Book Review – Asking For It by Lilah Pace

by Maryse on June 3, 2015 · 48 comments

in My Book Reviews

Asking for It
WOW!!!!! This is a  fantastic, breathtaking and harrowing story. I couldn’t put it down (other than to exclaim over certain poignant parts), reading it in one sitting, devouring it every step of the way. I followed, and internalized every single emotional and physical footprint of their personally distressing journey. Exploring each other (and themselves). I “stepped in their shoes”. I became “Vivienne” (as hard as that was at times), and I highlighted the whole darn thing!!!

While I wish I could say I don’t know why I’m wired this way . . . I do.

Now beware my friends!!! This tale is not for everyone. There are certain potential triggers riddled throughout and the subject matter as a whole, is already quite controversial.

“You hate it, don’t you? The fantasy. I do too. But it doesn’t change anything.”

An unconventional love story, for those willing to explore a different side of human psyche, and the traumas that make us (at least in part) who we are.

Maryse: OMG that blurb makes my eyes do THIS!!! eek But… I can’t act that innocent. After all, I’ve read one sorta “like” this fantasy, before. And I LOVED it! With lotsa warnings. LOL!!!

Maryse: Gah!! I’m already loving this “dark” read… the writing is amazing, and the inner dialogue… SO REAL.

Wave for help or duck behind the car, so the driver doesn’t see that I’m a woman out here alone? My fantasies were one thing. Reality was another. I wanted help really badly, but I walked behind the car.

Wow. This is gonna be good.

LB: What’s Asking For It about – contemporary?

Maryse: Dark… she has er… umm… specific fantasies to… “get off” <— eek OMG I just said that. (<—sidenote from Maryse after I’ve read it… it’s SO much more than that. Very emotional. Possibly quite healing. We’ll see…)

Maryse: “It’s all delightful fun until you have to explain your life choices to your shrink.” <— Wow. I’m loving this!

Jenn: Loving this book!!

Emma: Just finished… good stuff!


Whoever “Lilah Pace” is (her publisher indicates that this is a pseudeymn for a well known NYT Best Selling author), she’s a total pro. Telling an emotionally daunting yet romantic love story <— ( yes… romantic it is in it’s own way) and handling such a delicate subject matter, responsibly. Nothing is glossed over. Nothing is rushed. And nothing is *squashed* either. There is detail, where there should be, aggression and pain, heartache and fear… and it’s gentle and loving, everywhere we need it.

Possibly even healing. Because THAT is the whole point of this book.

So what’s it about?

Vivienne is an ambitious undergrad, teacher’s assistant (I think) and she’s got all of the normal friends, personal comforts and fairly “normal” past boyfriends. Except for one thing. She has to fake it. Or she has to “go there”. There? A VERY dark place to be able to… well. I said it up there. Don’t make me say it again. ;)

…it never, ever gets me off. Only one fantasy does that. I try not to think about it. I tell myself it’s sick, it’s wrong.

She’s only ever confessed her need (fetish?) to her latest boyfriend, and it didn’t go too well. He didn’t understand. Understandably. And he didn’t want to “do that” to her.

Oh, he tried to be sympathetic, all “But why do you think you feel this way?” That’s what I pay my therapist for. What I needed from him was something a whole lot dirtier. A whole lot scarier. And gentle, funny Geordie couldn’t give it to me.

And they ended it.

But she’s met someone (a mutual friend of her best friend). Jonah.

His whole body looks as though someone took the macho ideal of a masculine form and brought it almost to the breaking point. Strong— and yet strained, beneath the surface.

This is a man who could be broken, I think. But he’d be more likely to break you first.

A professor at her University.

A professor. That’s virtually the last profession I would have guessed for him. Maybe— SWAT team member. Navy SEAL. Hit man. Not a teacher.

And he’s overheard a private, yet all-too-public (and embarrassing) conversation, between her and her ex.

They have no idea how deep this goes for me. To them it’s a tremor, not an earthquake.

He checks on her. Consoles her. And he’s all too willing to play. Because HE TOO has very specific needs.

“You’d like to play one role. I’d like to play another.”

They are two pieces to a broken puzzle.

Everything is clear between us. No hurt feelings. No further complications.

The best move is not to answer him, now or ever.

I click reply.

