English professor Max Harlow is active in the Dom/sub scene, but only for casual play. He's never found his ideal partner: a woman who is his equal, but sexually submissive. When he's asked to explain the lifestyle to his cute but obviously inexperienced neighbor, Max is certain it's best to approach it academically—to keep things purely professional.
Until Bridget's first article is a huge hit, giving her the perfect excuse to delve deeper into the naturally submissive side of her sexuality. As their encounters intensify and each of her boundaries is skillfully pushed, Bridget must decide what this all means…for her identity, her career and, most importantly, her future with Max.
Purely Professional caught my attention from the first page. It has a fairly common BDSM erotic romance trope: a female writer who needs to learn about BDSM for her writing and seeks out a Dom for help. Yet, Elia Winters keeps the trope fresh. Bridget Hartwell is more blogger/columnist than reporter and is tasked with writing a personal story about her own experiences – of which she has none. The Dom in question turns out to be her neighbor – a neighbor on whom she has a bit of a crush. The fact that the two know each other does add a touch of awkwardness to their negotiations and initial BDSM encounters. Personally, I found this charming.
Max and Bridget agree to a relationship in which Max teaches Bridget about submission. Both believe that they can keep the lessons professional rather than romantic. Yet, sparks fly between the two, and their attraction to each other turns out to be more than just physical. Bridget learns plenty about BDSM – certainly enough to write her articles, but her relationship with Max quickly turns very personal. Fortunately, the same is true for Max.
The chemistry between Max and Bridget sizzles, making the sexual tension in this story very intense. The intensity grows because Max takes his time initiating Bridget into his world. Admittedly, Max in Dom mode can be rather harsh and cold, but Bridget responded well to his manner of control.
Purely Professional is a great read with compelling characters. Elia Winters has a strong voice that is wonderfully readable. I’m looking forward to reading more from this author.
Book Disclosure: An ebook was provided by the publisher via NetGalley.