Lovely by Elizabeth SaFleur
Series: Elite Doms of Washington #1
Source: Review by Request
Copy provided by Author
My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Can you have love and power at the same time?
Congressman Jonathan Brond has mastered his work, his reputation and the art of sexual domination while keeping his family’s political legacy intact. But a chance encounter with college student Christiana Snow promises something he didn’t think was possible–meeting someone honest.
When the charismatic man proposes a summer of sensual, sexual submission, Christiana leaps into his world—the antidote to her bland life. But Washington, D.C. is an unforgiving place; soon gossip and scandal threatens their relationship.
Yet, in a town of players, sometimes introducing a new game is the only way out. Who knew love would be the winning plan?
Surprised and Delighted!
“you’re not alone. I see you. I’m with you.”
I was not expecting the exciting narrative that Lovely provided. I was prepared for a deliciously kinky romance, but I was not expecting the suspense and high-stakes Washington drama.
This book is the first in Elizabeth SaFleur’s Elite Doms of Washington Series, but it is a stand-alone novel. The story wraps up beautifully with no cliffhanger, and the series promises new couples for subsequent books.
There’s some mild BDSM themes running through the story (as the series name suggests) I would categorize the level of play as “intro-level” which is appropriate considering our young female MC was going through life blissfully unaware of the D/s scene.
As a side note, I want to say that:
1) Thank you Sweet Jesus, Christiana was NOT a virgin.
2) Jonathan has the most intriguing ‘playrooms’ I think I’ve ever read.
3) In a world full of tropey best friends in Modern Romance (They usually fall into three categories: The slut, the gay guy, or the absentee roommate who only shows up for ‘important talks’) this book presents the reader with Avery – The daughter of a Federal judge. She’s a manipulative little socialite who has been Christina’s life-long friend. I hated Avery in the best possible way. Her character elicited an immediate negative reaction (read intense loathing) from me, and she kept my attention throughout the book.
She wanted more, not even knowing what more might entail. She’d dance on the edge of this addiction, this obsession named Jonathan Brond, until she bled.
Christiana’s character started off painfully shy and unsure, but she was so authentic and believable. Her character grew into a vibrant and strong woman as the story progressed, and it was a joy to watch her thrive as a submissive.
We quickly learn that she’s been taking care of herself for a very long time. Her family life has been far from idealistic, but she’s pressed on with her head held high.
This story begins during the summer between her Freshman and Sophomore years in college. She’s working her ass off at a Washington DC restaurant in order to afford next year’s tuition.
When she’s not serving DC’s rich and powerful, she’s being dragged to charity galas by her friend Avery, or playing designated driver for her alcoholic father.
Not an ideal life, but one that Christina has a firm hold on… Until she meets one dashing Congressman and her whole world is turned upside-down.
Congressman Jonathan Brond
He had planned to care for no one – until the right time. Timing was everything in Washington.
Too bad he’d met the perfect woman during an imperfect time.
Hello drool-worthy Congressman! Brond comes from a political line as famous as the Kennedy’s, and he’s working to restore his family’s prestige. He’s the youngest member of Congress ever to be elected, and he’s single.
The definition of eligible.
(And Lickable… Just sayin’)
Jonathan Brond sees Washington’s blue-blooded socialites circling him like sharks and is determined to stay unattached. He has a solid plan for his future and relationships would only be a hindrance.
Congressman Bond isn’t what I was expecting, and I was so wonderfully enthralled by his character. He has a genuine need to help everyone he can. He’s not your standard politician, he plays the game because he feels like he has to redeem his family name and right the wrongs of his father.
Now would be a good time to mention that this book is dual-POV, so the reader gets a front row seat to Brond’s inner-monologue as he falls hard for an extraordinary young woman.
Brond fought his instant attraction to the young and impressionable Christina Snow. The reasons to walk away were endless…
It’s an election year,
She’s nineteen years old,
Her father is a political journalist,
Her best friend keeps throwing herself at him…
Brond has no use for greedy little DC princesses like Avery, but he’s helpless against his attraction to Christina. She’s honest and kind, she isn’t interested in wealth or power, she’s independent and spirited – qualities Jonathan Brond doesn’t see on Capital Hill.
