struggled and brought her choices into question. She had such a hard time of letting go of one relationship and move into another, different one. Nothing is ever black and white, after all, and there are so many shades of grey in between. In the end, however, when all the shields are down it's about trust and taking the final step over the edge. And knowing there will be someone waiting who will catch you with strong and steady arms. What I really could rely on was the fact that she wasn’t in the game for something casual. And while Athena wanted to explore her needs, their relationship showed that you can’t exclude emotions. Only a couple of detached sessions weren't in the cards for her, not by long shot ---> talk about a situation gaining its momentum.

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"Too fast?" she asked. Had he read her mind, or did he share her concerns?
"Can't tell. It moves like it moves. The trick is to make the in-between time quick, but draw out every moment like this"--he leaned down, kissed her again, proving the point by keeping the kiss going long enough she was breathless when he was done--"so it feels like the kind of forever you want. Then you have no regrets."

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Dale is a very charismatic hero. He has a firm hand, a stern mouth, a sharp mind and he's very possessive and doesn't like to share his woman. He's a man’s man who exudes a commanding presence and sex appeal as all get out. In fact, Dale is an absolute sight for sore eyes. He truly enjoys to “punish” as much as he likes to soothe. Boy, Dale can dish out an incredibly mean spanking that made me cringe now and then. Yet he throws so much perception, understanding, humor, empathy and tenderness into the mix that you simply can’t resist that man. While I'm writing this I’m still salivating and swooning over him. I really, really did appreciate that Dale was physically (view spoiler) and I loved to see how vulnerable he felt of being exposed. Silly man, don't you dare do that to yourself. I get it, he is a proud man and dealing (view spoiler) isn't easy. Yet it's an integral part of Dale but also one that doesn't define him. It goes without saying that Joey writes the absolute best and most insightful and scrumptious BDSM heroes. Ever.

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The link to a song:

(view spoiler)

Minor quibbles
I really must be honest here, the endearment girl did not work for me. At. All. I don't see the forty-six-year-old successful, sexy and mature business woman as a girl. However, I loved it when Dale called her woman. Also, I downright melted when she was his sweetheart and Athena worked just fine for me as well.

I could have done without the (view spoiler) That was actually my biggest issue of the entire story.

Now let me say something about Dale that really bugged me. The man is so incredibly stubborn when it comes to (view spoiler) Athena wanting to take care of him doesn't equate to (view spoiler) for Pete's sake! Only at the end of the story did he relent a little bit because what she said to him made him think. Also, while I honestly hoped he would (view spoiler) I knew that was simply wishful thinking. I seriously doubt that he will ever do such a thing. Well, maybe in another lifetime…who knows?

And last but not least I would have loved to read an epilogue because seeing them a few months down the road would have been the icing on the cake.

Now back to the good stuff
What I also liked very much was that palpable balance that went through the entire story like a golden thread: intensity interchanged with calmness. The rigorous and stirring BDSM play did alternate with calmer interludes. I liked that Dale and Athena shared more than sex. They spent time together, they dated, they watched movies, and they had a good time with a bunch of kids. Make no mistake though, this is a difficult, emotionally intense ride and the BDSM elements are very strong. Yet I experienced enough situations that helped to steady and balance me.

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I guess it says a lot about me that my favorite scenes were those where they had vanilla sex. Their shared intimacy during those moments meant so much to me. And of course I LOVED their passionate and sensual kisses. It's confession time, right? I actually read and love Joey's books because of her evocative and truly splendid writing. Her books provide so much depth and I feel a strong emotional connection to the characters that I can't help and fall in love with them over and over again. I honestly don't read her stories for the sake of the BDSM elements. Besides, some of the scenes in Joey's books are clearly too much for my humble vanilla nature. I know that Joey won't be offended when I say that I highly disliked Ben in Hostile Takeover. We are all entitled to our opinion and preferences, after all.

