Hiya, remember me? I took a week off of FanFiction Friday over the holidays, but it's BACK! And since I was traveling, a very nice friend, Debbie CDC a/k/a SeattleChik, offered to step in and provide a review of our latest book club selection "The Red Line." Check it out!!
“No kid stands up on the stage in school and says ‘I want to be a whore’. Back then, I used to say I wanted to be a doctor. My friends would say cop, fireman, soldier…those are nice dreams too.
But this is the real world…and dreams just don't come true. I know that now.
I am a whore. My name is Edward.”
And so begins “The Red Line” an AH/AU fan fiction by the extraordinarily talented Winndsinger. TRL is a FF that is very dear to me, and Courtney has asked me to step in today and offer a review for Twifans. First, for those of you not familiar with the story, here’s a brief summary:
Edward is an exotic male dancer. Bella is a college student studying psychology and needs a subject to interview for her thesis. Bella pays Edward to belong to her for 2 weeks so she can study him and things soon get very interesting between them.
Nearly every FF offers a Bella and/or Edward that are in some way or another damaged or dealing with heavy personal issues (Fifty in MOTU, both Bella and Tattward in CW&IA, Drugward in “With Teeth”). In TRL, we meet an Edward who has lost almost everything of value in his life including his own self respect and free will. In order to save the one thing he still has, he becomes involved with some extremely dangerous characters and in the process falls into the hands of Victoria, owner of a club called Fire in New York City. While on the surface Fire appears nothing more than a Chippendales-type club catering strictly to female customers where men serve as the bartenders, waiters and dancers, behind the scenes are drug dealers, prostitutes and BDSM enthusiasts of both sexes and all perversions. Not your typical FF setup.
Because of her sexual attraction to him and her dominatrix personality, Victoria has molded Edward into a star performer at Fire and her own personal sex slave (although she does rent him out to others for the right price). Edward has no choice but to go along with Victoria, not only because she is his boss and he owes her a great deal of money, but she literally holds the power of life and death over him. Victoria knows the one thing Edward values and keeps him beholden to her both physically and mentally by exploiting his fear that she will take that one thing away from him. By giving in to Victoria, he has totally surrendered any semblance of free will and is completely controlled by what she orders him to do – no matter what it may be.
Bella is very far removed from Edward’s world of sex clubs and role playing. She is a graduate student, intellectually advanced but sexually innocent. When Bella’s first subject for her thesis project backs out on her, with little notice, she has to act fast and find a replacement. Her friends, Rosalie and Alice, bring her to Fire in the hopes of finding a subject that Bella can interview. Bella is immediately attracted to Edward’s physical beauty, but repulsed by the women customers and the openly aggressive and sexual way they treat him. She wonders why and how someone like him came to work at such a place and why he allows himself to be abused in this way. Bella decides that Edward should be the subject of her thesis, and using all of her inheritance money from her grandmother, buys his services from Victoria for two weeks.
During these two weeks, Bella plans to conduct a series of psychological interviews with Edward to unlock the secrets of his heart and mind and find out why a young, intelligent, handsome and charming man would choose to spend his life as a sex slave for any woman with the money to buy his services. Edward, who has been purchased for extended periods of time before by other women, initially believes Bella is using the “psych student” persona because she is too shy and too sexually innocent to come right out and hire him as her toy for two weeks. He knows it is his job to teach Bella how to experience and enjoy sex through a number of encounters and role playing adventures, never thinking she is serious about studying him as a subject for her thesis. They strike a balance where Edward agrees to her “Dr. Bella” therapy sessions in return for Bella allowing him to be her sex instructor. They both believe at the end of the two weeks, they will go back to their respective lives – Bella with her thesis completed and Edward back to his job at Fire where his friends Emmett and Jasper also work as dancers. Neither Bella nor Edward has any idea of what is about to unfold as they uncover each other’s secrets.
First of all, let me say that the lemons in this story are absolutely hot and totally fucktastic (you’ll never look at a barstool or a fire escape in the same way again!). Here’s a brief taste:
“The thunder boomed suddenly but she didn't pay any attention. To me, it seemed like the demon everyone calls God was up there, angry, trying to warn Bella what the penalties are for f****** a whore. But the moment we got in the door we couldn't keep our hands off each other. I pinned her against the wall in the kitchen, kissing her hard, getting her eager kiss in return.
We should've been shivering and cold, being so wet, but I felt warm…and getting warmer as I felt Bella's hands yank up the wet shirt that clung to me. I moved back a step, letting the shirt pull up and off me, breaking our kiss for one second, but then my lips came back to hers even stronger, slamming her back into the wall again with a dull thud as she moaned out loud.
She whimpered as I returned the favor. I wanted her shirt off, too, but didn't want to lose her mouth on mine so, I just tore it down the middle. It was too easy. She yelped as I threw the wet ball of ruined shirt to the linoleum floor and began to search for the hook to this goddamn bra she always insisted on wearing. I swear, I'm going through her drawers tomorrow and hiding all her bras. "In back." She panted, in between kisses. I got there fast and unhooked it without any trouble, knowing my way around these things. I yanked the bra off as she moaned and I grabbed her hair again in one of my fists, the other hand on her breast, squeezing and clutching in pure need.
It was completely dark in here, only the occasional flashes of lightning revealing each of us to the other as I lifted her up a bit, curling her legs around my hips and holding both my hands under her sweet, wet ass, carrying her to the bedroom as she kept kissing me with all the passion I accused her of earlier. "Don't stop kissing me…" I breathed in between her deep, hungry mouth. "Never.." she panted back, filling my mouth with her tongue as her hands dug into my soaked hair that hung over my left eye a bit.
I got her to the bed and we both fell onto it, her on her back and me on top of her. Her legs opened and I grabbed for the button of her jeans, opening it and moving the zipper down fast, yanking the right side down roughly as she moaned and yelped, sounds that were fast making me an animal”.
Pretty smokin’ hawt huh? But be warned, there are also very graphic descriptions of sexual abuse and sexual practices that for some readers will be extremely difficult to handle. But let me quickly add that these elements are NOT in the story just to add titillation value. They are absolutely necessary to the development of the plot and the characters and essential to understanding how and why Edward is, as he himself puts it, “a whore”.
The Bella in this story is intelligent and confident in her academic abilities, but shy and unsure sexually. Edward, on the other hand, is totally at ease with his sexual abilities, but under that façade is a tortured heart and mind.
If your idea of the perfect FF is Edward and Bella meet, are attracted to each other, exchange witty banter, have sex, fight a bit and live HEA, then “The Red Line” is NOT for you. If however you want a challenging story with a totally original plot, characters with depth and complexity and twists and turns you will never see coming, then I highly recommend TRL.
Only one other FF (MOTU #1) kept me up all night reading – until I discovered TRL. I literally went without adequate sleep for two days because I simply could not rest until I found out how this story would end (thank massive doses of caffeine for getting me through work for that 48 hour period). You will be wowed by fabulous lemons, you will cry, your heart will break for Stripperward, and you will be so angry that you will seriously consider monitor punching or laptop throwing. I know, because that’s what I did. To me this is the mark of a great FF – one that totally pulls you into the characters and their world and doesn’t want to let go.
Thank you, Courtney, for encouraging me to write my first FF review (truthfully I was more than a little nervous about doing this LOL). I hope you all will comment and let me know what you think.
To start reading "The Red Line", click here!
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