Christiana Snow is offered the chance at a summer affair with DC’s most eligible bachelor. She’ll have to hide their relationship from her scheming best friend and her journalist father, but that’s not all…
Jonathan Brond comes from a political family. He knows how to keep secrets, including a deliciously deviant preference for bondage and discipline.
The story progresses steadily with romance and suspense. Once this story gained momentum I was simply unable to put it down. There were several little twists and turns which surprised me and kept me on my toes.
Elizabeth SaFleur is a new-to-me author and I am impressed with what I’ve read so far. I think it’s difficult to write a story with a wealthy sexual dominant and not conjure ghosts of so many books before, but Elizabeth SaFleur put a delicious DC spin on the subject, and I certainly enjoyed myself.
Christiana licked Jonathan’s kiss from her bottom lip. Sweet Jesus, his kissing was an art form. His hand crushed hers as he led her down the hall and through a set of double doors. Mahogany furniture surrounded a king-sized bed, ivory and taupe pillows scattered at the top. The room was drenched in masculine elegance.
“Get on the bed.” He turned his back and opened the top drawer of a tall chest.
She climbed onto the silk duvet, mesmerized by the shifting of his back muscles. What would it be like to rub her breasts along his back? Hundreds of women have probably gotten the chance. A jolt of insecurity stabbed her courage. She hadn’t the first idea how to satisfy this man.
He lifted a slip of black fabric. “I’m going to blindfold you.”
The butterflies in her stomach were zapped dead by little lightning bolts. “Do you have to?”
He pulled her legs forward, so she sat on the edge facing him. God, how he moved her body around with such ease.
“Yes. If you can’t see me, your reactions will be more honest. Then I’ll be able to distinguish between what you truly want and what you’re willing to do simply because I ask.”
“Isn’t that the same thing?”
“Not at all.” He cupped her chin. “You want to please me. That’s very good. But I won’t be able to please you if I don’t know what honestly works for you.”
Jonathan fastened the blindfold around her head. He cupped her cheeks and tipped her head to his voice.
“Trust me, lovely. Your body will not lie. Concentrate on feeling the sensations that arise.” He rubbed a thumb over her lips. The darkness made his hands larger, rougher, and her imagination ran wild envisioning what he would do to her with them.
“Christiana. Trust.” His voice, sharp and smooth, impaled the last surviving butterfly.
“Is this what you wanted to show me?”
“Part of it.”
In the absence of sight, her own shallow breathing rushed louder in her head. Woods, honeysuckle, and his male scent rose under her nose.
The bed dipped. Jonathan was behind her. His legs hugged hers, his broad chest connecting with her back. She gasped when his cock connected to the small of her back. He slid the straps of her dress down to her elbows and kissed her lightly on the shoulder. Then he gathered her hair with both hands and ran his fingers through the long strands. Her head fell back onto his shoulder.
“Feel good?” he asked.
“Mmm-hmm.” She couldn’t stop feeling his hardness against her tailbone.
He peeled her dress over her breasts and snapped off her strapless bra. Before she could think, he palmed her flesh and rubbed his thumbs over her stiff nipples.
“So soft, Christiana,” he murmured into her neck. “And so hard. Do you like this?”
Words tumbled from her grasp, even the most basic vocabulary blocked by his pinching and twisting the tips of her breasts. Dragon wings had replaced the butterflies.
“Tell me everything you like.” His voice was edged in a rough lust.
His hands and legs left her side, and the bed shifted upward, relieved of his weight. Where did he go? Sound of a zipper, of jeans dropping to the floor. Then more fabric rustled near the foot of the bed. He was right to blindfold her. The sight of a naked Jonathan would overwhelm her senses. At the same time, she was desperate to see the chest she’d felt.
Jonathan climbed onto the bed behind her. He put his arms under hers and laid her back.
Christiana’s sundress pooled at her ankles, but she didn’t dare move. He positioned himself alongside her, the hair on his legs brushing her skin. He lifted her arms up over her head and placed her hands on the low headboard.
