Thursday, May 26, 2011

I'm Back From Desert Island Keepers and I'm Still Reading . . . "Good Girls Don't" by Shiloh Walker

Well, hello, everyone and I'm glad to be back over here at the Book Place and sharing with all of you again. For three days I was one of those DIK ladies and it is always fun and a challenge. It is an honor to be included in such a great group of reviewers as well as guest authors.

Perhaps you might want to visit there if you haven't already--yesterday I let my irritations fly far and wide and ranted about folks who find way too much time on their hands and decide to use it to say nasty things about others, especially those who have ingredients in their lives that about which they disapprove. You can click here if you want to check it out -- Desert Island Keepers -- and I hope you keep going back. Lots of good stuff over there.

I'm still in my discovery mode of reading some of the older books written by some of my favorite authors. Shiloh Walker has been one of the authors I keep coming back to and who has wowed me with a number of her works that have been out for some time. Good Girls Don't is one of those books that has been published for about five years and which lots of people miss while chasing down the latest and newest releases. I found this book almost by accident and thorough
ly enjoyed it. In fact, it is on my Keeper list and I have gone back to it a couple of times.

Lori has a nice, safe job and a nice, safe fiancé. She has played it safe most of her life. Until she finds that nice, safe fiancé in bed with another woman. But the ultimate betrayal is that he is willing to play sexy bedroom games with the neighbor that he wouldn't play with Lori, no matter how often she asked. She kicks him out of her bed, out of her house, and out of her life. Now she's ready to make her fantasies come true. She starts at Exposé, a sex club where anything goes.

Mike has been attracted to Lori since moving in next door. She is taken though, and even if she were free, she's not his type. Too sweet, too innocent, too nice. So what in hell is she doing at Exposé? He doesn't know, but he's determined to protect her from the other guys in the club . . . and from himself. Determined to protect her e
ven if it means bringing her pain.

By the time Mike realizes Lori doesn't want or need to be protected, it's almost too late.

Mike is a cop who has no intention of ever marrying--he is too involved in his law enforcement responsibilities, the hours are hell, and his sexual tastes are just too dark and rough for any woman to take on permanently. He gets what he needs from the subs at Expose and that just has to be good enough. He is mightily attracted to his neighbor, but apart from the fact that she is already engaged, same reasons, same excuses. He spends time with his partner Alex, and he finds lots to do with buddies when not at the club. His life is OK.

Lori wants something more from her relationship with her fiance. She tells him about needing more than "vanilla" sex, but he is controlling and decides what she needs, completely ignoring what she shares with him. The @#$% hits the fan when she comes home early from her job and finds him boinking another woman, doing exactly the kinds of kinky things she has been begging to do with him for months. That was the end . . . and he and all his stuff is on the curb. Good thing they hadn't signed the papers to put him on the deed to her house. Now she is free to follow through finding some way to answer the darker needs that won't go away, that seem to swirl around inside and which keep intruding on her composed and organized life. So she makes a few trips to Expose and there she sees her sexy neighbor who immediately gets angry because she is there, declares that she has no business being there, and ushers her to her car--on more than one occasion. What's it going to take to 1) get Mike to take her seriously and 2) either get involved with her or leave her alone?

This short novel is really about two people who know what is going on inside of them and while they really desire a committed relationship, are convinced that no one would be willing to "take them on" long-term. Both Mike and Lori have lots to give, but they are also convinced that any long-term relationship is, by definition, vanilla. Their journey of discovery is troubled and loaded with ups and downs, disappointments, and small rejections that really don't hinder each from seeking what they need, but which postpone them seeking what they need with each other. Even when they finally take their liason home, they are both afraid to take the other seriously. Being hurt in the past, both really have some serious trust issues which is kind of counter-productive, since any form of BDSM really rests on a foundation of trust. They begin their relationship as a "no-strings" neighbors-with-benefits kind of togetherness, but the question is really if they can move beyond past disappointments toward a positive involvement that really meets their deeper emotional need to belong, to be loved for who they are, bumps, urges, bunions, and all.

As always, Shiloh Walker is one of those writers who has proven that she is well in touch with the human condition, with those deeper feelings that drive individuals toward one another, sometimes not even realizing how needy they are. She seems to have the sensitivity and perception to create characters with whom her readers can relate and which resonate with real people. Readers may not align themselves with the kink in this story, but they can always understand strong personalities who put forth a very mature and hefty public persona, but who are needy and wanting on the inside. These are the kinds of characters we all know and who are far more numerous in our circles of friendship and employment colleagues than most of us realize. It is one of the reasons I keep going back to her books, both old and new.

So I hope that if you are looking for a really good love story that won't take up boogobbles of your time, you will look this book over and make it a part of your TBR pile. It is well-worth the effort and is one of those HEA stories that just seems curiously satisfying when all is said and done. I give it a rating of 4.25 out of 5.

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