Book Review ✭ Playing Knotty by Elia Winters

Title: Playing Knotty 
Author: Elia Winters
Publisher: Pocket Star
Genre: Erotic Contemporary Romance 
Release Date: March 16, 2015
Format: eBook
Pages: 228
Source: Publisher

Bondage meets bookworm in this sizzling erotic romance about a shy bookshop owner who discovers an exciting new side to herself when an old friend opens a bondage workshop in the back of her store!

Emma Green has never been very confident. When Ian Cooper, an old friend, asks to rent out the back room of her bookstore for a bondage workshop, she agrees because she needs the money. She isn’t expecting to participate, and she definitely isn’t expecting to enjoy it. But all of Emma’s expectations fly out the window when she tentatively agrees to be Ian’s bondage model for workshops and exhibitions—and her success in the role upends all previous notions she had about her body and her desirability.

Now, Emma must learn to reconcile these conflicting images of herself while dealing with another conflict: Is Ian just another playboy, or everything she’s been looking for?

Bondage reveals who people are. It lets them be themselves. It’s hard to 
hide who you are when someone’s taking down your defenses like that.

This book was not at all what I expected it to be. The core of this story is bondage, plain and simple. That being said, I was expecting contemporary, but with the subject matter, I also assumed things were perhaps going to get a bit raunchy.
It turned out to be entirely sweet and sexy. Which I didn’t mind at all.

Emma Green owns her own bookstore and mainly keeps to herself with the exception of some outings here and there with a couple of her girlfriends. She’s insecure in many ways and strives to be accepted and please people. 
One evening, her high school friend, recurring customer and crush, Ian Cooper, suggests renting out the back room in her shop for special events; specifically his event. Which happens to be a rope bondage workshop.

Needing her help as his model at the last minute, Emma lets her intrigue guide her into saying yes. Despite having feelings for each other, neither one can find the courage to reveal the truth. What they can do however, is give in to their sexual desires.

Emma was a character that really stood out to me. She had real imperfections, struggles,  and insecurities that made me stir up a connection to her instantly. The lack of confidence she started out with dissipated slowly throughout the book. She grew into a stronger female who felt empowered, beautiful, loved, and sexy. She no longer felt obligated to be liked by everyone and anyone.

Even Ian had a stack of insecurities which is rare in romance books, especially those of the erotic nature. Both their timid personalities made for a uniquely interesting dynamic. It seemed like the only time they were sure of themselves individually and together was in heat of the moment. There was a lack of communication on both ends because of their insecure feelings about themselves. 

The secondary characters and scenes not involving Emma and Ian were uninteresting to me so I found myself skimming over them each time. A couple of them didn’t even seem necessary for the story.

BDSM has been connected to the book in some descriptions, but there’s not a whole lot of that shown except for the bondage aspect. Ian isn’t so much a Dom, but rather a switch; as is Emma. I loved the way he described and defined bondage. He did so in a way that displayed his passion behind the act and wasn’t made to seem like a taboo hobby.

There was a lot of emphasis on rope tying: the variations of knots, descriptions on how to do it. It sort of read like a how-to book mixed in with a romance novel. And I mean that in a good way. The sex scenes were hot in a beautiful, passionate way; not crude in the least.

For readers looking for more sex than story, I wouldn’t advise picking up this book right away. However, I do think it’s a really cute book with a mature understanding and portrayal of bondage and lighter kink. 
Elia Winters has always been a New England girl, despite having spent much of her childhood in Florida. She holds a degree in English Literature and teaches at a small rural high school where she runs too many extracurricular activities. She balances her love of the outdoors with a bottomless well of geekiness.

Elia dabbles in many genres, but erotic romance has been one of her favorites since she first began sneaking her mother’s romance novels. In high school, she kept her friends entertained with a steady stream of naughty stories and somehow never got caught passing them around. Her erotic fiction and poetry have been published online at Clean Sheets and Scarlet Letters under a different name. Elia currently lives in New England with her loving husband and their odd assortment of pets.

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