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ARC Review: Club Wonderland (Friends and Benefits #2) by Christine d’Abo

Club Wonderland - Christine d'Abo

Book Description:


Alice White isn't used to being ignored. So when the object of her lust does just that, she's bound and determined to get his attention. Her pursuit leads her to Wonderland, the kind of club she's only read about, and suddenly Alice is craving something she never knew she needed.


Gael Hernandez wants to be the youngest partner at his prestigious law firm, and not even a certain tempting legal assistant can distract him from his goal of financially helping his family. Until she shows up at his favorite club and surprises him with an interest in being restrained. But the BDSM lifestyle is no game to him, and he won't take things further until Alice is schooled into submission.


After a taste, Alice wants more. She offers to be Gael's sub for one weekend, with nothing forbidden and no boundaries. In a few short days, he gives her the strength to be the person she's always wanted to be. Now Alice just needs to convince Gael that he can dominate in the bedroom, and submit to love.



Alice, a former child beauty pageant queen and model had the looks, but they never brought her luck in the dating department. She wasn't portrayed as the bimbo who used her looks to get what she wanted. She was smart, a hard worker and a helpful work colleague. Despite her attraction to Gael, she never acted upon it. Gael never seemed to pay any attention to her in a manner that was anything but professional. I thought she managed to fake confidence quite well. Sometimes it was genuine, other times it seemed to evaporate. However, I liked that she spoke up for herself more often than not.

I think the book blurb was a little misleading, especially the part about Alice “not used to being ignored and being bound and determined to get his attention”. That implied that she was a go-getter and probably not afraid of rejection, but she didn't come across that way to me.

Gael needed money to help out his parents, and his one shot was to make partner at his uncle's law firm, but there were strict rules he had to follow: no one could know of the family relation, no dating the office staff, and under no circumstances could his kinky lifestyle come to light. Alice hadn't gone unnoticed, but he was determined to keep his distance from her, no matter how much it pained him to do so.

I enjoyed Alice's honesty about her feelings and wants once she had followed Gael into Club Wonderland. Too many times characters beat around the bush or just don't say anything out of fear of rejection or embarrassment. While Alice explored her submissive side, she showed Gael that it was possible to find someone who embodied everything he wanted in a partner. Love, acceptance and enjoyment of the same lifestyle. However their time was cut short by Alice's mother. That was the only aspect of the story that I had a difficult time with. Her mother didn't do anything that would have made me think she was caring or considerate. Every time she came on the scene, she was telling Alice what she should do. At the end, it seemed like she had finally gotten her way, but then seeing her daughter mope made her do a complete three sixty. I just didn't buy how quickly that came about. Despite that hiccup, I liked that it was Alice who brought the ending full circle instead of having the man chase after her.

This was a very steamy read and not heavy on the BDSM. After all, Alice was a novice. But all the scenes were pretty hot. I thought the story flowed well, and the speed of their budding relationship didn't feel rushed, considering they'd been dancing around their mutual attraction for months. Having Alice not hold back also helped to move things along quicker because Gael always knew where he stood.

Club Wonderland is another story by this author that I'll be adding to my favorites list along with her Long Shots series. It's also one that I would read again.

Rating: 4-4.5

Disclaimer: I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review.

Source: http://msromanticreads.wordpress.com/2013/10/14/arc-review-club-wonderland-friends-and-benefits-2-by-christine-dabo