The Novice by Harlem Dae

The Novice by Harlem Dae
Sexy As Hell Book 1
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (203 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Multiple Partners, Anal Play, Fetish, Toys, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

London – one meeting, one month of lessons and a landslide of depraved new desires.

My journey to Hell started with a decaff coffee. Nothing more than a grey mug full of dull-brown liquid devoid of its most useful ingredient.

One sip, one smile, one touch of her hand and it was soon clear my life wasn’t destined to stay dull. Oh, no, suddenly I had a month of bedroom education planned by a sultry vixen who intended to broaden my horizons beyond my usual peach-pink palette.

She wanted to take me to deep purples and navy blues and the pitch blackness that was pure sin. And on the other side of that blackness was a place that might look like Hell, with debauchery and wantonness, people playing devil’s advocate, luring innocents into the hotter, steamier corners of the world.

Her world.

Oh, yes, she promised each night to take me there and paint me an orange-and-red picture that would come alive, flickering like flames, enticing me, holding me spellbound and eager to learn more. To touch, explore, drown in coming.

And drown I would. I was no match for her tricks and taunts. My only chance of survival was to show her that I was no vanilla virgin. I had a rainbow of mastery up my sleeve, too, and if she just opened her eyes, she might be dazzled enough to stay—stay and take ‘my’ lessons. If she didn’t kill me first, that was, with pleasure.

Winter is on its way – with long, cold nights ahead – and Zara Watson has unconsciously been looking for a project. Searching the coffee shops and picking up a number of one night stands, it’s not until she lets Victor Partridge take her home that she finally understands what she’s been seeking. A man to teach exactly what she likes and how she wants it done. A man to shag silly, going hard until they’re both wrung dry. Someone to guide through the shocking, thrilling aspects of her far-from-ordinary life. Initially at least, Victor thinks he’s the one in control – and Zara is about to show him how very wrong he can be. A naughty bet and exotic night opens both their eyes to the tasty possibilities.

Wow. Holy freaking wow. This book blew away all my expectations in the best way imaginable. Be warned, this isn’t some prissy little story where the hero makes “violent” love to his woman while holding her tenderly, or stroking her hair and whispering sweet nothings in her ear. Nor is this book about a skittish woman needing to be seduced, tutored in the art of sex while love blossoms and develops at a staid pace between them. This book explodes in your face from the very first sentence and takes you on an emotional and sexual roller coaster from those titillating starting words all the way to the very end.

The authors have managed in the space of one book to shock me, tempt me, seduce me and absolutely open my eyes. Let me be clear though – this in no way is for the faint of heart and I can completely believe it won’t be every reader’s cup of tea. But I loved it. The Virgin managed to do everything Fifty Shades didn’t for me. It was real, honest, up front and in your face but without being offensive or over the top. The authors walked that deliciously fine line between being outrageous without crossing into putting me off. Neither did they err on the side of caution and end up being so soft as to invite ridicule (like so many other novels).

At times I did wonder whether I liked Zara Watson, and I could well believe others won’t find her at all comfortable. But that was one of the things that kept me turning the pages well past my bedtime. Zara pushes the boundaries, indeed some she smashed right through and doesn’t even pause to apologise. She is not a comfortable, or even easily understood, character. While at a first glance Victor is in comparison quite normal. But I saw these hints of more in him. And toward the end I wonder if Victor didn’t see his own depths as well. The longer I read the more I came to appreciate not just both their differences, but how they truly learned from each other – although Zara might never have admitted so.

While Victor was (understandably) reticent in places – Zara truly can be so forward as to be considered a force of nature – nowhere was any action non-consensual. This was an odyssey for both Victor and Zara. An exploration through the world of BDSM and most particularly themselves. I can’t be too much more specific or I might spoil it for some, but let me say this: if you want to be taken on a ride that steals your breath, makes you think outside the box and leaves you squirming in your seat both with sexy naughty feelings and discomfort at your boundaries being pushed, this is the book for you. Like anything that makes you feel strongly it’s both wonderful and shocking, breathtaking and uneasy all rolled up into a glorious, far-too-brief ride. I’m very glad I have the second book – The Player – right here ready to start as soon as I can finish typing. Because I need the next book about as much as my next breath. The ending isn’t on a cliff hanger as such – but the story is clearly far from over, and the teasing hint of “continue the story in book 2” is an offer I just can’t refuse.


  1. Thank you for the wonderful review of The Virgin – it was a complex and challenging book to write but ultimately a triumph in producing a novel that is real and visceral and seems to have connected with so many readers.

    However this rawness has caused Amazon to pull the novel in for ‘review’ due to content so at this time The Virgin is not available for purchase. Though this could change at any moment so please continue to click on links and keep an eye on the Harlem Dae website.

    The other two books in the Sexy as Hell trilogy are available but they are best read in order with The Virgin first, then The Player and finally The Vixen so that Victor and Zara’s wild journey can be truly appreciated.

    Harlem Dae –

  2. Wow is all I can really say about that review!
    I enjoy reading books that are not in my comfort zone. They definitely make me think more about myself, the world around me and people in all walks of life. 🙂

  3. Update on Amazon’s withdrawl of The Virgin for purchase. It seems the title was their main complaint and it now available for sale as The Novice. US link – UK link –

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