I share my absolute favorite scene of the entire book together with the author. I'm so glad we feel the same way about this particular scene. However, I can't write down the entire scene because it's several pages long. Suffice it to say it was utterly beautiful in its intensity and made me a bit teary eyed. So, when he offered her a special gift and (view spoiler) I was so happy! *butterflies in my belly* BTW, he looks absolutely (view spoiler) *swoon*

(view spoiler)

He gave her one of those deep kisses, soothing her trembling by banding his other arm around her, pushing her to her back, his chest a solid weight against hers.
Those emotions flooded her, increasing the pressure beneath her rib cage, the aching in her throat. She couldn't say it aloud, not trusting it.
I'm falling in love with you. I love you.

Unrestrained shows what a master craftswoman Joey is. It is not for nothing that I consider her the best BDSM author. No other writer leaves me in awe and breathless and in an emotional heap like she does every time I’m reading one of her books. Kudos to Joey who did it again. I guess words fail me to express properly how I feel about her evocative writing. Unrestrained depicts a fierce love story between two special characters. Thoughtful dialogue, a compelling narrative and more than enough titillating sex and love making complement this story.

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Unrestrained contains very explicit sex (incl. oral and anal) and language, toys, bondage, plenty of severe spanking, and a public play scene at the club Release. There is no ménage though. Still, it's not for the faint of heart.

It should be a pane of glass, not a mirror. Love is about seeing one another clearly through everything and accepting each other. (…) It's not a closed circle unless you can give as much as you're given.

This is for you, Dale…
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Recommended read.

Buddy read with my lovely friends Kels, Nicole and Glam. Thank you, ladies! xxx
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Reading Progress

July 17, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
July 17, 2013 – Shelved
July 17, 2013 – Shelved as: joey-w-hill
Started Reading
December 1, 2013 – Finished Reading
December 2, 2013 –
page 0
0.0% " photo tumblr_mubnib9KQY1qgq3d6o2_400_zps6399b021.gif\n Tomorrow is release date of Unrestrained! Buddy read with my lovely friends Kels, Glam and Nicole (and a few others)! Let's get wet, ladies! *waves*"
December 3, 2013 –
page 112
26.92% ""I like to think we live in a world where both can exist. When you hold on to your fantasies and dreams, your perception of the real world is transformed by them. Whether you achieve them or not, holding on to that magic gives you a different way of viewing everything. A better way, I think." \n Dale twined a lock of her hair around his hand, knuckles brushing her face. He was good at that, mixing tender gestures… <33"
December 3, 2013 –
page 150
36.06% " photo Bildschirmfoto2013-12-03um201034_zps6bd38bee.png\n "I'm sorry, Athena. You shouldn't be apologizing because I was being a bastard. (…)"I've never Mastered a woman without XXXXX to stand on. I wasn't prepared to be that exposed." Dale, I love you! <3"
December 4, 2013 –
page 228
54.81% " photo db36918c-0e49-4646-8ddd-60a617e63653_zps1ad6b650.jpg\n I sound like a broken record but all I can say is that I'm lovin' it!! Dale…gosh, no need to say anything at all… <333333"
December 4, 2013 –
page 295
70.91% " photo 42ee4f61-8271-432e-8c2b-863022ed9012_zpsb26492d6.png\n I'm doing the happy dance here! It's freaking amazing!! This was such an intensely beautiful scene…*big, big, big sigh*"
December 5, 2013 –
page 416
100.0% " photo tumblr_m6ktnt2b2y1qaozevo1_500_zps84303bf4.gif\n I've had a couple minor issues but otherwise I loved it! Dale is scrumptious! <3"
December 8, 2013 – Shelved as: erotica-or-erotic-romance
December 8, 2013 – Shelved as: being-mature-is-sexy

Comments Showing 1-50 of 95 (95 new)

message 1: by Kelly| Just Another Horror Reader (last edited Jul 17, 2013 02:12PM) (new) - added it

Kelly| Just Another Horror Reader Woo-Hoo!!! Can't wait to read more JWH with you guys!!!! <3

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Is this part of a series, Baba?

Baba  UniquelyMoi *Dhestiny* BlithelyBookish wrote: "Is this part of a series, Baba?"

No, Dhes, it's a standalone title. Even Joey said so. :)
Though I must say that Dale has been introduced in Willing Sacrifice and it was worth reading. :)

Baba  SueBee★bring me an alpha!★ wrote: "Enjoy ladies!"

