Pleasure knows no bounds . . .
Gwen Hamilton is always looking for a thrill. Not even running a secret BDSM club can fulfill her true desires. It's only when she's backstage at a rock concert and attracts the eye---and experienced hands---of guitarist Mal Kennealy that she finds that perfect combination of danger and excitement she's been craving. Calling herself "Excrucia," she revels in his uncompromising dominance each night. And yet by day, he knows her only as Gwen, his new escort for public appearances.
Excrucia blows Mal's mind with her enthusiastic submission to his harshest commands. Even though he has a reputation for never seeing the same woman twice, he can't help being tempted by the woman willing to fulfill his every fantasy. And when Mal discovers that Gwen---the sweet arm candy designed to soften his surly public image---is really Excrucia, he never wants to let her go. Finally he can indulge his absolute power. But dancing too recklessly on the razor's edge could cut deeper than he bargained for . . .
"Everyone knows Cecilia Tan is the queen of hot, but she's also the queen of wit and angst and voice. Taking the Lead is a book that grabs you by the collar and gives you flirty-eyes. It will tell you, 'Go sit, over there in the corner chair, and don't get up until you're done.' You will do it-absolutely and happily-because Cecilia knows exactly what you want."
--Christina Lauren, New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Bastard and Sweet Filthy Boy
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.5 out of 5 stars I really, really liked this. The first half was awesome! It started great, I was totally intrigued. I thought the characters where interesting and I was excited about what was to come. I found Mal and Gwen's relationship fascinating as well as their kink preference. Loved the draw they had towards one another. I really liked the battle Gwen was having in the beginning about who she was when she was with Mal. I liked her a lot and found her perspective really interesting. It was super erotic, way hot, and I was loving all the details being learned. I thought there was a great build and I was all in. And then... The second half wasn't as great for me. More in the just good category. I was having some issues with Mal and his man drama. His issues, even though stated, aren't very in depth and it made it hard for me to fully grasp the problem. It did create some nice conflict between him and Gwen however. I loved all the steps they took to move forward. I found their brand of rougher kink fascinating. That being said, after so many scenes I felt almost desensitized to it. There is a lot of them, I liked them all, they're good, well written and descriptive, BDSM hot for sure, and in the context of what they're doing, it made total sense but the frequency of them made the story feel a bit drawn out to me. It picked back up at the end. Loose ends were tied up and there was a nice bit of drama and a bit of sweet when Mal finally pulled it together and worked out his issues. It was a really, really good story overall, super hot, and loved the BDSM perspective. Complimentary copy received for honest review.
Kink at its best. Mal is the guitarist for rock band The Rough and he is the guy in the band with very kinky needs. Good thing his groupies are all screened ahead of time so some poor girl isn’t traumatized and that says a lot for a groupie. Gwen is a true Hollywood girl trying to make it in the acting business on her own and not by throwing around her family’s name. That family is very rich family and has many secrets of their own. Her mom died a very unconventional death and dear old gramps left a secret family business to both of his granddaughters. Now how many grandpas would leave their granddaughters a BDSM club in your family’s home basement?! Gwen wanted to try out her acting skills and what better way than playing a groupie at one of The Rough’s concerts. Since her sister is dating the lead singer she had an in backstage anyway. But when one of the managers comes up to the group of girls looking for someone who isn’t shy of some rough play, Gwen willingly takes the opportunity to play a very dirty game with the rock star. Mal is surprised to what extent this girl will go because what he wants is definitely in the kinky side of things and “actress” Gwen is loving this as much as Mal is. Surprisingly since Mal is a one and done type of guy he can’t get this girl off his mind. Now that the boys have some down time after their stint on the road they are expected to go out in public eye so that they stay relevant and since Axel has Gwen’s sister on his arm they figure that Gwen should go as arm candy for Mal. Here’s the thing though…Mal has no idea that this prime and proper rich girl is the same girl who gets her kink on right along with him. This book definitely is not for the faint of heart but if you like reading about how the other half live in this kinky sex world, this is for you. It just isn’t all BDSM because the author did a really good job of making Mal and Gwen into “real” people who have battled issues their whole lives and she has fully developed characters which you fall in love with and care about. I loved this book and look forward to read about our next bad boy rocker from this band. This book was provided as an ARC from NetGalley for an honest review.
Can I just say WOW! There are rock star series, and there is The Secrets of a Rock Star series. A gritty, sexy, and sometimes humerous look inside the lives of a rock group named The Rough, and that's exactly how these boys like to play and have sex, rough. Especially Mal Kenneally, the guitar player. Mal has his rules when it comes to women. Never do the same one twice, and they have to take what he dishes out. Then he meets Excrutia. She takes everything he has and more. She also ends up as his date for public appearances. Gwen is the sister of Ricki Hamilton, the heiress now engaged to the lead singer of The Rough, Axel Hawke. Mal breaks his rule because he wants excrutia again, but he soon finds out that she's also Gwen. Thanks to a series of bad relationships, Mal has a difficult time giving Gwen what she actually wants. Will he ever change? I loved this book, Cecilia Tan does a remarkable job exploring the mind of sadist, and Mal is positively yummy! I couldn't put the book down. (except when I had to sleep, of course) It was an absolute feast for the senses!
Gwen Hamilton wants to succeed at acting without using her family name: she wants to be judged on her own terms. But when an exercise in Method Acting leads her accidentally into the arms of Mal Kenneally, the rock star with a reputation for unusual sexual appetites, Gwen thinks maybe she’s found the ultimate test of her acting abilities. Or maybe she’s finally met the man who can see the real Gwen underneath the act. Mal Kenneally has done his best to leave his aristocratic British family behind. The Rough, the rock band he started with his childhood friend Axel, is his family now. But will he be forced to choose between the brotherhood of the band and his growing obsession with Gwen Hamilton? Mal and Gwen push each other’s limits, each convinced that one day they’ll go too far. But the farther they go, the more they discover that two can delve far deeper than one. Review: There is a story behind me getting this book for review. I was a little frustrated with this book's publisher and getting rejected on Netgalley when I applied for books. I got rejected for yet another of their books, which was probably because it was a very popular author. So being annoyed I asked for any book that might interest me or was in a genre that I liked. This was one of those books. The description was great and it was an Author that I had been wanting to read. So of course because I asked for it thinking I would not get it I received a copy. Well... I am so glad I was being contrary that day. I thought the book was awesome! I was very surprised when I started reading this book. Even though I tend to stay away from Sadism and Masochism, it just is not my thing. I thought it was very well-done and written and made perfect sense for the characters and story. The kink level is high in this story, so be forewarned if this is something that bothers you. Though it is never good when a romance starts out on a lie, this added more tension and struggle to the romance. I think the stalker part of the story, though it finally got Mal moving on the relationship could have been a little stronger. Both characters were very strong, passionate, the role play in their romance was so great and I really got into that part of the story. This is the second book in this series but this can totally be read as a stand alone and not be confusing. I can attest to that since I always seem to start series out of order. I have to say that I am so glad I was being stubborn and requested this book. Will be adding this Author to my must read list. 4Stars *I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.*