After walking into the wrong bar, 28-year-old Bailey may have found the right woman. Bailey has thought about kink before, but not the kind of kink that Domme Isabelle is exhibiting on stage and Bailey is entranced. Bailey can’t seem to make herself move after seeing Isabelle and, after an introduction to the dominant woman, Bailey knows she will be back again.
Isabelle is still trying to figure out her life after a devastating breakup that left her questioning everything. She has only recently started playing again at the club, but only with partners where she knows there will be no further relationship after the scene is over. But seeing Bailey all eager and beautiful, Isabelle knows she will never be able to resist her.
Bailey wants to explore her new found submissive side and she wants to do that with Isabelle. But Isabelle is afraid to get too close to Bailey and isn’t ready to fully let her in. While their chemistry is amazing, Isabelle isn’t ready to take that chance and she may miss out on the partner she has always longed for.
Impact is the debut book from Nikki Markham, an alternate pen name for author Kate Hawthorne writing in the F/F genre. There is a lot to like here with Bailey and Isabelle immediately being characters I wanted to learn more about.
Bailey has an active social life with a group of friends and she’s openly bisexual. She hasn’t ever been exposed to the type of kink that she sees from Isabelle at the club and she knows she wants more and she knows she wants Isabelle. Isabelle’s friend, Athena, immediately recognizes that Bailey would be great for Isabelle and sets out to make that happen.
We learn some of Isabelle’s backstory as it relates to her ex and why she has no interest in another relationship. We don’t learn that much about Bailey and, at the end of the book, I felt I knew her only as she relates to her friend group and then to Isabelle. Bailey gets caught up quickly in all things Isabelle and the book is sex and kink positive in Isabelle’s world.
The book does move fast and there are several storylines brought in that I would have liked more backstory on. We know that Bailey has a group of friends she is close with, and they know she is bisexual, yet when she starts dating Isabelle their biphobia comes out and there wasn’t enough of a story built for them to support this for me. Also, there isn’t a lot of relationship development for Bailey and Isabelle outside of intimate scenes and sharing kink and I would have liked to see more of that as well. Isabelle’s friend, Athena, is in a poly relationship that was interesting, but that was already in motion as the book starts and it read to me like I should have already known them. The book ends with Bailey and Isabelle in a good place, but the overall book has a serial vibe and a “to be continued” feel with a storyline introduced for one of Bailey’s friends.
While there were areas I would have liked more from in the book overall, I liked the world that has been created here. I will certainly look forward to the next book in this series where the kink is light, the feelings are intense, and the story moves fast.