Thursday, October 29, 2015

I Can Do Just Fine Without a Man! Can't I? "Bunny and the Beast" by Heather Rainer

Hard-working, strong, and sassy, Bunny Carrigan desires a simple life, far away from the complications of the big city, posh houses, and materialism. She makes her own rules and has no time for pushy men in fancy suits or playing games.

Joseph Hazelle enjoys taking control and has very set ideas about what the ideal submissive looks and acts like. In fact, his ideas are so set they might as well be concrete. Vibrant and full of life, Bunny challenges Joseph’s preconceived notions and she’s determined that if she submits at all, it’s going to be on her own terms.

Accustomed to being the instructor, Joseph discovers that Bunny has claimed his lonely heart and has a thing or two to teach him. All he has to do is educate her about his world and convince her that she does indeed “do” submission. What could go wrong?

Those of us who have read and re-read the Divine Creek novels are always delighted when a new book comes along.  Where Ms Rainier comes up with these fun characters is locked in the depth of her imagination.  They come alive on these pages and for those of us who feel like we know this community backward and forward, meeting new folks or exploring characters who have already shown up previously makes reading these books a very satisfying experience.  

I have found that all Ms Rainier's books are really focused on needs and issues these characters manifest, most if not all are those we all experience or find living in those we love or in friends and co-workers.  Yes, this is erotic romance and that's just what it is.  Yet there are some very real human bits and pieces that I think most readers recognize in these characters.  It is one of the main reasons we who love this series keep coming back for more.  No matter if the context is one in which a reader has never indulged, the issues of living and loving are common to all of us.  

For the hero, Joseph Hazelle, life has become predictable and he has become set in a lifestyle that seems to be just as he has ordered it.  While he comes and goes as any ordinary man does, he lives in a bubble of his own making and it takes the antics and unpredictable manners of a young woman who is anything but staid, submissive, or whose days are ordinary.  Bunny Carrigan has not had it easy and she has learned to meet life head-on. It's almost as if she head-butts her way through her days, very sensitive to anything or anyone who seems to put her down or make her feel less about herself or what she does.  The last thing she can even imagine is turning her life and her future over to someone who thinks he knows better than she does.  And even though the glow of aliveness surrounds her and draws Joseph like a moth to a flame, she wants nothing to do with any way of living that she believes will take away her self-determination or her right to order her own life.

What doesn't show up right at first is that underneath the external realities of their lives, both these people are desperately lonely, so very weary of being disconnected and of not really being valued for who they are at their core.  Both have spent so much time working to manage their lives, they have not left time for the nurture of their inner selves.  Joseph is amazed that he comes alive when Bunny is around, even though she really rubs him raw at times.  Bunny, on the other hand, has never had anyone upon whom she could lean, who could help her carry the burdens of a difficult life, who truly cares enough to put her first simply because she is a beautiful and sensual woman and not because of what she can do for him.  Joseph's dominant ways go over like a cement canary at first, but as he learns to look deeper into her life and into his own heart, he finds ways of slowly drawing her into a new relationship.

This book has just a bit different flavor than many of the books in this series.  I'm not really sure what it is but it just feels that way to me.  Yet it still bears the unmistakable marks of Ms Rainier's quest for exposing the humanity in her characters and for connecting her readers to the action in her stories.  Whether it is in Joseph's BDSM world or in Bunny's world of rush, rush, rush from dawn to dusk, we all recognize the need to be truly be important to someone who will esteem us and partner with us in this task known as living.  I think this is at the core of this story.  I read this book through twice because I was fascinated with how different these two were from not only many of the characters in Divine, but how they seemed so very unlikely as lovers.  Yet what brought them together was that recognition that the other brought alive a need that they had either chosen to ignore or which had lain dormant for far too long.

As always, this novel is beautifully written and flows seamlessly from scene to scene.   It is the kind of romance that drew me in because I was fascinated to watch these two people somehow connect when I couldn't imagine that they ever would manage it.  It is the kind of story that will pique one's interest and hold it for the duration.  Ms Rainier has a winner here and I hope that you all will avail yourself of this terrific book.

And while you're at it, check out The Book Binge for more really great reviews.

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