This becomes an intense, mutual yet unemotional “relationship”. To keep up the intensity, they need to remain strangers. But partaking in something so personally exposing, together… how can it possibly remain that way?

“…don’t you see? I don’t just f**k you, Jonah. I bare my soul to you.”

Of course the “why” is explored. How could *this* be? What is normally a trigger, and can turn most off of any intimate contact (or have them struggling to overcome the guilt and shame), can have others in the same boat, seeking it out. Needing it. Desperately. How could two people want to partake in what most consider a creepy and unforgivable act? This is not intimacy, right? This is emotional and physical abuse and degradation. But between two consenting adults, for some… it is so much more.

And as frightening and taboo as many of the scenes are, broken or not, the two main characters (and their entourage) are absolutely human. Completely believable in their successful and ambitious public personas… and in their crumbling private lives. Their torment. The author handled such a delicate, yet chilling subject matter with dignity. No matter how ugly it gets, I never found myself ashamed to be a part of their lives… to get to know them and let myself eventually become them. To be reading this.

And the backstories? She doesn’t tiptoe through that, either. We get to know her “why”. But his? That only comes in the end, and kept me guessing the entire way through. And yet… as despicable as his part in their mutual satisfaction seemed, I never hated him. In fact I adored him. I knew there was so much to Jonah, and the author doesn’t leave us hanging or “making up our own” backstory for him. He plays a monstrous part… but his heart proves him otherwise.

AND OMG by the time a certain something was revealed… I was ecstatic!!! Voraciously consuming every word as certain things came to light, and the reaction… and domino effect of it all.

Does this one end on a cliffhanger? No… not really… (Okaaaayyyyyy I suppose a bit of a cliffhanger *snort* but it wasn’t killing me like some do…). It made sense to end it there because there is SO much more to come… and I can’t wait!!!

“It’s your fantasy, and mine. Chances like this don’t come along often— two people twisted in the exact same way.”

4.5 stars!!

P.S. Thank you to the publisher for sending me a review copy. This was exactly up my “intense-read-need” alley! And also:

Maryse: Soooooo the curiosity is killing me since I’m loving her book (and the writing) so much. Penguin Books says: “Lilah Pace is a pseudonym for a New York Times bestselling author.“ Does anyone know “who” Lilah Pace is? (Only tell me in private-message for now if you do, ’cause I’m figuring it’s not supposed to be known). LOL!!!

Melissa: Inquiring minds want to know!!!

Miranda: Now it’s killing me! lol

Sarah: I’m super curious too. Glad to hear you’re enjoying the book! I loved it!

Emma: Maryse I’m reading this book today, my day off work. I need to know who the author really is. Loving this one too!

Maryse: It has a “Cara McKenna”/”Megan Hart” feel to it…

Emma: I was thinking Raine Miller

Maryse: Interesting… *waggles eyebrows* ;)

Emma: Or.. Lisa Renee Jones… I more guess… Julie Kenner

Sadie: Did you figure out who Lilah Pace is?! I have to know.

Maryse: No I have NO clue. Dying to know so I can read the rest of her stuff… unless I already have. LOL! :P

Maryse: Somebody!!! PLEASE. tell. me. *grumbles* bunch of secret keepers…  ;) *snort* :P

Anyone? Still waiting… ;)

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{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

Lise June 3, 2015 at 8:41 PM

WOW… is right. Spot on review, Maryse. This was a captivating, could-not-stop read and am so looking forward to more of Jonah.

marina June 3, 2015 at 8:46 PM

Totally devouring and almost done. Soooo good, so well written., so unputdownable, so the kind of book ive been waiting for! Hard to read while watching the hawks!!!

Maryse June 3, 2015 at 8:51 PM

YAY Lise and marina!!!!!!

This is one of “those” … from back in our “olden” days. You know… 2011-2013. ;) LOL!!!

Lise June 3, 2015 at 9:02 PM

Yes, it sure is “one of those”

And… Sorry Marina, but I’m in Tampa and it is “Go Bolts” all the way!

bev June 3, 2015 at 9:14 PM

Great review, Maryse.
I still feel like I’m processing it. I thought the romantic aspect was woven in so well. Their time in Scotland was so lovely but then so hard, with the different wants and needs. And her conflicted feelings about him and wondering about his reactions if she told her story, perfect.
And yes her art, friends, Doreen are a great balance.
I think though that you, Amy, Tessa, and I should totally book club this. We can start in some funky restaurant in Austin, then clear our heads with a walk on the beach on the Isle of Skye, then warm up with some beignets and cafe au lait in New Orleans. Too much?

