With The Lights On by Ayla Ruse

LIGHTS
With The Lights On by Ayla Ruse
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short Story (45 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Tia’s an intelligent, beautiful woman who’d rather remain on the sidelines of life. Including her sex life — or lack thereof. She used to dream of finding pleasure in a man’s arms, but she knows it’s only fantasy. She’s built different, or she’s broken. Either way, it means she can’t give in to the temptation to be with the man she wants.

Damien’s been attracted to Tia for months, but with their differing schedules, it hasn’t been easy to get close. When the perfect opportunity presents itself, he takes a leap, straight into her arms and straight toward… a lackluster coupling?

Presented with this challenge, Damien pulls out all the stops to ensure Tia has an unforgettable night, and it’ll be the first of many if he has his way. Now that Tia has nowhere to hide, will she give herself over to Damien’s care, or will she run away?

Tia Sinclair is sick of strange men trying to pick her up in various public places simply because she’s alone. Sure, she’s good looking, but it’s starting to get tiring turning them all down. She’s decided to approach a colleague, Dr Damien Rogers to see if he’d be interested in a one night stand. No strings attached. Tia usually is disappointed by sex and in a strangely intimate conversation with Damien she admits so. Damien is eager to prove her wrong and Tia is just attracted enough to the handsome doctor to let him try.

I found it took me a while to warm up to Tia. She tells us in great, vivid detail how hard her life is – being intelligent (she has a PhD) and very good at her job (she’s got several publications and field years behind her) and drop dead sexy. It’s so *very* annoying how men constantly throw themselves at her feet. After a few pages of this I was questioning why on earth she’d decided to approach Damien for a one night stand at all. She has no interest in sex with other men and claims she can take care of her own pleasure perfectly fine on her own. Then when Damien approaches her and she opens her mouth she starts stammering and tripping over her words. It made me question her insistence of how smart she really was. I read very mixed signals from Tia and a big gap between what Tia told us about herself and how she initially acted.

Despite this rocky beginning, the conversation between Tia and Damien did become interesting and when she finally settled enough to discuss matters in more depth Damien became curious and then determined to prove to Tia she wasn’t “built differently” and could experience an orgasm and pleasure through sex with another person. I thought the set up of this situation between Tia and Damien could have been handled a bit more smoothly, but once I read past that to the second half of the story it was really engrossing. Tia is quite a convoluted character under her own arrogance and when Damien had scratched that surface I finally found myself more interested in her. Tia and Damien learn to trust each other, and Damien is determined to prove himself to Tia. They go slow, no hard and fast sex scenes that are over before you can really enjoy them.

I found this second half wonderful in that it showed the complexities of Damien and Tia’s character. They learned and explored together and this added richness to the story in my eyes. It made me glad I had persevered through the beginning when I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy where the story led. There is some very mild BDSM (talk of tying Tia up) and a few surprises, but for the most part this is vanilla erotic storytelling and should appeal to many readers.

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