Thanks, Sue. :))

Baba  Kelly wrote: "Woo-Hoo!!! Can't wait to read more JWH with you guys!!!! <3"

Same here, Kels! I'm already on pins and needles. :)) xxx

message 7: by Purva (new)

Purva Happy Reading, ladies! :)

Baba  Sonia ღ wrote: "Happy Reading, ladies! :)"

It's not out yet, Sonia. But thank you. :))

~IreneOust~ Can't wait for this one! And just in time for my big 4-0!!! Yippee!!

Baba  ~ Irene ♥s ~ Søren ~ Ben O'Callahan ~ Joe Callahan ~ Javier ~ wrote: "Can't wait for this one! And just in time for my big 4-0!!! Yippee!!"

Same here! I'm on pins and needles. I also read the second chapter which was great too! :)

Duchess Nicole I may need hand

Baba  Duchess Nicole wrote: "I may need hand"

Lol No worries, I'll be there to hold your hand, Nicole. Although I doubt that this story is going to be hardcore BDSM. I don't think so. :)

Rosalinda *KRASNORADA* Great quotes and visuals, Baba. Hope you enjoy, looking forward to your updates ;) x

Christine Wallflower & Dark Romance Junkie Awesome review Baba!!!

Geri Reads Enjoy, Baba! Looking forward to your review!! :)

Duchess Nicole Starting now, lovely!! Already loving it.

message 17: by Christy (new)

Christy Enjoy, Baba! :D

Baba  Christy wrote: "Enjoy, Baba! :D"

Thanks, Christy. :))

Baba  Duchess Nicole wrote: "Starting now, lovely!! Already loving it."

Squeee! LOL!! I'm so excited, my lovely!! Lovin' it so far! Mmm…Dale is scrumptious! Have fun!

Baba  ♥~♥Geri's~EverAfterRomance ♥~♥ wrote: "Enjoy, Baba! Looking forward to your review!! :)"

You should read it, Geri, it's soooooo freakin' good! Well, nobody writes BDSM heroes like Joey does! :)))

Baba  Christine The Dark Romance Junkie wrote: "Awesome review Baba!!!"

Thanks, Christine. It's not a review yet. :)))

Baba  Rosalinda wrote: "Great quotes and visuals, Baba. Hope you enjoy, looking forward to your updates ;) x"

Thanks, Rosa. I'm already in love with Dale! *sigh* :)) xxx

message 23: by Vishous (new) - added it

Vishous enjoy ladies ;*

Geri Reads Baba ♥♥♥ Tyler, Marcus, Dean, Tate, Dan, Ty & Hunter wrote: "♥~♥Geri's~EverAfterRomance ♥~♥ wrote: "Enjoy, Baba! Looking forward to your review!! :)"

You should read it, Geri, it's soooooo freakin' good! Well, nobody writes BDSM heroes like Joey does! :)))"

Will definitely read it, Baba! I miss JH's writing. :)

Baba  Vishous wrote: "enjoy ladies ;*"

Thanks, hon. :) *mwah*

Baba  ♥~♥Geri's~EverAfterRomance ♥~♥ wrote: "Baba ♥♥♥ Tyler, Marcus, Dean, Tate, Dan, Ty & Hunter wrote: "♥~♥Geri's~EverAfterRomance ♥~♥ wrote: "Enjoy, Baba! Looking forward to your review!! :)"

You should read it, Geri, it's soooooo freaki..."

It's a goodie!!! :)) xxx

message 27: by Barbara (new) - added it

Barbara Awesome visuals, makes me want to read it too!! :D

Baba  Barbara wrote: "Awesome visuals, makes me want to read it too!! :D"

Thanks, Barbara. I'm lovin' it!! :)) xxx

Duchess Nicole Oh, geez. I just read the part at about 51% (view spoiler)

Baba  Duchess Nicole wrote: "Oh, geez. I just read the part at about 51% [spoilers removed]"

No worries, Nicole, all is fine. :))
Like you I wouldn't have like that at all but I honestly didn't worry about it. Like I told you I was sure Joey would deliver an explanation.

