LEARNING THE HARD is a quick read centered around a woman recovering from a relationship based on deceit and a man who is ready to start a new phase to his life. It is especially nice that Troy is in his forties and not a young man struggling to find himself, but a mature and confident man seeking to expand his future. An accident of circumstances brings Ava and Troy together in two very different situations and in both, their immediate attraction is hard to ignore. Ava is struggling to relinquish control, but if she is willing to try Troy is willing to give her what she is hesitant to reach for. Being able to let go will get her more than she had imagined was possible for her.
Things move quickly between Ava and Troy. The obstacle in their way is overcome pretty quickly since this is a short read. There is good chemistry and sexy scenes that are enjoyable to read in LEARNING THE HARD WAY. There's a glimpse into Troy's dominance that I would have enjoyed being explored further, however what Midway gives within the confines of this short story fit well. If you are looking for a quick fix read that still feels like a complete story LEARNING THE HARD WAY is a good one to pick up.
**I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.**
Ava said nothing as she searched for their limousine. Once she located it, she stomped to it. Watching her, Troy waited to see if a heel on her pumps would snap off at any moment. He also simply enjoyed watching her tight frame sway back and forth.
She pounded on the driver side window, waking up the poor driver and probably giving the man the start of a heart attack. The driver powered down the window.
As soon as he got it low enough, Ava said, “I’m ready to go.”
“No, she isn’t.” Troy held her arm and turned her around.
As hard as he tried not to let his inner Dominant come out, she forced his hand. As soon as he saw her storming away from him, a switch turned on in his head. He needed to take control of this situation. The way Ava looked, she wanted him to manage her, steer her in the right direction.
“Listen to me.” He crouched down and got in her face. “The way you show strength is by not backing down when a challenge hits you. Fight back.” He turned to the slow-blinking driver who looked like he wanted to go back to sleep. “We’ll be back later tonight.” He took Ava’s hand. “We’re going back into that party.”
“Why? I don’t need to—”
“Yes, you do.” It didn’t matter what Ava said at the end of her sentence. Troy knew she needed to be strong. He squeezed her hand. “Are you right or left-handed?”
As soon as she answered, he released her hand. “Come around to this side.”
Ava paused before moving to his right side. When she did, he held her left hand.
“I’ll hold your hand throughout dinner. When you need to talk, I’ll make circles in your palm like this.” He swirled the tip of his index finger over her smooth hand. “When it’s appropriate for you to remain silent, I’ll give you a slight squeeze like this.” He compressed her hand. “I say when we leave, understood?”
She stared at him. He thought for sure that she would have run away from him, from the situation again. It shouldn’t have surprised him when she nodded. His instincts in spotting someone with accommodating tendencies hadn’t been off.
He headed back to the building. When he noticed Ava slowing her stride, he stopped. “No.” Troy shook his head. “You always walk next to me. Never behind me.”
“Yes, um, yes.” She nodded again.
Like in any new relationship, vanilla or otherwise, names had to be established. “Call me Troy. I want you to use my name at least five times tonight, understand?”
“I know your name.” Even in the hot summer night, Ava trembled.
Whether her reaction had stemmed from fear or excitement, he didn’t care. She reacted.
“I know you know it. I want you to say it.” He held up his hand and splayed his fingers. “Five times.”
“If I don’t?” She swallowed hard.
Good. She wanted to play. She wanted to test boundaries. Always a good sign of a willing submissive.
“I will give you the deepest, hottest, wettest kiss you’ve ever had.” He wanted to do that regardless of his forced restrictions on her.
He knew her uptight nature wouldn’t allow for her to be that brazen.
“Understood. Let’s go.” She marched toward the event hall.
Learning new things can be exciting.
After a humiliating breakup with a former student, the last thing Professor Ava Kushnell wants to think about is dating again. Deciding to focus on the department head position up for grabs, she’s confident she can stay the course...until she meets one of her new students.
Troy Whitten is starting to feel old, outdated, and out of touch until he sees a sexy African-American woman dancing around in the office of one of his professors. Fresh from a breakup, he asks out this smoking hot, intelligent woman. Too bad she has a rule against dating her students, and as an ethics professor, he knows she's going to stick to her guns.
Since he can't get the woman of his dreams, Troy does a friend a favor and covers his position at an escort service, but he certainly won't take it to a physical level. That is, until he discovers Ava is his first client. When sparks fly and lines are crossed, will Ava go with her head or her heart, using ethics as her guide?
About the Author:
Bridget Midway, best-selling author of interracial BDSM erotic romance, has been published since 2005 with over five different small press and electronic publishers including Phaze Books, Parker Publishing, Loose Id, Xcite Books, and Liquid Silver Books. The multi-award winning and award-nominated author has found her niche with readers with her scintillating interracial BDSM erotic romance, including the EPPIE Award finalist, Love My Way, and Romance Slam Jam Steamy Novel of the Year finalists, Corporate Needs and Licorice Whips. With over 20 published short stories, novellas, and novels under her belt, she shows no signs of stopping.