Tessa June 3, 2015 at 9:45 PM

If it gets me to Scotland… *grins*

Great review. It was so true emotionally. I loved the tiny reveals into who Jonah was. I totally got where they were coming from, and neither were contrived nor was it written to scintillate. It was pure and honest.

Susan June 3, 2015 at 10:03 PM

Okay you sold me. I’m downloading it.

marina June 3, 2015 at 10:11 PM

It really is one of those with the feel from the early days. Had that feel right from the beginning pages.

Maryse June 3, 2015 at 10:33 PM

But it’s the whole “good girl” part that had me gasping…


Tessa June 3, 2015 at 11:01 PM

That was insane, but more had my heart aching.

bev June 3, 2015 at 11:06 PM

That part on the porch. Oh, so little and so much.
“..and, I am in a place beyond words.”
I have to say I adored Jonah too. I thought it was interesting the different ways they lived, their homes and friendships. Oh, and the different way they saw the etching.

Maryse June 3, 2015 at 11:18 PM

That etching was so poignant!!!!

I loved the ending of the book too… it didn’t disturb me that there’d be more, especially because of how the book ended. SO meaningful.

bev June 3, 2015 at 11:31 PM

It was a bit more of a CH than I was expecting. But it seems like a good place to stop, especially with the pacing of the book. I think I need a breather before we move on.
Tessa, no definitely not scintillating to me nor any just for shock value.

Tessa June 4, 2015 at 12:58 AM

Loved the sketch conversation. It said so much about who they are and how their minds worked. If it had to stop there, it was the best way to do it.

Jean June 4, 2015 at 7:37 AM

Whoa, I’m still processing….. Great review Maryse! I’m dying to know who the author is… think we’ll ever find out??

Thanks to “innocent bev” for this recommendation!!!!

bev June 4, 2015 at 9:03 AM

Jean, you were so quiet, I didn’t think you had got to it yet. I meant to go right into a new book last night, but my mind had still been caught up in this one.

Jean June 4, 2015 at 9:48 AM

This book is like nothing I’ve read before…… Like I said I’m still processing and having problems deciding what to read next! I realy loved it, especially the writing style!

Amy June 4, 2015 at 10:43 AM

“Does this one end on a cliffhanger? No… not really…” <—– *sputtering* What…how…but…it left me HANGING!!!!! Alright, I'll concede and say that where it left things was a good stopping point. I'm just impatient and want MORE.

At least we know when to expect the next one, so that's a plus. ;)

Maryse June 4, 2015 at 10:55 AM

Lol!!!! Okay I amended it. ;) I didn’t find it too bad, you know… It’s not over yet, no doubt, but the ending left me fairly satisfied. It needed to “break” there… ;)

Maryse June 4, 2015 at 10:58 AM

I still haven’t started anything new either… I’m dying for more as intense as this one, but have no idea where to go. I know they’re out there… In fact y’all have probably already recommended ‘em to me. LOL!!!

Anne June 4, 2015 at 11:23 AM

Great review Maryse! Need to read this book soon :D Its right up my alley.

Amy June 4, 2015 at 11:30 AM

No, it wasn’t too bad as far as CH’s go…just enough to make me a whiny baby. *snort* Doesn’t take much for that though. :P And oooooh, you’re asking for some peanuts with that last comment about the recs!!

I like Bev’s idea of that road trip…and Scotland means Laura!!! And kilts :D

bev June 4, 2015 at 12:07 PM


Shane June 4, 2015 at 1:12 PM

Great review Maryse, thank you. I will have to add it to be TBR now…

Shell June 4, 2015 at 2:11 PM

Thank you Maryse for the review I was waiting for as I was too much so a chicken to read it without knowing how scary this one will be. Now I can go and start after so many recommendations. I am quite excited and can’t wait to read it.