Pavlina Read more sleep less blog  Amazing review so far hon <3333 I can't wait for your full review!!I want to read this book :D *hugs*

message 32: by Pam (new) - added it

Pam Wonderful review, Baba :)

message 33: by Paula (new)

Paula Very honest and very lovely review, Baba. :)

Carol (StarAngel's Reviews) Allen I know this is a fabulous review Babs....but I can't read it until I'm finished...:-)

I love the so much! *kisses

Rosalinda *KRASNORADA* Who are we to judge how much time anyone needs until they want to move on?

AMEN, Baba!!! We shouldn't be judging anything at all! We should be busy living our own lives but people act like idiots sometimes.

You review is STUNNING. Not sure what you're gonna edit but it's absolutely fantastic. You touched my little heart with your words about loss, Baba ;) <3

Baba  Lisa wrote: "Looking forward to your review on this one, Baba. I have yet to read anything by Joey Hill and I have wanted too. What book would be a good start for someone who has not read this author yet?"

Maybe this book is a little bit too intense…not sure though. I would suggest you check out Honor Bound. If you like it then move on to: Ice Queen and Mirror of My Soul. Mirror of My Soul is my all-time favorite M/F book. Good luck, Lisa! :))

Baba  Pavlina loves Derek ❤❤ wrote: "Amazing review so far hon <3333 I can't wait for your full review!!I want to read this book :D *hugs*"

Thank you, sweets. Spank me, baby! LOL Smooches xxx

Baba  Pam wrote: "Wonderful review, Baba :)"

Thank you, Pam. :))

Baba  Paula (Romantic Book Affairs Blogspot) wrote: "Very honest and very lovely review, Baba. :)"

Thank you, Paula. :))

Baba  Carol wrote: "I know this is a fabulous review Babs....but I can't read it until I'm finished...:-)

I love the so much! *kisses"

Thank you, Carol. Don't sweat it, it should still be here when you're done with the book. Look forward to your take on it! Hugs & kisses

message 41: by Baba (last edited Dec 05, 2013 10:36AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Baba  Rosalinda wrote: "Who are we to judge how much time anyone needs until they want to move on?

AMEN, Baba!!! We shouldn't be judging anything at all! We should be busy living our own lives but people act like idiots ..."

You're such a sweetheart, Rosa. Thank you. :))
I second your comment. We should mind OUR OWN business!!! People are too busy sticking their nose into things they shouldn't. :/
Well, I tend to get carried away when I'm reviewing one of Joey's books. So…yeah, I will edit it. I will also add some more text. Maybe. Lol xxx

message 42: by Rosalinda *KRASNORADA* (last edited Dec 05, 2013 10:38AM) (new)

Rosalinda *KRASNORADA* Baba ♥♥♥ Tyler, Marcus, Dean, Tate, Dan, Ty & Hunter wrote: "Rosalinda wrote: "Who are we to judge how much time anyone needs until they want to move on?

AMEN, Baba!!! We shouldn't be judging anything at all! We should be busy living our own lives but peopl..."

I cannot wait to read whatever else you have to say. I am serious, your review was so special. I haven't read something so touchable in a while, Baba. It's great that some books make us feel this way. It's powerful ;) xxx

message 43: by Catherine (new)

Catherine Wonderful review, chickie!

SueBee★bring me an alpha!★ Awesoem B! Beautifully put-together review! (view spoiler)

message 45: by Miss Fifi (new)

Miss Fifi Amazing review, Baba! x

☆ Sammy ☆彡 Wonderful review, Baba! =)))

Lady Vigilante (Feifei) Baba what a beautiful, heartfelt review! So very touching! I need to jump on the Joey Hill train sometime xoxo

Geri Reads Great review, Baba. I'm reading it now but I'm not too far along to make any comments yet. :DD

Blacky *Romance Addict* Awesome review Baba!! Can't wait to give this one a shot :)

Baba  Rosalinda wrote: "Baba ♥♥♥ Tyler, Marcus, Dean, Tate, Dan, Ty & Hunter wrote: "Rosalinda wrote: "Who are we to judge how much time anyone needs until they want to move on?

AMEN, Baba!!! We shouldn't be judging any..."

True that, Rosa. Thank you. :)) xxx

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