2 out of 5 Stars
When good-girl Kate McDermott wants to write an article on BDSM in pop culture, she tells herself her interest is purely for research purposes. With a father who is a judge and political hopeful, she can’t afford to have anyone find out about her curiosity. Her research leads her to Master D, a Dominant who she has recently met as Drake Morgan—doctor, philanthropist, bass player, and son of her father’s best friend.
Drake is a master at compartmentalizing his life. He doesn’t let his submissives in any further than their BDSM relationship, but that all changes when he meets Kate and realizes she’s the person requesting to interview him as a Dom. Now someone is threatening to expose Drake’s hidden lifestyle, and that could ruin his relationship with Judge McDermott, a man Drake looks up to as a second father. Drake and Kate need to navigate their relationship carefully in order to keep their lifestyle a secret.
The Agreement is a contemporary romance with a BDSM theme. The main characters have what they call a BDSM relationship, however it doesn’t feel like they ever get very far with their agreement. Although they actually sign a contract, Kate never fully gives in to her role as a submissive and Drake tends to easily forget he’s the Dominant. In addition to that, Kate is constantly backing out of the arrangement thanks to threats from her best friend to expose Drake.
Unfortunately, there is a lot to this story I don’t like. To start with, the plot begins with Kate needing to interview a Dom for her article, but that point is essentially dropped. The whole idea of her researching the topic is really only used to introduce her to people in the lifestyle … which brings me to my next point. Kate clearly expresses that she only wants to interview some people, yet the Domme she is in contact with, Lara, determines that Kate really wants to be a sub. Lara and Drake both pressure Kate into actually experiencing the lifestyle instead of it being Kate who recognizes her own desire. It reminds me of another BDSM book that shall not be named—oh wait, I can name it since The Agreement refers to it multiple times. There were way too many references to Fifty Shades of Grey in The Agreement.
Another issue with the plot is that Kate wants to write an article on BDSM, yet she wants to remain completely anonymous. I’m not quite sure how she expects that to work. She has a conversation about BDSM with Drake through her apartment door, knowing her nosey neighbor is listening. Not very smart if you don’t want anyone to know you’re interested in BDSM.
Kate’s relationship with her father is another oddity. In the beginning, she hasn’t seen much of him over the past few years and she thinks he’s embarrassed by her. Then suddenly she spends tons of time with her father and finds out from Drake that her father used to talk her up all the time. Just when you think he’s a decent father and there had been some kind of misunderstanding, the author illustrates just how little Judge McDermott knows about Kate. But she still constantly runs to him for everything. All of the angst in the story comes from trying to keep Drake’s (and Kate’s) lifestyle from the judge, but we come to find out that he’s known about Drake the entire time and was still trying to set Kate up with Drake.
Overall, Kate is quite a push-over. Not only does she get talked into becoming a submissive, she bows to her friend Dawn’s demands every time Dawn threatens to expose Drake. Then it only takes five minutes of Drake’s sweet-talking for her to agree to continue their relationship. Kate is characterized as a good girl with conservative clothing, yet she is always wearing this little black nighty.
As for Drake, he’s also a walking contradiction. He’s introduced as a master Dom, but he never actually lives up to it. He’s constantly being lenient with Kate as a sub well beyond her learning period. The one time he does punish her, he actually goes too far. He tells her he will call her Katherine when in D/s mode so she’ll be able to know the difference, yet he frequently calls her Kate or Ms. Bennett instead (the nickname is something else I don’t like), and he expects her to remember to call him Master. He also gets her drunk during one of their encounters in order for her to loosen up.
I didn’t really enjoy the writing of this story. So much information was repeated it felt like the author was trying to drill it into the reader’s head instead of allowing us to form our own opinions. There was also a lot of telling instead of showing. I prefer to be shown that the main character is sexy instead of telling me that fact ten times. A fair amount of editing mistakes added to the difficulty I had getting through this story.
The Agreement unfortunately missed the mark of being a sexy, erotic read.