“Hold on to the bed.” Obediently, she gripped a smooth wood rail.
“I will tell you everything I’m going to do. You can stop me at any time. Do you understand?”
Jonathan’s whole body drew closer, his cock—steel and velvet—lay heavy against her hip. He kissed her neck and then trailed his lips lower. He latched onto her bare nipple, and her back arched into his mouth. Oh, God. His chest hair, not rough but not soft, brushed her skin, and his thick erection pressed into her thigh. He suckled and pulled at her nipple peak until a raw unbearable ache settled below the surface.
“You pink up so easily,” he said into her skin. He fixed himself onto her other nipple. Her ass wiggled on the silky fabric, and a hand forced down her hip.
“Be still, lovely. Now talk to me,” he said. “Tell me if you like this.” His wet mouth took small bites.
“I . . . like it.” She surprised herself with her ability to speak.
Fingers crept under the elastic of her panties and rested on her down.
“What else do you like, Christiana?”
“I don’t know.” Her whole body flushed, and he laughed.
“Oh, I think you do.” His rough chin brushed across her belly, and he laid a kiss on her navel. He dipped his fingers lower and rimmed her clothed folds.
Christiana inhaled sharply and gripped the bed frame harder, afraid if she let go she might try to push him away or seize the back of his head and pull him closer. Just feel, like he said. She tried not to moan as his finger traced her crevice, down and up, barely reaching her clit. Her knees rose, and he pushed them back down.
“You need to be naked.” His voice coiled around the tension welling up inside her.
Her panties were whisked down to her ankles. The absence of her dress and the slip of cotton sent a renewed rush of inhibition to the core of her being. Startled, she released the bed and reached her arms down to cover herself but contacted only his back. Smooth. Solid. Hot skin.
He grabbed her wrists with one gentle hand and lifted them back above her head.
Her body had to be crimson, there was so much blood rushing everywhere. “Please.”
“Should I restrain you, Christiana? Tie your hands to the bed?”
Like the Jefferson Suite. She shook, and a tear escaped from the blindfold, its warm trickle trailing down her cheek.
“Shhh, lovely. You’re safe. Remember what I said. I’ll tell you everything I’m going to do.” His voice both soothed and electrified her nerves.
He moved his lips over hers in a soft and gentle slide.
She panted into his mouth.
“Christiana. Breathe,” he said, releasing her mouth. “I won’t let anything bad happen to you. Accept that.”
She took a lungful of air. “I-I do.”
“Show me. Keep your hands on the headboard.”
Jonathan slipped a small pillow under her head, and his arm snaked under the cushion. She vowed not to let go of the bed.
He murmured into her neck as he ran a hand down the length of her body. “I’m just going to touch you . . . for now.”
She concentrated on his caresses though driven to distraction by his large cock, prodding, iron hard and hot. So big. She couldn’t stop focusing on how this was going to work.
“Open your legs,” he said. “Don’t move, lovely. I’m going to put my finger inside you.” Jonathan cupped her sex and dipped his finger deep into her folds. Her fingers dug into smooth wood.
I want to move. Please let me move.
“So wet,” he said.
Christiana shifted under his hand, the feeling overwhelming.
He clucked his tongue. “Still, Christiana. We’re going slow. Am I hurting you?”
She shook her head slightly.
Jonathan’s finger moved deeper inside, and he swirled his thumb over her clit. Ripples of sensation coursed through her whole body. She strained upward, riding the waves of sexual electricity that coursed up and down her thighs.
She whimpered. “I want to see you.”
A second finger entered and stretched her insides. She gulped more air. His probing was not quite painful but not quite right. Keep going. She spread her legs wider, one leg slipping between his knees.
“Christiana. More?” His hot breath moved over her neck and face.
“Don’t stop. Please.” God, she begged.
His lips pulled into a smile against her shoulder, and she sensed a subtle shift in his energy. Though she couldn’t see his expression, she felt she had pleased him.
Jonathan circled her sensitive nerve center. “I’m going to keep doing this until you come.” He quickened his fingers, plunged in and out. He was not gentle.
