Friday, February 17, 2012

REVIEW: Holding the Cards by Joey W. Hill

Holding The Cards (Nature of Desire, #1)
Holding the Cards
by Joey W. Hill
Nature of Desire #1
(can be read as standalone)
Erotic/BDSM Contemporary Romance
M/F, M/M/F
Ellora's Cave Publishing 2003

Lauren just wants to find Mr. Right. That's not an easy goal for a woman who wants a man willing to be chained to her in more ways than just matrimony.

A successful doctor with a healthy attitude toward sex, unashamed of her proclivities as a sexual dominant, she wants love and a family. But she's beginning to believe that there is no Mr. Right willing to stand by her in sickness and health, and be cuffed, stripped, and smacked with a riding crop.

Then Lauren's friend Lisette invites her to spend a long weekend on a private island. It turns out Lisette can't come with her, but Lauren opts to go anyway, with no one for company but Joshua, the island caretaker and his visiting friend, Marcus. Though both men are beautiful, it is Joshua that catches Lauren's attention, and not just because Marcus prefers men. Something in Josh's stormy eyes calls to her. When Marcus facilitates a game of submission and control between the three of them that will last throughout the weekend, Lauren embraces the opportunity. Josh overwhelms her with his willingness to submit to her body's desires, but her heart wants to get to the secrets behind those eyes. She is going to have to tear down his defenses and make him give her everything. And this is one Mistress who doesn't take no for an answer.


I am a huge fan of Hill’s Vampire Queen Series and I’ve been meaning to check out one of her other series so after finding Holding the Cards as a FREE download (until 2/19/12) for my Nook I jumped at the chance to read it.

Ok, so Holding the Cards does not have hot vampires in it but it’s still a good read. The BDSM elements is not as hard core as the ones in the VQS so if you want to dip your toe into the BDSM genre this a good one to start with. The relationship between three characters slowly develops over the span of the book so it easies you into the harder aspect of the D/s relationship.

Lauren, Josh and Marcus are all on the beautiful deserted island for different reasons. Lauren is trying to get over a bad break up with her last submissive. Josh is the caretaker of the rich homes on the island that are owned by the rich and famous. Marcus is Josh’s friend and a rich and successful art dealer, who just happens to be a Dom like Lauren.

Lauren find herself locked out of her friend’s house that she is borrowing for the weekend. That’s not really the embarrassing part of her and Josh meeting. Lauren had decided to use the hot tub out on the deck of the house to relax but when she tries to go back in she realizes she is locked out and the only way to get down from the high two story deck is to climb down the tree next to the deck, with only a towel wrapped around her waist. Half way down she notices these Tarzan looking guy down on the ground staring at her. (Hello Josh, I’ll be your Jane to your Tarzan anytime) Then comes along Marcus and Lauren’s embarrassment is complete.

The three spend the night together talking and eating dinner together. Then Marcus brings up the idea to play and hand of cards that when things start getting interesting. Game: High Card. Rules: Holder of the high card gets to be Dom for the night. Winner: Lauren. Now the handsome and quite Josh must play by Mistress, Lauren’s rules.

Holding the Cards is a hot, sexy and emotional ride. I liked that fact that the book didn’t end with a nice neat HEA like most books do. Josh and Lauren really care for each other and want to get to a HEA but they realize that they still need to get to know each other better. But they see the potent for love in their future.

I must admit, I lean more toward instant gratification so some of the more drawn out scenes tormented me just as much as did Josh so I skimmed a few spots and that’s the reason for the 3 star rating instead of a 4 star rating. But it was still a very much enjoyable read.

Holding the Card is available at:

FREE download until Feb 19

Check out my interview with the author.



  1. Jennifer, thanks so much for the excellent review. Yes, HTC was the second erotic romance I wrote in my career, and though I was feeling my way on certain elements (I never stop learning how to write a better book), I'm still very fond of Josh, Lauren and Marcus's island interlude. Glad you enjoyed the journey as well, despite a few of those tormented moments (lol - you and Josh can share a drink over those!). As always, I appreciate your honest feedback - it all helps!

  2. Great review. I almost wet my pants when I found it as a freebie. Can't wait to read it. I've been obsessed with Joey's Knights of the Boardroom

    1. I'll have to check out KotB now since you are obsessed with it.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.