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Control [Paperback]

Charlotte Stein
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: CDN$ 11.90 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

Jan. 3 2011
When Madison Morris decides to hire an assistant to help run her naughty bookshop, she gets a lot more than she bargained for. Aggressive Andy doesn't quite make the grade, but continues to push her buttons in other areas, while uptight and utterly repressed Gabriel can't quite take Madison's training techniques. One makes her grasp control, while the other makes her lose it. But the lines are blurring and she's no longer sure who's leading and who's following. In the midst of kinky threesomes and power plays, can Madison work out what she really wants?

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Review

'One of the best erotic-romances of 2009' Michelle Buonfiglio, Barnes and Noble (for The Things That Make Me Give In)

About the Author

Charlotte Stein has contributed to numerous erotic anthologies, and her own collection of short stories, The Things That Make Me Give In, is out now in Black Lace. She lives in West Yorkshire.

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Very hot for the right audience! Jan. 9 2014
By Chelsea Jack TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
This is erotica that doesn't aspire to anything beyond being excellent erotica. There's a series of sexual encounters that revolve around themes of dominance and humiliation, and that I found fairly inventive and certainly steamy. If either makes you uncomfortable, this probably isn't the book for you.

I loved that the story took place in a bookshop that sold erotic novels, and that these inspired so much of the action. It felt very cheeky!

The only real downside of this novel, for me, is that I disliked Andy, one of the two men who apply to work at the bookshop, so much. Gabe grew on me, but Andy... did not.

Pick this one up to broaden your horizons beyond what's popular in current mainstream erotica!

I received this via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  58 reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Control Nov. 28 2010
By K D Grace - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Be warned. 'Control' is one of those novels. Once you've settled in to read Charlotte Stein's delicious erotic romance, you won't want to put it down until you've properly finished and relished every last word.

Madison Morris's naughty bookstore, Wicked Words, seems a strange place for repressed Gabriel Kaufman to take up employment, especially when Madison's training techniques evolve to a kinky threesome with aggressive Andy Yarrow. But Gabriel is up for the training, and they all get a lot more than they bargained for.

'Control' is a novel full of kinky, naughty heat with a plot that grabs you from page one and doesn't let go until the very last satisfying sentence. 'Control' is sexy, funny, romantic, poignant, and always compelling. But it is the magnificent chemistry between her characters and the delicious interplay amongst them that makes Charlotte Stein's novel truly unstoppable. Absolutely a must read.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy" July 7 2012
By rk - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Raw, gritty and scorching do-not-read-in-public-hot, at its heart, Control is a sweet romance between two damaged people. And it is filled with dirty talk.

A first-person, almost stream-of-consciousness, narrative allows the reader to form a visceral connection with Madison our (anti)heroine. Unashamed of her sexuality, but unsure of her "feelings", Madison makes mistakes, lies to herself and is possibly the worst(or best, depending on ones proclivities) boss ever. Not-quite-torn between Gabe the submissive and Andy the aggressive, Madison explores the many aspects of control: taking it, losing it, and perhaps most pivotally relinquishing it. In agonizingly, pearl-clutchingly, sordid, graphic detail. I often find menage unbelievable, but in this novel the encounters with Madison, Gabe and Andy aren't an end unto themselves, they serve as a real catalyst for character/relationship development.

More D/s than BDSM, Control focuses on the emotional impacts rather than the commercial trappings of a "lifestyle", which was refreshing. Also refreshing, a dominant woman with real sexual agency.

Control is Madison's fumbling journey towards ecstasy and the resulting Happily Ever After, stripped of saccharine, was so rewarding. I loved it.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Control April 22 2012
By Jennifer L. Hart - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Or lack thereof. This was one wild ride and if a bit muddled at times, the telling was so engaging that I simply could not put it down. Charlotte Stein is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. Her men aren't all Alpha, but they are so much more real and utterly lovable. Her heroines are neurotic and totally relatable. Control is a total win.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Naughty, Delicious, Insightful Jan. 10 2014
By Andrea Thompson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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.

Favorite Quote:

"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."
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Almost too much fun Jan. 11 2014
By Marleen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
I received my copy from the publisher through NetGalley

This will be one of my more ambivalent reviews I’m afraid. While reading this book I was constantly torn between really enjoying myself and getting exasperated with the writing style.

I loved the idea behind the story.

Madison, the owner of the ‘Wicked Words’ bookshop (and isn’t that a brilliant name for a bookshop specialising in kinky titles) finds herself torn between Andy, the rather dominant and self-assured man about town and Gabriel, a shy, inexperienced and very submissive young man. When she hires Gabriel to work in her shop it isn’t long before she realises that he loves the kinky books she sells, although he does his best to hide his interest from her. It only takes her a little bit longer to discover that Gabriel, while inexperienced, feels the need to be told what to do. When ordered, he is up to almost anything. When Madison discovers her hidden talent for dominating Gabriel, things between them heat up very rapidly.

It doesn’t take long for Madison to realise that she is developing feelings for Gabriel; feelings he is clearly experiencing too. Of course things are never that straightforward and especially not in this developing relationship; Andy is still in the mix and while all three of them seem to enjoy the sexy games they get involved in, his presence also emphasises all of Gabriel’s insecurities.

Like I said I really did like the idea behind this story. I enjoyed the games Madison played with Gabriel and how they teased him out of his shell. And I can’t deny that some of those games were very, very sexy.

However - you knew this was coming - I can’t help feeling I would have loved this story if only it had been told in a different way. This book was trying a bit too hard to be funny and snarky. I enjoy a humorous story as much as the next person, but only in the right setting. This book was dealing with deep and often repressed feelings and it could have been a truly touching story if they had been developed further. Because of the author’s constant need to be funny, those feelings sort of slipped into the background, but not enough - for me - to allow me to enjoy the humour. When I did smile I felt guilty for not feeling the emotions while every time I did manage to get really involved in the characters and their feelings I couldn’t help feeling I was missing the punchline. In fact, this book left me feeling that maybe I just wasn’t getting it.

Of course it is quite possible that the problem was exactly that; me not getting it. But I would have liked this story to be more serious. I would have liked more insight into the development of the characters. I was constantly on the verge of really liking Gabriel only to never be able to get there because he just wasn’t developed enough. And the same is true for the other characters. Even Madison, who is the narrator never got better than two dimensional.

I also got lost in the timeline. When I thought only a few days had passed the story would surprise me by revering to passing months. And don’t get me started about the amount of times the word ‘lewd’ was used. It popped up so often that I ended up dreading the next time I would come across it.

I’m surprised to hear myself say it, but I can’t help feeling that this book would have benefitted from a little bit less (rather hot) sex and more character development and attention to the emotions experienced by Madison, Gabriel and Andy. If you are in the mood for a funny and lighthearted sexy romp, this book may well be exactly what you need. If you want to feel the deep emotions that develop between well established characters, you probably want to pick up another title.
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