Jonathan covered her lips with his own. His hand plundered her most private parts while his tongue, wild and demanding, mated with her mouth.
She strained and arched, unable to keep still anymore.
He released her mouth and latched on to her breast. He gently bit her nipple and thrust his fingers inside her, impossibly deeper. Her sex convulsed around his piercing hand, and her legs twitched. Her inner muscles clamped down on his fingers, and his mouth returned to hers to swallow her cries as she came.
The spasms subsided, but she couldn’t catch her breath. Jonathan released his kiss, and she took big gulps of air. He slipped his fingers from inside her enflamed tissues.
Two wet fingers were stuffed into her mouth.
“Taste yourself,” Jonathan said. Her tongue swirled around the salty flavor she’d left on his working hand. She sucked his fingers gently.
“Mmm, that’s it, lovely. Show me how well you suck.”
He withdrew his fingers and dragged the blindfold down her face to her neck. Twilight had turned to night outside the side window. How long had it been?
“Very good, Christiana. That pleased me.” His hungry eyes told her he meant it. “And, you?”
She nodded and flushed anew. She didn’t take herself for a screamer, like those women in the movies who thrashed and begged for whatever their heroes dished out. What else would she end up doing tonight? Please don’t let me humiliate myself.
He straddled her torso. “Your body is quite responsive.”
Christiana swallowed at the sight of Jonathan’s nude torso, ridges and planes across his abdomen. Her gaze followed the fine trail of gold hair running down his chest to his thick penis, a deep fleshy red, swelling straight forward. She knew then how a man could be called beautiful.
“Let’s see what else you like,” he rasped.
An Interview with Elizabeth SaFleur
Tell us about Lovely:
When nineteen year old Christiana Snow is lured into a summer of sexual submission with charismatic Congressman Jonathan Brond, the relationship promises the adventure she’s been craving and the life he’s been missing. But in unforgiving Washington, D.C. the threat of scandal and gossip looms.
Sell your book in five words or less:
Love found in unlikely places.
What was the spark of inspiration which led to this book?
The Potomac River! Lovely was inspired one sunny day at an outside café in Washington Harbor where I swear I witnessed a woman being lashed to a sailboat mast, happily. Hero Jonathan Brond, was born that day when he silently answered my unspoken question, “does she like that?” with yet another question: “Would you like to find out?” Why, yes, I would. He-he. Lovely was so much fun to write!
How did you come up with the character, Christiana Snow?
Jonathan introduced me. <wink> In 2012, when I could no longer ignore Jonathan’s story, an image of the vast, elegant ballroom at Congressional Country Club kept coming to mind. Christiana stood in the crowd and Jonathan simply said, “her.” I kept asking him, “why her?” One day the answer arrived, which ultimately ended up as three lines in Lovely: Christiana was something he hadn’t encountered in years. Maybe never. Christiana Snow was real. Once I had that aspect of Christiana’s character, the rest of her personality sprung to life.
What about drool-worthy Congressman Jonathan Brond?
Some characters are “divine intervention.” I’ve spent much time in Washington, D.C. Jonathan is someone I wish held office. He is dedicated to helping people, realistic with a touch of idealism, commanding, and is a bit selfish. That last trait ensures he gets to have a life, too. I don’t want anyone in office who forgets what it’s like to be a real person. I mentioned above how he arrive in my head. But here’s another little secret: I tried to change him. I repeatedly tried to make him perfect. But Christiana knocked him off his feet. So naturally, he made mistakes. Love (and lust) ensures slipups.
We don’t often look toward politicians or pundits for gorgeous leading men – Do you happen to have a current politician starring in your daydreams?
I’m not going to lie to you. Tony Goldwyn, the actor who plays President Fitzgerald Grant III on the ABC network show, “Scandal,” has grown on me. At first I couldn’t see what Olivia Pope saw in him. Now I do. Sadly, there’s no one in real life I could name. Sigh. But we can dream!
Do you have any experience in Politics or the machine of Washington DC? What kind of research did you do to prepare for writing this book?
