Graduate student Vivienne Charles is afraid of her own desires—ashamed to admit that she fantasizes about being taken by force, by a man who will claim her completely and without mercy. When the magnetic, mysterious Jonah Marks learns her secret, he makes an offer that stuns her: they will remain near-strangers to each other, and meet in secret so that he can fulfill her fantasy.
Their arrangement is twisted. The sex is incredible. And—despite their attempts to stay apart—soon their emotions are bound together as tightly as the rope around Vivienne’s wrists. But the secrets in their pasts threaten to turn their affair even darker…
Reader Advisory: Asking for It deals explicitly with fantasies of non-consensual sex. Readers sensitive to portrayals of non-consensual sex should be advised.
An Excerpt from Asking For It
“It’s okay. This is difficult.” He pauses a moment before adding, “Are you scared?”
Deep breath. Honest answer. “Yes and no. I believe you aren’t going to do anything without my permission. But what we’re doing feels a little like jumping off a cliff. I’ve had this fantasy since – since always, but I never thought I’d act it out with a stranger –”
At that moment, a waiter appears by our sofa. Why do bar waiters only show up when you least want them around? Offhandedly Jonah says, “Bring me whatever she’s having.”
I don’t think he’s even looked at my glass. What if I had some ridiculous tropical drink, the kind of thing served in a pineapple with pink straws and paper umbrellas? The thought of someone as serious as Jonah sipping one of those makes me smile. Finally I’m able to relax a little – but not much.
As soon as the waiter hurries off, Jonah turns to me. “What would it take to make you feel safe?”
I like that he asked this. But how do I answer?
Cut to the chase, I remind myself. Jonah’s blunt honesty is the only way to go. “I’d need you to wear condoms. Unless you want to show me your medical records.”
Jonah nods. “I can get those for you. Can you show me test results too?”
It hadn’t even occurred to me that Jonah also might be concerned about that. “Um. Yeah, sure.”
“No rush,” he says. “I don’t mind wearing a condom at first. Makes it last longer.”
My cheeks flush as I envision Jonah inside me, pounding me, going on and on and on without mercy –
Jonah must know what I’m thinking, because he tilts his head as if he’s relishing the effect he has on me. He murmurs, “What else?”
Another sip of wine steadies me enough to answer. “I wouldn’t want you to tie me up. Not the first time, anyway.”
He smiles. “I like that you’re thinking about the future. I’ll have plenty of chances to give you what you want.”
It hadn’t even occurred to me before today that Jonah might have been considering a one-time fling. Now that I think about it, that makes more sense than assuming we’d keep playing out this scenario. But I’ve wanted this too long, too much, to assume one night will be enough to get it out of my system. If Jonah’s the right partner for this fantasy, then we have a chance I don’t intend to waste.
Already I sense that one taste of Jonah Marks won’t be enough.
About the Author
Lilah Pace is a pseudonym for a New York Times bestselling YA author. This is her first adult novel.