ARC Review & Excerpt: The Deep End (Honey, #1) by Kristen Ashley

A delicious world of erotica, BDSM with alpha-subs and their Dommes, and a gripping love story… Welcome to The Bee’s Honey! The first book in New York Times bestselling author Kristen Ashley’s Honey Series, THE DEEP END is a seductive and rich love story. Get your copy today and fall into THE DEEP END…



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Enter a decadent sensual world where gorgeous alpha males are committed to fulfilling a woman’s every desire…

Olivier isn’t sure what he’s gotten himself into when he joins the Honey Club, only that a dark part of him hungers for the lifestyle offered by this exclusive club. Here, no boundary will be left untested…and one’s deepest fantasies will become an exquisite reality.

When Amélie invites Olivier to surrender, she gives the alpha submissive what he craves. Soon they both find themselves falling harder than they ever anticipated—but as their connection deepens, the truth about Olivier’s past could destroy everything…

Gripping and seductive, The Deep End is the first book in a sensational new series from bestselling author Kristen Ashley.





Yours as you are mine

3.5 kinky alpha stars

Well this was certainly an interesting read! KA does BDSM, and not just any BDSM, but a story with a heroine who is a dominatrix, and an alpha-sub hero. It sounded bizarre and I was wary, but curious, but it’s KA so there’s no way I wasn’t at least going to give this one a try, and I liked it!

The Bee’s Honey is an exclusive BDSM club where members can go to experience anything and everything their bodies desire. Amèlie is the top dominatrix at the Honey, she’s a strong, confident woman who knows who she is and who makes no apologies for that, but lately she has started to feel despondent and she worries that she will never find the Domme/sub relationship that she longs for – an alpha sub who will test her, who will not break easily, and who she can form a lasting connection with, possibly even with marriage, children and a forever love. When Olivier walks into the club she is instantly drawn to him, immediately laying claim to the gorgeous beast of a man, and doing it knowing that he could be exactly who she needs.

Olivier is all alpha, with all of the behaviours and characteristics that are so inherent to KA’s heroes, but he has needs and desires that are met by having a strong woman control him sexually, testing his limits and allowing him to completely let go. He has acknowledged his desires but he hasn’t fully accepted that this is who he is, and having heard about Amèlie, he suspects that she is the woman that he has been searching for to guide him though his dark desires.

Amèlie is thrilled to have a sub that challenges her, she craves the power it gives her to break him, to see him submit to her the pleasure that she can bring him. But Olivier is still an alpha, and though I had my doubts about how those two traits fit together, you’ve gotta trust in KA. The queen of alpha males has created a wonderfully developed character in Olivier, blending the two parts of him so well that he seems real and I could believe in who he was.

“I know how this goes. I know I’m your toy.” He spat out the last word. “I know you got a fuckuva lot more experience than me and I ride that because you’re fuckin’ good at it, hell and gone, fucking great. I put myself in your hands because I know you know what to do with me.”

And despite the fact that he hands himself over to her completely, there’s always a sense that it’s happening because he’s allowing it to happen, and he has just as much control in the relationship as she does.

His stare stayed locked on hers as he announced. “I’m yours, you can claim me, but get me now, Amèlie, or we gotta have another conversation. You claim me, I claim you. I get my place. I get you make this decision. But I’m fuckin’ sayin’ it anyway. You’re mine.”

If you’re curious, here’s a brief example of their banter and interaction during a ‘scene’ for those who would like a spoiler-free taste.


The BDSM aspect is purely sexual, and there is no humiliation or degradation, it’s about pushing sexual boundaries more than anything behavioural, but there is a LOT of explicit kink. Personally, I like smut in my romance, but the stuff going on in this book didn’t do a whole lot for me (unless Olivier’s alphaness came out to play, then… damn!), and it felt a bit OTT for me at times. I get that it’s an important part of who they are and the very base of their relationship, but I didn’t need to know quite so much detail.

But it was the love story that kept me reading. The chemistry between Amèlie and Olivier is beautifully explored, and their connection right from the very beginning is so much more than just sexual. And as they get to know each other, their relationship easily slips into real life, becoming something so much more.

