Title: A Touch of Temptation
Author Name & Publisher: Julie Blair (Bold Strokes Books)
Publication Date & Length: May 17, 2016 – 240 pgs
Stanford law graduate Kate Dawson is focused on the future laid out for her—partnership in her family’s law firm and marriage. When she moves to a cabin in the Santa Cruz Mountains to study for the bar exam, crossing paths with her intriguing neighbor leads to a journey of sexual awakening and self-discovery that wasn’t part of the plan.
Landscaper and handsome butch top Chris Brent has a well-deserved reputation as a considerate lover. Avoiding relationships with all their emotional messiness, she indulges in her favorite pastime at sex parties and with casual lovers. She enthusiastically agrees to initiate her cute neighbor to ways of sexual pleasure.
Sex was the deal. Falling in love ruins everything. Or does it?
This was a really nice story. Kate has her life planned out, not ever really realizing that the plans aren’t actually her own. Everything is going according to her mother’s plans, and she goes along with things because that’s how she’s been trained to think. Until a life-threatening illness forces her out of her planned life. To get herself back on track, she takes her grandmother’s advice to recuperate and study at her Gran’s cabin outside the city. While there, she meets Chris, a butch landscaper who knows who she is and what she wants. She doesn’t want a messy relationship, so she focuses on casual sex with many different partners. This way feelings aren’t involved. The two strike up an unexpected friendship based on small home improvement projects and a love of old movies. Kate decides to enlist this Lesbian Casanova to help her explore and learn about her own sexuality. In the ensuing ‘lessons’, both women find that emotions aren’t easy to keep from having. Now they have to fight for their relationship because Kate comes from money, and affluence, and this is not acceptable in her social circles. When Kate’s mother learns of their relationship, things come to a screeching halt, and it looks like it might be over. Kate has to find the courage to stand against the pressure of the ‘perfect’ life, and Chris has to accept that she’s worthy of someone she thinks is out of her league. I love the story line, and like that Blair has included some exploration of BDSM and power dynamics, but accurately explaining how it works and how to make it safe without too much fuss. I really enjoyed the book.
Julie Blair has always believed that reading fiction is one of life’s great pleasures. From the time she was old enough to hold a book, escaping into worlds where anything is possible and endings are usually happy has been a favorite pastime. Growing up a tomboy before it was fashionable, Julie attached herself to sports, especially softball, which culminated in her pitching in the Women’s College World Series. Finally forced to grow up and get a job, she landed in restaurant management for a decade before entering chiropractic school. She has been a chiropractor for over twenty-five years.
Julie has travelled to Peru to see Machu Picchu and Uganda to see mountain gorillas, but her favorite place is curled up on her couch, reading or writing. A California native, she lives in the quiet of the redwoods in Boulder Creek with her partner, Pamela, and their two Labradors. She enjoys gardening, hiking, red wine, strong coffee, smooth jazz, and warm fall afternoons.
Never Too Late, Julie’s debut romance, won a Golden Crown Literary Society Award for Best Debut Author and Rainbow Award Runner-up in two categories. Her second romance, Making a Comeback, won a Rainbow Award for Best Lesbian Romance, was a Rainbow Award Runner-up for Best Lesbian Book of 2015, and a Lambda Literary Award finalist. She’s hard at work trying to give voices to other characters with stories to tell—their struggles, their triumphs, their love affairs—mostly in self defense, hoping they’ll stop waking her up in the middle of the night with snippets of dialogue or ideas for scenes and settings.