Reviewed by Elise Logan
Title: For One Night Only
Author: Beverly Havlir
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: BDSM erotic fiction
Publication Date: October 2006
Rating: 3 out of 5
This story is an interesting twist on the old saw of the boss and the secretary. In this one, the secretary, Lily, has discovered that her boss, Michael, has a bit of a prediliction for BDSM. Though she is convinced there can be no relationship between them, she sets out to give him – and herself – one night of absolute pleasure. Unlike other stories of this type she neither tries to disguise herself nor continue their working relationship. It makes for a nice dose of reality.
There were many things I really liked about this story. First, I particularly liked that Lily took charge of her own life and her own happiness. Second, I liked that there was a clear distinction made between Michael’s friends/acquaintances who lived in the lifestyle, and Michael, who is a self-professed dabbler in the scene. One scene, in particular, comes to mind here. Without spoiling things, I would like to say that in their first sexual encounter, though Lily has no experience being a sub, she isn’t stupid about it. She has clearly considered it carefully and her thoughtfulness about this contributes significantly to the scene. Third, the character arc for both Lily and Michael is engaging. Both learn a great deal over the course of the story, about themselves and their partner. Finally, The ending of this book is one of the best I’ve read in a long time. The author comes full circle, and ends it in a clever way.
However, there were a few things I found problematic about this book. The first and most significant problem is that Michael’s actions as a Dom are erratic and border on reckless. On the one hand, he allows some insubordinations to slide, even after warnings, but on the other hand, he punishes her for breaking a rule he had not spelled out previously. This sort of inconsistency could be chalked up to his “dabbler” status, but it definitely detracts from the flow of the scenes – and the realism of the story. Secondly, I found many scene transitions to be jarring – particularly going from the first sexual encounter straight to the morning after with no account of the missing time. Also, there is a perfunctory feel to the descriptions of some acts, as if the author felt uncomfortable with full descriptions.
This book was a fun read, with some really nice relationship and BDSM elements, but there were definite bumps in the flow of the story. What saved this story was the characterization – these characters did interesting things, for interesting reasons. I like that.