Review: A Hard Bargain (The Hardest Word #1) by Ashe Barker

April 22, 2014 Review 0

Review: A Hard Bargain (The Hardest Word #1) by Ashe Barker

This is book one in the The Hardest Word serial.

Over forty-million pounds in the bank, but the one thing she wants to buy is not for sale.

Freya Stone is a Lottery winner. A Euromillions Lottery winner to be exact. The week she won, hers was the only winning ticket. And it was a rollover, seeing her almost forty-five million pounds richer. But with no taste at all for a wealthy lifestyle, Freya bought herself a flashy car and a fancy apartment, then ran out of ideas and stuck the rest in the bank to be carefully invested by her own private wealth consultant.

One passion her wealth will enable her to indulge, however, is her appetite for submission. Or so she thinks. Following a childhood illness, Freya is unable to speak. She gets by pretty well with a combination of British Sign Language and a notepad, but her lack of speech makes negotiating difficult. She can’t tell a Dom what she needs, and she can’t use safe words. None of the Doms she’s played with so far have been especially interested in training a novice sub who doesn’t even squeal.

So Freya decides to buy tuition from a Master who comes highly recommended. Why not? She has the funds at her disposal, and nothing better she’d like to purchase. Twenty-five thousand pounds for a month with the Dom she’s fantasised about for ages seems like a bargain to her.

But experienced and harsh Dom Nick Hardisty has other ideas. Infuriated at Freya’s attempt to buy his services, he turns her down flat, while also demanding that she pay for her temerity by submitting to a punishment which he will administer personally.

Can Freya accept his discipline? Can she convince him to reconsider and provide the help she needs? And Nick Hardisty drives a hard bargain. If he won’t accept her money, what will his price be?

Reader Advisory: This book contains references to age regression scenes and uncomfortable BDSM encounters. It also includes pain play, spanking, restraints, anal play and nipple clamps.

Publisher's Note: This book is best read in sequence as part of a serial.

Title: A Hard Bargain
Author: Ashe Barker
Other books by this author that we've reviewed: The Darkening, Darkening, Darker, Darkest
Series: The Hardest Word #1
Other books in this series that we've reviewed: Hard Lessons, Hard Choices
Published by Totally Bound
Source: Author
Published: April 4th 2014
Genres: Erotic Contemporary Romance
Pages: 210
See the title at Goodreads
Purchase your copy: Amazon
Visit the Author's Website

Stars: five-stars
Flames: four-flames

Freya is a major lottery winner. She’s bought herself a flash car, a new apartment but the one thing she wants is a Dom. Having struck out several times at a local BDSM club to find a Dom to train her she decides that maybe she can pay a Master to train her and she has her eye on Nick Hardisty. Naturally, Nick refuses, is infuriated and demands her to submit to punishment. Of course, things may change once he realizes why Freya’s training is quite challenging. You see, she’s mute.

As a regular reader of erotic and romance books, it’s not often I see something new. Rich, poor, young old, cougars and May-December romances, really what else can you do to take an erotic romance and freshen it up? However, I got to say, Ms. Barker has done it with The Hardest Word series. Freya’s inability to speak adds a whole new twist that I found exhilarating. Now HERE is something new. How will she negotiate her limits? Use her safe word? How will he knew what she needs? It was all so fascinating. This is something new!

Let me say, I loved Freya. She’s not some wimpy college kid. Here we have a woman who is not lacking for anything so now billionaire was going to walk in and ‘take care of things’. Her handicap for the most part didn’t really hamper much. Well, maybe to find a Dom. That’s where Nick comes in. Strong, sexy as hell and OH WOW! I was surprised how inventive he gets to help her learn how to play. Not just play, communicate her wants and needs. The sex is hot between them but really, I was all melty every time they did things the vanilla way. With the undeniable chemistry they have. Clearly Freya and Nick belong together.

Little bit of a spoiler here. I could not help but laugh when Freya was reading THAT book. You know the one with the black and white cover with the tie. I have read all of Ashe Barkers book so this isn’t the first time I’ve seen her slip this little tidbit into her stories. I always think it’s so cute particularly because when I am recommending any of her trilogies I always compare them to THAT series.

In typical style, the author ends A Hard Bargain with a cliffhanger. Luckily, this time it wasn’t one of those ‘OMG what happens next’ ones. I won’t say I’m not feening for the next book, however I’m not ready to toss my Kindle. As always I HIGHLY recommend reading anything by Ashe Baker but if you’re going to pick only one series to read, make it this one.

As for Freya and Nick…I can’t wait to see how things progress.


A Hard Bargain
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