I have more experience with the D.C. machine than I care to admit. I have served D.C.-based clients in my PR day job for 30 years and lived there for 15 years. I’ve worked and represented some pretty big names, which I can’t reveal. I no longer live in our nation’s capital, but I’m there often, sometimes every week. I’d say my entire adult, working life constitutes the research!
What is your favorite quote or moment from this story?
My favorite moment in Lovely is the sailboat scene, because that’s where the story started for me. My favorite quote came much later. At one point Jonathan says to Christiana, “Never be ashamed of how you like to be pleasured.” This line hits home for me because most of my books are about the journey to becoming more of yourself, and not what society or anyone else says.
Is there a song which you feel perfectly complements your story?
The Lightning Strike by Snow Patrol
If you were offered the chance to turn this book into a Hollywood movie, would you take that opportunity?
Absolutely! Bring on the movie contract. My dream cast includes Stephen Amell for Jonathan Brond and a young Charlize Theron for Christiana Snow. I think Clint Eastwood could do a stellar job as director, but I wouldn’t turn down Steven Spielberg. They’d have to shoot on location in Washington, D.C. First, it’s a gorgeous city. D.C. also is like another character in Lovely. I also know the perfect house on Afton Mountain in the Blue Ridge for them to shoot the country home scenes. It’s someone’s private home, so I can’t share pictures. But it’s a wonderful, authentic Japanese home with beautiful mountain and Shenandoah Valley views. It even has a room dedicated to meditation.
This photograph isn’t set in Washington, D.C. Yet it inspires me for Lovely. Christiana seeks adventure, and this woman seems also to be pining for something . . . or someone.
What can we look forward to next with Elite Doms of Washington series?
The second Elite Doms book, Untouchable, unleashes into the world on July 3. It’s the story of billionaire corporate attorney Carson Drake, who made a cameo in Lovely. Carson is the master of the romantic pre-emptive strike. One weekend is all he needs or wants, and every relationship is over before it begins. But heroine, London Chantelle, who works for his firm, intrigues and provokes the protective alpha male in him. Outside the office, their unexpected meeting at a local BDSM club presents the opportunity to do what he’s always wanted—earn her submission. He proposes a weekend of sensual pleasure. Though damaged from her history and mistrustful of men, London agrees to forty-eight hours with Carson. She anticipates she could finally put her unwanted, darker longings to rest. The weekend proves more than either bargained for.
Elizabeth SaFleur on Writing:
How long have you known you wanted to be an author?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I can’t imagine not writing. But my well-meaning parents convinced me that writing would provide no future. (Read: financial security.) So, I turned to a career in public relations. Now I wish I had tried publishing sooner. Writing erotic romance is way more fun than writing press releases.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Don’t laugh. My first novel, written at age 7, was The Mystery of the Bunny. Okay, you can laugh a little. That story was lost — as so many childhood items are – long ago. Now I kinda wish I still had it, just for grin’s sake.
How do you keep your creativity flowing?
Long walks in the woods behind my house, long car rides to Washington, and dance class are perfect antidotes to writer’s block and burn-out. They give me time to think. Whenever I feel stuck, I also have a whole series of exercises I go through, such as asking: What is the worst thing that could happen in this story right now? What if I killed a character? (They start talking almost immediately then!) If those things don’t work, I call up one of my critique partners. They’ve talked me off many creative ledges over the years.
How long did it take for you to write Lovely?
Too long. The story came to me in 1996. But I didn’t start writing until 2012(ish). I’d say it took almost two years to get it to publishable form. Today, it takes me far less to write a novel (4 to six months from start to finish).
We’re loving the cover of this book! Who designed it?
Thank you! I was fortunate in finding Rhjan through my publisher. We found him on 99 Designs. He is now my official “Elite Doms” cover artist. He does beautiful work.
What advice do you have for new authors? Is there anything you know now that you wish you knew when you were starting out?
Yes. Finish that first draft as soon as you can. No one’s first draft is that good. So, get it done so you can begin the revision process as quickly as possible. Don’t futz with the first few chapters until that first draft is complete.
