Friday, December 27, 2013

Book Review: Unrestrained by Joey Hill

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By:  Joey Hill
Pub:  Dec. 3, 2013
By: Berkley Trade
Mature Content
Source: Publisher

GR's Summary:

From Joey W. Hill—author of the Knights of the Boardroom series—comes a novel of erotic games and power plays, in which an adventurous woman attempts to break down her own barriers…

Athena is an accomplished businesswoman in control of every aspect of her life. But since the death of her husband, she’s had the desire to explore submissive cravings she’s had for some time. Unfortunately, Athena is known as a Mistress, because that’s the role she’s always played.

Her type A personality was strong enough to serve her husband as a Domme because that’s what he needed. It’s not until she meets Dale, a retired Navy SEAL, that she attempts to discover what her own submissive desires are. But letting go of her control is not so easy.

Fortunately, Dale is an accomplished Master who can help Athena live out her fantasies. And as she slowly surrenders to his touch, both of them will learn more about the nature of love between Dominant and submissive, and how it defies all expectations.

My Take on this Journey:

Unrestrained, by Joey Hill, was the story of Athena Francesca Summers.  Athena was a widow for the last 6 years, after her husband Roy died.  Roy had been the love of her life for over 20 years.  Athena was a  people pleaser, perfectionist, accomplished business woman, and Lady Mistress.  She never desired becoming a Dom, but at the request of her husband, (Roy "Rocket" Summers,) she did as he wished for his pleasure.  Athena was looked upon as one of the best at Club Release.  Once her husband died, she became much of a recluse to her bookroom in her lonely plantation home, heading her Louisiana charities, Garden club tours, and running the board at Summer Industries.

One night she decides to go back to Club Release, and realizes that she feels safe there, and that she belongs there.  She goes into one of the Sub rooms.  A place she normally wouldn't have gone into, and see's this gorgeous Dom with seaweed blue-green eyes over a woman named Willow.  She is entranced by his ability to make her feel things she has desired for so long,  as she watches, and she can't take her eyes off of him or the situation in front of her eyes.  Athena is so astute and intuitive that she sums him up immediately.  Athena knows that by his stance and tactics that he has to have been a Navy Seal.  She characterizes everything about him in a matter of minutes.  She wants to be Willow, but no one would understand, because they all know her as Roy's wife, the Lady Mistress.   No one would understand a Dom turning into a Submissive. 

Athena leaves Club Release, and cannot get the Dom out of her mind.  She stops across the street to get gas, feeling it is safe since it is across the street from the club, even though it is in the French Quarter, and what happens to her threatens her life.  Two men approach her and try to take her wedding rings from her hands.  She fights with everything she's got, but gets beaten until a knight and shining armor comes to her rescue.  Yes, it is the Dom from the club.  He saves her, takes her to his place and cleans her up.  She wakes the next morning to find that he has put her into his bed, in his shirt, and her underclothes are gone.  As she tries to register what happened, she realizes that he did not take advantage of the situation in any way to gain her trust.  They are both attracted to each other, and make a date to talk about what Athena wants.  She is a pillar of the community, and this obviously something that her husband and her kept hush, hush for over 20 years.

This novel was intriguing.  Athena wants to keep her control over everything in her life, but has a conflict going on inside herself, because she also wants to relinquish it as well.  Dale Rousseau, (the Dom)  was a retired Navy Seal, and after a dangerously hazardous mission in which he lost one of his legs, needed something to give him that same adrenaline rush that he felt on his dangerous missions.  He was a caring man, who was quite taken by Athena, and he could tell she was a lady.  Their relationship develops at a moderate pace, and they become attached to one another, though Athena fights her feelings for a while.  She had never been with anyone but her husband, and Dale makes a rule that he is never to be substituted for Roy.  He must be primary in her thoughts when he is dominating her.

I enjoyed the story around Athena and Dale, them both trying to find something, overcome their own tragedies, and the way they both cared for one another.  The BDSM scene was a bit over the top at times for me, but still interesting and titillating other times.  The subjugation at times was a pretty scary scene, but Ms. Hill makes the reader feel the scene unfold as it happens. I think the descriptions of the city of New Orleans were brought to the forefront in this novel, the grounds of the gardens, with antebellum Greek statues and architecture of the ancient plantation were fabulous, and the love/sex scenes were off the charts. 

I give Unrestrained, by Joey Hill, 3 1/2 Second Chance, Adrenaline Filled, titillating Stars!    

My Favorite Quotes:

"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."  (Kindle Loc. 101)

"As beautiful as a book makes the day disappear, or the first flowers coming out in spring.  I look at you, and there's no sadness in my heart.  His eyes darkened.  The way her heart leaped, proving the point, was a feeling that spread to loins and throat, all the way from head to toes.  My librarian, he murmured.  My girl, at last.  (Kindle Loc. 385)

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About Joey Hill:

I’ve always had an aversion to reading, watching or hearing interviews of favorite actors, authors, musicians, etc. because so often the real person doesn’t measure up to the beauty of the art they produce. Their politics or religion are distasteful, or they’re shallow and self-absorbed, a vacuous mop-head without a lick of sense. From then on, though I may appreciate their craft or art, it has somehow been tarnished. 

Therefore, whenever I’m asked to provide personal information about myself for readers, a ball of anxiety forms in my stomach as I think: “Okay, the next couple of paragraphs can change forever the way someone views my stories.” Why on earth does a reader want to know about me? It’s the story that’s important.

So here it is. I’ve been given more blessings in my life than any one person has a right to have. Despite that, I’m a Type A, borderline obsessive-compulsive paranoiac who worries I will never live up to expectations. I’ve got more phobias than anyone (including myself) has patience to read about. I can’t stand talking on the phone, I dread social commitments, and the idea of living in monastic solitude with my husband and animals, books and writing is as close an idea to paradise as I can imagine. I love chocolate, but with that deeply ingrained, irrational female belief that weight equals worth, I manage to keep it down to a minor addiction. I adore good movies. I’m told I work too much. Every day is spent trying to get through the never ending “to do” list to snatch a few minutes to write.

Despite all these mediocre and typical qualities, for some miraculous reason, these wonderful characters well up out of my soul with stories to tell. When I manage to find enough time to write, sufficient enough that the precious “stillness” required rises up and calms all the competing voices in my head, I can step into their lives, hear what they are saying, what they’re feeling, and put it down on paper. It’s a magic beyond description, akin to truly believing my husband loves me, winning the trust of an animal who has known only fear or apathy, making a true connection with someone, or knowing for certain I’ve given a reader a moment of magic through those written words. It’s a magic that reassures me there is Someone, far wiser than myself, who knows the permanent path to that garden of stillness, where there is only love, acceptance and a pen waiting for hours and hours of uninterrupted, blissful use.


  1. I was really fascinated by Athena's shift from Domme to Sub, and how Dale helped her with that. And yes, I thought the descriptions of New Orleans were great, too. I'm glad you enjoyed Restrained, Ro. Nice review!

  2. This sounds interesting. I can relate as I like to be in control :) Wonderful review!


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