waking kiss

SYNOPSIS
A stranger in the wings, a traitorous pair of toe shoes, and a traumatic turn dancing with The Great Rubio… For ballerina Ashleigh Keaton, it’s been one hell of a night.

But it’s not over yet. When Rubio drags her to a private BDSM party at his friend’s house in the ritzy part of London, she meets Liam Wilder, a lifestyle dominant and frighteningly seductive man. Liam pursues Ashleigh, attracted by her strength and talent, but she has secrets—an abusive past and a crippling fear of intimacy that prevents her from connecting to anyone, especially a kinky playboy reputed to be legendary in bed.

Eventually he wins her trust and sets out to heal the troubled dancer, awakening her to a world of erotic obedience and sensual abandon in a series of “sessions” at his home. But how pure are his motives? Is he helping her or endangering her fragile soul? Liam hides his own destructive secrets, and so does Fernando Rubio, their temperamental friend. Over time the three become embroiled in a tangle of artifice, fears, and lies that threaten to undo everything they’ve worked for.

Will Ashleigh and Liam find the strength to defeat their demons? Or are they cursed to sleepwalk through life forever, afraid to experience the passion and intimacy of love?

Note: This 81K word romantic novel contains reflections on childhood abuse and violence which may disturb some readers.

walking kiss collage

  Reviewed by Gitte

I absolutely love Annabel Joseph. Her books are always packed full of emotion with characters so intriguing and tortured that they stay with you long after you’ve turned that last page. Every time I pick up one of her books, without fail, I fall in love with every character and their stories. Waking Kiss was no exception. It was pretty flawless; brilliantly written with characters with such depth and so ‘exposed’ that I couldn’t fail to completely connect and sympathise.

“Since I was a little girl, I’ve wanted to be invisible. Not in a cool, magical kind of way, but in that way of please don’t look at me too hard…” – Ashleigh

Waking Kiss immediately had me hooked. It was dark, disturbing and sexy. It even had quite a few humorous scenes to balance out the dark. The setting was beautiful, highlighting the fact that this Author’s writing really does resemble a piece of art.

“You will never forget the wrongs done to you, but anger, like guilt, can poison an entire life….” – Mem (who I fell in absolute love with!)

Our heroine Ashleigh is a ballerina who prefers to dance in the background as long as it’s in the company of her idol, the Great Rubio who’s a world renowned ballet dancer from Brazil. She’s in absolute awe of him so is distraught when during one performance she’s made to dance with him after the lead ballerina is injured. Ashleigh panics and the great Rubio is not impressed with her performance. But the show must go on. And it does, when Rubio later that evening takes Ashleigh to a private BDSM party at a mansion under false pretences, a mansion that belongs to a good friend of his. On this night wheels are set in motion that’ll change the path of Ashleigh’s life forever and open her eyes to a new world so far removed from her own demure lifestyle. Twice that night she meets a man who’ll affect her very being. A man who despite appearances is as broken as she is but at the same time is such a strength and a hero for our Ashleigh, he completely stole my heart. Liam’s amazing!

“He had me cornered, but I found I liked being cornered by him. I wanted to be trapped and restrained against the wall and kissed into submission…” – Ashleigh

I felt so sorry for Ashleigh and my sympathy and love for her character grew as we learnt more about her horrific past and how she’s suffered. A past that has repressed her sexually and made her fear intimacy and physical affection.

“I don’t usually let anyone into my apartment.” – Ashleigh

“Why what’s in there?”…”Piles of dead bodies?” – Liam

‘…No I thought, Just one dead body. My own….’ – Ashleigh

Now, Liam’s a player. He knows this and makes no excuses. He works hard and he plays even harder.

“…I wasn’t a person Ashleigh needed in her life right now. I was a player, a pig, and frequently an asshole…” – Liam.

Liam’s mansion is a playground for BDSM parties, but deep down he’s a lonely man with a past that prevents him from opening his heart to love and a meaningful relationship.

“I didn’t want anyone in my life who had the power to reach into my chest and rip out my heart, and she had that power. Therefore, I didn’t want her anymore. But I wanted her…” – Liam

However, the connection between Ashleigh and Liam is so intense and deep that even I felt it.

Liam and Ashleigh strike up a relationship which is ultimately about Liam helping Ashleigh remove the block that has her incapable of enjoying passion and love. However, it’s not only Ashleigh who, has a lot to overcome and learn about herself, Liam too is made to examine his life and way of living and these two characters go through such an emotional journey of self-discovery and absolution

Now, I have to mention Rubio. What a complete arse he started off as. I couldn’t stand him and though he was an arrogant cock. However, the clever writing of Annabel Joseph had me absolutely loving him by the end, so I was chuffed to bits to see his story is next in this series.

Waking Kiss is not for the faint-hearted as it depicts realistic and harrowing abuse. This is not a ‘pretty and generic BDSM romance romp’ for the sake of sex, rather this is a real story about people with flaws who’ve been hurt and need to heal and come to terms with a violent and abusive past.

If you enjoy your darker emotional reads with intense passion and broken characters who live the ‘true’ BDSM lifestyle then this Author is definitely one to check out. And you should be adding Waking Kiss to your to read list!

“What you experience and what you feel doesn’t come from other people. It comes from you.” – Liam

Gitte: 4.5 Stars


Purchase the BDSM BALLET SERIES below
Amazon US | Amazon UK

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