First Impression... A naughty bookshop owner. Two hot guys. Sounds like fun!
The Story... Madison needs an assistant in her bookshop. One applicant, the dominant Andy, gets her going at the interview. And by going, I mean they bone. Hard. Fellow applicant Gabe, quiet and possibly submissive, spies them in the act, then runs away before he can be interviewed. Not to be deterred, Madison can see that Gabe needs to be brought around. And by brought around, I mean that Madison hires him, teases him, and helps Gabe uncover all his dark desires. Andy definitely wants Madison. Gabe seems to want her too. Madison isn't sure exactly what she wants, but is quickly becoming addicted to Gabe and his fantasies. Gabe, though, can't believe she can actually want him when she can have Andy. This story is all about Control. Who will take it and who will give it completely.
The Characters... Madison is a wicked little chick and I loved it. It's rare to come across a heroine who is so unapologetically brave and confident in her sexuality. Madison was fun, determined, accepting, and sweet. I was moved by her unflinching acceptance of the shy and tormented Gabe.
So, Gabe. He was repressed and closeted. Ashamed of the desires that drive him. And when I say desires, I mean that this dude gets off on some serious kink. He was a fascinating character, very complex and endearing.
Andy was Andy. If you've read Control, you know what that means. For those who haven't read Control, Andy was an arrogant, dominating, assuming, and fun guy. He seemed like a thorn in the relationship, but served as a dynamic part of the story. And I actually liked him.
The Writing... Was both quirky and gorgeous. Control is told in a first person point-of-view, strictly from Madison's perspective. She was a great narrator. Control gets off to a wicked, shockingly naughty start. That definitely got and held my attention. There was a lot of sex in Control. What made it unputdownable, though, was how beautifully thoughtful and insightful Stein's characterization of her characters, particularly Gabe. This is the first of Stein's books I've read, and I really enjoy her voice. And what made it so great was that Madison almost seemed to be speaking to the reader, through her acceptance of Gabe, her openness with Andy, her friendship with her neighbor. And the message was, Don't wait. It is okay to have what you want.
The Heat... Oh good gawd, be prepared for your undies to burst into flames. Control was easily one of the naughtiest, hottest books I have ever read. And guys, I'm kind of an expert on hot books.
In the End... Control is a delicious complicated and sexy read. I wont soon forget Madison, Gabe, and their twisty and endearing relationship.
"Everything you do, the way you look and act and speak--I never thought...I never thought I'd be so lucky." He touches the side of my face, just to cement the crashing impact. "You're what I've always wanted. Everything about you is what I want."