That pretty much sums up how I feel about this book. Damn, Waking Kisses by Annabel Joseph was all kinds of awesome! What an emotional ride this turned out to be. Compelling.
A broken and tortured soul.
Beautiful and fearless, tender and affectionate and rough and elemental....
What happens when your savior is just as broken and scarred as you are?
I could picture him as a knight, actually. I could picture him in a suit of armor, rearing back on a horse with a battle cry.
Ballet has always been a compulsion for me, not a pleasure....
It’s a survival thing.
Ashleigh Keaton used ballet to escape. Escape the prison and the torment that she had lived in since the age of nine. Under the clutches of her sanctimonious parents she was not free. She experienced unimaginable acts of violation and abuse. Ballet was her ticket to freedom, to some form of sanity. She now lives in London working for the same company as The Great Rubio – a famous ballet dancer and inspiration to Ashleigh.....even if he is an arrogant ass. Ashleigh lives her life in the background. She is a background dancer, always in the shadows. She would not have it any other way.
I wanted this girl, entitled asshole that I was, but I didn’t deserve her.
Liam Wilder is an unapologetic playboy who likes the darker side of sex. He lives by his own rules never giving too much of himself away. He’s a player who objectifies women and uses them to fulfill his base desires. That is it. No emotional exchange. Nothing. Life is lonely for Mr. Dark and Broody but Liam is unwilling to live his life any other way. Anything else involves risk. Risks are something Liam definitely has an adverse reaction to. How things change when a certain ballerina enters into Liam’s life.
“When I asked you about the lifestyle you thought I was talking about....?”
“And when I mentioned a play room, you thought...”
“Pool tables, maybe. Pacman.” She rubbed her forehead. “I’m disappointed about the Pacman.”
After Ashleigh’s horrible night, she finds herself mildly pushed by Rubio into going to a party. Little did she know that this party would be at the home of a man who helped her earlier in the evening and she also was completely unaware that it was a BDSM party. Liam assumed that Ashleigh is into the lifestyle when he sees that she accompanied Rubio to the party. It does not take long for little miss innocent to ascertain what sort of party it was and it takes even less time for Liam to decipher that he would not be getting lucky with said innocent ballerina that night. What ensues is the beginning of Liam’s slight obsession with Ashleigh. Perhaps it was her innocence and purity? Perhaps it was the fact that one tortured soul calls to another?
“I’m going to touch you everywhere, wherever I want, and you won’t have a choice in the matter. We’ve already figured out that you can’t get away from me.”
I had to focus my attention on her sexual issues, not my over-the-top fantasies of fucking her. I had to use the D/s to make her more comfortable with sex, not to torment her. Oh God – she was turning me into one of those white-knight BDSM guys.
Liam gets captured by Ashleigh’s brokenness. Her damaged soul calls to him and he decides to make it his mission to help her – to fix her. He is unable to walk away from her. He is also unable to treat her like the hordes of women he has used in the past. Ashleigh sees Liam as her white knight, the one man who will break through and help her heal and move on. Mr. Dominant becomes the savior?
I loved the development of Liam and Ashleigh’s relationship. It most definitely went to places I did not foresee. I also loved how tenderhearted and caring Liam could be with Ashleigh. Even in his denial about his true feelings for Ashleigh, he became what she needed. The pair most definitely had many obstacles to overcome. As Ashleigh becomes the woman that she has always wanted to be slowly letting go of her past, can her knight do the same thing? Liam was so adamant that he would never allow anyone in. Is happiness in the cards for the pair?
I need to mention Rubio or "The Great Rubio". Although he is a secondary character in this book, I adored him. He provided the much needed comedic relief this story desperately needed. I will give you just a snippet of why my love for him now reaches unreasonable proportions:
“Forget it,” I said. “Me and Liam just had some weirdness between us last time we were together.”
“He put his cock in your asshole, huh?”
“What? No. It’s just...Forget it. It’s cool.”
“Whatever,” Ruby said with a petulant curl of his lip. “Is your problem, Liam. Your stupidity. You can kiss my round Brazilian ass.”
LMAO! And, the best news ever is the fact that book two in this series will be about this Brazilian hottie. I for one am waiting with bated breathe. Would you not be? I mean.....
All in all, Waking Kisses was a book that surprised me. I was expected a wonderful read but I was truly astounded at how much I loved this story. It dealt with some horrific issues and I feel this author did it in a very honest, real and raw way. This story enthralled me and I was captured by the struggles that both Ashleigh and Liam were facing. While this story definitely had the BDSM elements to it, I did not find it to be extreme in any way. This was my first Annabel Joseph book and it will not be my last. I adored this book and cannot recommend it enough. Now, go forth and read this book! Seriously....go!
“Nothing. But sometimes someone comes with a kiss. You know, a real kiss or....a word or an inspiration.” He looked into my eyes, holding my gaze. “Something new to wake them up from a – a long, lonely sleep. Waking kiss.”
I let go of control and fear and something else swept in to take their place. Surrender. Capitulation.