In this book, Clay and his live-in girlfriend Ruby, who both work at the same company, have an unconventional relationship. Clay likes it when Ruby goes out and has sex with strange men. He enjoys hearing the details of the liaison and gets turned on by the tastes and smells left behind by the other men. When Ruby goes too far and sleeps with another male coworker on Clay’s desk (and in the bed she shares with Clay), Clay realizes that Ruby may not be the one for him (this was against the rules of their relationship).
The situation is further complicated by Jessica, another coworker, who sees Ruby having sex on Clay’s desk. Jessica tells Clay, and the sexy conversation they have about Clay’s fetish permanently alters things between them. The developing heat between Jessica and Clay also highlights how problematic his relationship with Ruby has become. Because Jessica has lusted after Clay for years, she uses her newfound knowledge of Clay’s desires to push him into a sexual relationship. Of course, she isn’t exactly sure about her ability to fulfill Clay’s needs on a long-term basis.
Ok, so I read this book understanding that infidelity is a large part of the plot – and I get that it is a central theme because of Clay’s character. Jasmine Haynes does an excellent job portraying how turned on Clay gets by the thought of his woman having just had sex with another man. This is a powerful fetish for him and is one that he needs for his own satisfaction. He can’t live without it. Clay’s emotions are what fill so many of the sex scenes with an intense heat. Of course once the characters leave the bedroom (or the office, the hotel, etc.), I couldn’t help but wonder about it all.
Clay likes to share his woman with other men. However, he let Ruby break several rules of their relationship without consequence. While her actions didn’t seem worthy of her three-year relationship with Clay, I’m not sure that she should have known that there were things that would push him too far. Ultimately, her actions signaled the end of things because Clay didn’t love her – and because he had feelings for Jessica.
Now Jessica, at first, seems horrified by the nature of Clay and Ruby’s intimate life. But then, she jumps right in, even going so far as to visit her current casual hookup (who she pretends is Clay) before seducing Clay. And here is one of the parts of this with which I had the most trouble. Jessica smears a certain male bodily fluid all over herself so that Clay can both taste and smell it. This happens throughout the book and kind of grossed me out a bit. Jessica obviously gets into the spirit of Clay’s game, yet, I was never really convinced that this kink would work for Jessica. It really was more about keeping Clay’s senses aroused.
Nothing about this story is for the faint of heart. Readers need to be comfortable with infidelity, with male essence being utilized as if it were body lotion time and time again, and bizarre interoffice sexual politics in their erotic romance novels. Honestly, although there is a happy ending for Clay and Jessica (might be more happy for now than happily ever after), I’m not sure that everyone would consider this a romance novel. It certainly isn’t your average one.
After pondering “Revenge Sex” for several hours, I’m still not sure about my overall impression. There are parts I like; Clay makes for a dynamic, but slightly messed-up hero, who I did come to like. But I had trouble with so much. I can’t decide whether Ruby is salvageable or not; I believe that Clay’s fetish is critical to his sexual identity, but am not sure if Jessica can live that way forever; and I am not sure that I would ever want to read another story with the same plot again.
I have read many stories by Jasmine Haynes. I have loved some, have had mixed reactions to others and have had a bad reaction to quite a few. She always makes me think though, often writing about topics that make me rather uncomfortable. “Revenge Sex” is pure Haynes. It is a book that I can’t quite get a handle on, but that I will be thinking about for the foreseeable future.
And PS, Ruby is the heroine of the next book in this series. I can’t help but want to read it.
Book Disclosure: This ebook was purchased.