How do you deal with bad reviews? Any advice for other authors in that regard?
First, cry. Then, wipe your tears and look for tidbits in the review that is constructive criticism that will make you a better writer. Once you find them, apply them to your writing. Now, stop looking at your reviews. Go back to writing.
What additional projects are you working on?
I’m writing the third Elite Doms book, tentatively titled Perfect, which is the story of Mark Santos. Mark is Jonathan’s driver, friend and bodyguard in Lovely. After Perfect, four other Doms or Dommes have stories that need to be told. I’m also working on a novella featuring a Femme Domme and which is set in the White House. She takes a secret service agent to task. So little time, so many stories to write.
Elizabeth SaFleur on Reading:
What book have you read more times than any other?
Hostile Takeover by Joey W. Hill. If I had to go to a desert island and take only one book, I’d take HT. Ben and Marcie, the main characters, overcome so much to be together. It is one of the most beautiful romances I’ve read, despite the hard core BDSM.
What is the latest book you’ve bought and read?
That last purchase I bought and read would be Glimmer by Beth Kery – a wonderful, sophisticated erotic romance.
What was the last book you absolutely fell in love with?
I loved, loved, loved, The Master by Kresley Cole. Now I want a Russian.
Is there a book you keep meaning to read, but haven’t gotten around to it? Don’t worry, we all have ridiculously long TBRs!
Oh, so many! I keep meaning to read The Virgin by Tiffany Reisz.
Do you recall the first piece of Erotica you ever read?
The Sleeping Beauty series by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice) sometime in the early 1990s. Needless to say those books were a real eye-opener — and game changer — for my reading habits.
Do you recall the first piece of Romance you ever read?
I wish I could give you details. My first romance was a Harlequin featuring a heroine with red hair and grey eyes who was brutally deflowered by a nearby Lord. Of course, they fell in love later.
Do you have a favorite Book Boyfriend/Girlfriend?
I’d like to say Ben O’Callahan from Hostile Takeover. But I know my limits. LOL My favorite book boyfriend would be Matthew Lord Kensington – another Joey W. Hill hero from her Knights of the Boardroom series. Of course, Jonathan Brond from Lovely will always have a special place in my heart.
Elizabeth SaFleur on Play Time:
When you’re not hard at work writing, what do you do with your time?
I dance in a semi-pro burlesque, cabaret and aerial arts dance troupe. If I gave you the name, I’d “out” myself. (I’ve got to keep things under wraps for a little bit longer! Until I retire, at least.) My dance hobby started with pole dancing in 2006. Since I hurt my shoulder, I’ve moved on to playing with big feather fans and boas. If there were a house fire I’d grab three things: my dog, laptop and Sally Rand, five-foot wide, ostrich feather fans.
What’s the first thing on your Bucket List?
Crash a luxury yacht party in the Mediterranean.
Do you have any pets?
My little Westie is my fur baby.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Sipping white wine on a summer evening with friends where we do nothing but talk and laugh. Oh, and then there’s watching movie and book trailers on YouTube and searching for hot man pictures on Pinterest and Tumblr. That activity also can involve white wine drinking.
Favorite Swear Word?
Fuck. I use it a lot.
Elizabeth SaFleur has graciously offered this fabulous Giveaway. There will be THREE lucky winners!
Grand Prize Winner:
A $25 donation to your favorite pet rescue organization
An eBook copy of Lovely by Elizabeth SaFleur
A $10 Amazon gift card
Second Place Winner:
An eBook copy of Lovely by Elizabeth SaFleur
A $10 Amazon gift card
Third Place Winner:
An eBook copy of Lovely by Elizabeth SaFleur
About the Author:
Elizabeth SaFleur is an erotic romance author and recovering public relations practitioner who writes, tweets and posts under a pseudonym since her former business clients might be shocked at her new career choice. She wrote the Elite Doms of Washington contemporary erotic romance series after a thirty-year career serving D.C. clients. Today Elizabeth shares twenty-eight, wildlife-filled acres in Virginia with her husband and dog. Elizabeth is a member of the Romance Writers Association and the Washington Romance Writers.