“My hot-as-fuck Mistress makes nachos, watches football, and has a book club. Careful, baby, I’m gonna start thinking you’re a real person and not an angel sent from heaven to jack my shit.”
She started laughing, through it saying, “I’m sure you’ll agree I’m no angel.”
He moved his face close to her. “Don’t know about that.”

I loved the progression of everything that builds between them. It felt real and honest and so, so natural, and the blend of their two worlds is really well done.

“What I’m sayin’ is,” his big hand folded around hers at his thigh, “this is you and me.”
“Ah,” she breathed out, understanding him.
They were in a booth, sharing a drink and talking. This was Olly and Leigh. Not Mistress Amèlie and her toy.
“You down with that?” he asked.
“You’re asking a great deal, Olly,” she answered.
His face softened at the name she used. “I know, sweetheart. I’m still asking, you down with that?”

The story is written mostly from Amèlie’s perspective, though Olivier has some chapters as well, and I love that we got to see both sides of this story. I loved being in their heads and seeing where they were at, and watching them fall for each other was gorgeous!

He was gone, hers, all hers, everything she gave him was everything he was free to be, everything he could be.
Everything he just fucking was.
For her.

Obviously they have some things to work through, and there is some drama (though it is mercifully short-lived), but as expected from a KA book it all ends well, with an epilogue that finishes the story off really nicely.

“I needed you to try me.  I needed you to push me.  I needed from you what you said you needed from a sub.  I needed you to break me.  I needed someone to throw me in the deep end and force me to learn how to swim.  But I needed to do that knowing she was right there to pull me to the surface.  And you were right there, Leigh, not pulling me to the surface.  Leading me up and forcing me to surf a fucking killer goddamned wave.”

So a bit of a mixed bag for me with this one. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t get as invested in the story as I usually do with a KA book. Maybe some of the subject matter made me feel disconnected? I’m not sure, but it was definitely an intriguing read, and with hints given about future storylines, I’ll definitely be picking up the next book in the series.

3.5 stars.

An Advanced Review Copy was generously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


The Honey series

Ashley_The Deep End   

The Deep End (#1)
Buy: Kindle Ebook  |  Paperback  |  Audio

The Farthest Edge (#2)
Buy:  Kindle Ebook Paperback  |  Audio

The Greatest Risk (#3)
To be released 1 May 2018
Pre-order:  Paperback




She turned back to him. “You seem to have a good deal of stamina.”

“Amélie…Mistress, I don’t think you’re getting’ that I seriously find you not hard on the eyes.”

She bent closer, as intended for this part of their session, some of her fair falling on his chest in another caress. She did this letting her amusement show, if not all of the emotion she felt at his compliment.

“I wonder, mon chou, if you think you can butter me up with compliments.”

“I don’t know. Maybe. Though not sure why I’d bother since I didn’t give you one and you just made me shoot a huge-ass load the like that have never come from my cock.”

“And he gives another compliment,” she said through a smile.

“You earn it, I’ll say it, he replied, his lips twitching. “That is, if I’m physically capable of speech.”

She was still smiling when she reached out a hand and delicately traced circles around his nipple.

His eyes darkened.

Her good humor increased.

“You’re of course aware I should do something about you being so audaciously cheeky.”

Another darkness crossed his face. “What?”

“I shouldn’t allow you to be cheeky with me.”


“Impudent,” she explained.

The look fled. “You mean, in uppity, hot-chick speak, a wise-ass.”

Amélie couldn’t help it, she laughed softly.

“She’s got a pretty laugh, too, to go with that pretty accent,” he murmured and she saw his eyes on her lips.

I could get lost in this one, she thought. Lost and never found.


About the Author

Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA and nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn’t taken her first breath!). Her mother said they took Kristen away, put her Mom back in her room, her mother looked out the window, and Gary was on fire (Dr. King had been assassinated four days before). Kristen’s Mom remembered thinking it was the end of the world. Quite the dramatic beginning.
Nothing’s changed.

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana and has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus, she’s blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her family was (is) loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. They all lived together on a very small farm in a small farm town in the heartland. She grew up with Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing, it keeps getting better.



Don’t forget to check out our Kristen Ashley Author Spotlight!


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