Maryse June 4, 2015 at 2:54 PM

Lol bev… I was thinking “peanuts” too… :P

Maryse June 4, 2015 at 2:56 PM

My pleasure, my friends. This one is worth it. :)

Lisa Masin June 4, 2015 at 3:32 PM

Maryse, read The Other Man by R.K Lilley. It was so good!!! Hot mystery man, suspense, angst!! A read I could not put down!! Oops, I didn’t get all my work done today!!!

Amy June 4, 2015 at 4:44 PM

*covers face and snickers*

Y’all WISH my autocorrect would have misbehaved again. :P

Lisa…I’ve been eyeing that one! IS it a standalone? I can’t remember…

bev June 4, 2015 at 4:56 PM

Maryse, have you found a book yet?

Maryse June 4, 2015 at 6:50 PM

Not yet… you? :D

Maryse June 4, 2015 at 6:50 PM

Thank you Lisa!!! :D

Lisa Masin June 4, 2015 at 6:51 PM

Amy, it is a stand alone!! So good!!! Read it!!!

Lisa Masin June 4, 2015 at 7:16 PM

Maryse & Amy, you will not be disappointed!!!

bev June 4, 2015 at 7:16 PM

Going to start True North by Liora Blake tonight.
MichelleS, is really liking it.

Amy June 4, 2015 at 7:35 PM

Yay!! Thank you Lisa! I really, really liked her Up In the Air series and absolutely LOVED her Tristan and Danika series (seriously one of my favorite couples ever!). :D

marina June 4, 2015 at 7:41 PM

This book definitely has a Cara McKenna vibe. The writing, the build, the pacing., the heat… Does Cara release under another name also? Cant wait for the next book. Read The Other Man beforehand this one so now I’m totally lost as to what to read next.

Tessa June 4, 2015 at 8:01 PM

It’s a YA New York Times Bestseller. It makes me curious, but I get why she’d want to separate. Not because of being ashamed or something, but to keep the two genres and audience separate. Makes me wonder if it’s Suzanne Collins or Veronica Roth. :D

marina June 5, 2015 at 7:57 AM

Wow, a YA author! I’d be mega surprised if it was Veronica Roth. At an author event early on I asked her if she’d ever move out of YA into Adult. I said “because I need me some 50 shades of Four” and her eyes bulged out of her head and she shook her head and went “uh, no, no, no, no, no, no”. She said she loves YA and is sticking with that. Suzanne Collins is possible! I missed that it is a YA New York Times Bestseller. For a couple moments I thought M. Pierce was a possibility? Will we ever know?????

Jean June 5, 2015 at 8:48 AM

I love R.K. Lilley! Tristan and Danika will forever be a fav, but also Up In theAir series….. James Cavendish…. Yummy!!! But I thought the Wild Side series had to be read before The Other Man. Haven’t gotten to Wild Side series yet. Can anyone who has read both confirm for me???

marina June 5, 2015 at 8:56 AM

It helps to read Wild Side Series first because The Other Man references characters from Wild Side and there are some things going on which would be clearer if you did read it first. It’s not a must but I think I would suggest it. Other Man takes place at the same time as Wild Side. It’s a great series. Raw, wild, feels different…

Jean June 5, 2015 at 11:18 AM

That’s what I thought! Thanks marina!

Lisa Masin June 5, 2015 at 12:57 PM

Oops Amy, sorry I didn’t know about the Wild Side. Thanks Marina for that info. I will have to read the Wild Side. I didn’t feel lost reading The Other Man or feel like I was missing anything.

MichelleS June 5, 2015 at 3:24 PM

Wild Side was a five star for me, so I’m checking this spinoff one out for sure. One more peek at Dair? Definitely worth it!!!

marina June 6, 2015 at 9:32 PM

Sure! As Amy said you may not feel like you are missing anything. All of the books are worth reading. Maybe the order doesn’t matter too much. Just a lot of story there worth finding out.

marina June 6, 2015 at 9:33 PM

Sorry meant Lisa!

Jessica June 7, 2015 at 3:09 AM

I started reading this when I saw your review and I could not put it down! It was such a good book and I cannot wait for the next book to come out. 3 months is going to feel like such a long time!

Tamara September 1, 2015 at 4:13 PM

Hi all!

The blurb sounds amazing! You have my curiosity piqued, definitely. Is it a two point of view novel?

It’s just that, right now, I find it hard to focus when I read male povs *sigh* and I don’t know why!

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