cover image Hurt for Me

Hurt for Me

Heather Levy. Montlake, $16.99 trade paper (350p) ISBN 978-1-66251-661-0

This gritty erotic thriller from Levy (Walking Through Needles) delivers both heat and heart. At the outset, pregnant Rae Dixon escapes her abusive boyfriend, who sexually trafficked her and others, and sets his Santa Monica home on fire. On the road, she meets kindly stranger Viv, who recognizes her distress, takes her into her home in Albuquerque, and becomes a surrogate big sister. Viv supports herself as an online dominatrix, and Rae asks to learn the ropes. Fast-forward 15 years: Rae has a teenage daughter, Lily, whom she adores—and her own thriving practice as a professional dominatrix. After one of her clients goes missing, Rae and her profession are thrust into the spotlight by Det. Dayton Clearwater. Dayton is fighting his own demons: his cousin, a sex worker, was killed, and though the rest of the force has written off her death, he’s determined to bring those involved to justice. As Rae and Dayton investigate the disappearance, they become more than friends. Levy keeps the twists coming and makes it easy to root for her smart, empathetic leads as they fight to save innocents from evil. The vivid descriptions of abuse are hard to read in parts, but serve to underline the emotional stakes. Fans of high-octane BDSM romances will be riveted. Agent: Sandy Lu, Book Wyrm Literary. (Jan.)