May I just pause for a second before reviewing FEVER DREAM to reminisce?
I discovered Annabel Joseph in the summer of 2012. Voracious reading had commenced following my introduction to The Trilogy and a girlfriend of mine recommended COMFORT OBJECT as a good book about BDSM. What did I know? I thought The Trilogy’s books had plenty of BDSM in them. Yeah…let the education begin.
I devoured, essentially, Annabel’s entire library that month. It was a delicious, sometimes unsettling, completely worthwhile journey. As an admittedly “vanilla” person, this was ALL news to me. I was fascinated and wanted to know EVERYTHING.
At the end of the day, I learned that your kink may not be my kink…and that’s okay. The real reason, in my humble opinion, to read everything Annabel Joseph writes is that she makes you feel part of the story like no other author I’ve encountered.
The worlds she writes about are fantasies to me as it is. They’re fantasies even BEFORE the relationships begin. Some of her settings include:
- Fetish clubs
- Ballet companies
- Movie sets
- Foreign countries
- The Regency Era
Still, it doesn’t matter that it’s all a fantasy. The story never jumps the shark or goes too far for me to believe that I’m actually there, experiencing what her finely crafted characters are experiencing. I learned about “ouchy”, “whippy”, and “hurty” things (all Annabel-speak for BDSM implements) and learned why they’re good things for these characters in spite of the fact that they would send me running out of the room in real life.
FEVER DREAM is the second book in Joseph’s CITY BALLET series. In WAKING KISS we met Liam and Ashleigh and experienced their love story, a tale of redemption after horrifying tragedies. We also met Fernando Rubio, the Brazilian superstar of the London City Ballet. He was reluctantly partnered with Ashleigh and served as a sort of antagonist in WAKING KISS. Rubio is erratic and brilliant and speaks in adorably broken English. He’s also a self-centered diva who would be hard to love if he didn’t have such a big heart. His heart takes center stage in FEVER DREAM.
Petra Hewitt’s the top ballerina in the world, and The Great Rubio her obvious counterpart, so why does she want to strangle him whenever he’s around? He’s haughty, abrupt, demanding—and alarmingly sexy. Petra knows Rubio is dangerous to her heart, to her peace of mind, and worst of all, to her career, but his rough flirtation compels her. When she gets a chance to play with him at a BDSM party, their professional partnership takes a feverish left turn.
After that, any attempts to keep him at arm’s length falter in the face of his obstinate sexuality. Rubio’s methods are ruthlessly erotic as he introduces her to the pleasures of sadism, bondage, pain, and submission. The more Petra tries to resist him, the more she craves his strength and control.
But as they play their sensual games of dominance and submission, career pressures mount, and an overzealous fan brings dangerous tension to their relationship. Soon, the dream gives way to the stark reality of her vulnerability. Maybe, just maybe, some risks are too terrifying to take.
Petra is ballet royalty. Her parents, both world class dancers, had a torrid affair that resulted in her birth. She rose through the ranks of American ballet and now finds herself in London partnered with The Great Rubio, who is none to happy to take on a new partner after Ashleigh leaves City Ballet. Their initial meeting with Yves, the head of the company, nearly comes to blows.
She glanced up from beneath her lashes as he navigated the last of the candle-lit tables to arrive in their private corner. Somewhere along the line his casual smile had transformed to a scowl. He stopped a few steps from the table and glowered at her like he wished he could throw a knife through her solar plexus. “No,” he said, turning to Yves. “I said no. Why did you bring her here?”
Hm, not a knife. An axe. Fernando Rubio wanted to bury an axe in her rib cage, she could see it in the black depths of his eyes. Cold anger washed over her.
“You said he was excited to meet me,” she said, turning to Yves.
“Yes, well—” “Yes, well,” Fernando cut in, “sorry you made the trip for nothing. We don’t need another principal here.” Yves gave him a harried look.
Rubio and Petra come to an uneasy peace that transitions into an exploration of dominance and submission and, dare we hope…love? First, Petra has to deal with her fear of, well, everything Rubio.
“Yes. I want you so bad, but I’m scared. I’m so scared of what you’ll do to me.”
“Ah, querida,” he sighed, his cock jumping at her softly spoken words. “You know what, though? Is okay to be scared.”
Petra spends a lot of time reminding herself that it’s okay to be scared. Rubio spends a great deal of time encouraging her to move past her fears. She’s got a lot of legitimate fear to deal with, too. Her absentee father’s sudden reemergence. A creepy fan she was relieved to leave behind in NYC. And, of course, all kinds of kinky fuckery being dished out at play parties and behind closed doors.
Annabel writes delicious love stories. The kind that make your toes curl and make you wonder why YOU don’t like ouchy, whippy, hurty things (assuming you don’t). Regardless of what turns you on in the bedroom (or the playroom), if you love realistic couples in fantastic settings and scenarios, give any of Annabel’s books a whirl. The kink level of FEVER DREAM is pretty moderate on the Annabel scale. You can see how she rates her books on her website. The City Ballet series is a great place to start if this is your first dance, though.
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I just discovered your review. It is spot on! I feel exactly the same like you, turned on by all the “kinky fuckery” without ever even thinking about to experience this in realtiy.. Annabel takes my imagination to places I never thought I would think about let alone enjoy. I think what makes her body of work so very appealing to me is that her characters are well developed and human, no stereotypes despite carrying a burden. Approchable may be the term to describe them for me.. I love all her books, even her historicals and I’m not a fan of this genre.
When I first read Club Mephisto I thought this was too much for me but after reading Molly’s lips and Burn for you I reread it and like it much better. I completely agree with you BDSM Ballet being a good series to start enjoying Annabel’s books.
I’m no native speaker so I’m a bit sad they are not available in German I would so like to recommend her work to friends of my who are not so keen on reading in english, but well….