Author: Brianna Hale
First Published: 27 June 2019
Rating: 4.5 stars
“I always want everything.”
I will start by saying that I was given an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own. Thank you so much to NetGalley!
Total control. I need it in every aspect of my life. Some would say that makes me an asshole. A freak. But as long as everything’s exactly how I want it, I’m completely flexible.
Okay, I’m not kidding.
Lacey needs someone in her life who’s bigger and scarier than her demons, and she wants that man to be me. Her boss. The Viking in a suit.
I hope she understands what she’s getting into. This daddy isn’t going to pat her on the head and tell her she’s a good girl for nothing. Especially not when she’s spinning out of control.
I picked this up because I have been in the mood for romance books and Control Freak looked like it would be a quick, fun read. My god, I was not expecting to love this book as much as I did!
We follow university student and recovering anorexic, Lacey Petrou as she spends her summer working at a museum for the broody boss, Stein Blomqvist. She’s not all that thrilled at having to work with Stein, especially after he saved her from falling down the stairs and yelled at her at the opening night of her father’s art show.
I found the representation and discussion around mental health and anorexia, in particular, respectful and grounded in reality. It didn’t feel as though Lacey’s anorexia was only there for a point plot. I, luckily, haven’t had to battle with an eating disorder but I feel like I have an insight into what it would be like to live with it. It was heartbreaking and exhausting, but there is such strength in Lacey’s character. Every day for her is a fight not to relapse.
I think I must have a think for broody, gruff blonde love interests. I’ve adore every book I’ve read with one and Stien is no different. Stein is known for being controlling and difficult to work with, however, he is kind and patient enough to offer Lacey a Dominant/submissive relationship as an alternative therapy. Nothing ever happens without Lacey’s consent. In fact, this dynamic only starts when Lacey shows interest. Their relationship is formed by mutual trust, care, control and submission.
I found that the difference between this work and other of Hale’s is that there was more of a balance between the character development and smutty times. Even though they don’t have the most traditional relationship and Stein prefers to be called ‘daddy’, you can feel the care and respect he has for her. I feel like the BDSM elements weren’t just there to add sexual tension or heat to this story but they were played out with thought and care for what they needed. Unlike other dominate heroes I’ve read, Stein never crossed a line or pushed the heroine into a dynamic she was never interested in. Which I appreciate so much.
If you cannot tell, I adore this book and I wish there was more to it. These two have to be one of my favourite couples I’ve read. I’m excited to read more from Brianna Hale.