Writing erotica and even BDSM can be tricky; it's got to be not only entertaining but also believable. Although I have not read too many books regarding these two subjects, I will read them if they are done right and well. Such was the case when I discovered a used copy of Topping From Below by author Laura Reese; I used to have a copy of this book, yet I barely remembered any of it. I dove into the story again, expecting a lackluster erotica story. What I got instead was so much more.
The story is thus: two sisters, Franny and Nora, are complete opposite ends of the spectrum. While Nora is outgoing, sexy, and independent, Franny is shy, timid, and homely looking. However, Franny is found dead in her apartment, bound, gagged, and somewhat mutilated, sending Nora into a downward spiral that won't end until she finds her sister's killer. Then, she meets M. M is a suave and commanding man who makes women do whatever he wants them to do and Nora learns that he even had such an influence on Franny. Soon, Nora delves deep into M's life, even going so far as to confront him with the accusation that he killed her sister. Yet, M has other plans for Nora - she is "welcomed" into his world of BDSM so as to experience Franny's life and to discover why she willing became his slave. Nora wants to resist M, yet she finds herself drawn into his world of control and sex without a concern for the ramifications of her actions. M knows what Nora needs and hands it to her with a smile and much pain.
Reese handled the sex and bondage scenes rather well without going overboard to the point of not being believable, or holding back and censoring everything for the sake of being PC. No, this is a story of control and domination, of lies and secret desires. Nora finds that the further she goes down the rabbit hole, the more she likes it and craves more. I will admit that there were two scenes in the book that did make me shudder in a not good way, yet Reese's writing still handled the scenes well. Even if the sex and BDSM scenes were taken out, this would still be a damn good book. I almost felt sorry for Franny, until the reader is exposed to Franny's "real" nature and her reasons for doing what she does. I felt even less of a concern for Nora because she was one of the "reasons" in Franny's life. The sisters are two sides of the same coin, as M pointed out to Nora, yet Nora was able to handle M's world much better than Franny. While Franny did it to gain M's love, Nora did it to gain control.
Topping From Below is a well plotted and written book that will keep you guessing to the very very end.
Tighten the bonds and enjoy the wild ride.