Praise by Sara Cate is an age-gap, ex-boyfriend’s father adult romance. This isn’t a book review but an actual summary of what happens in the story, so keep in mind there will be spoilers ahead.
- Book Title: Praise
- Author: Sara Cate
- Publication Date: March 17, 2022
- Category: Contemporary Romance
- Print Length: 364 Pages
Charlie has broken up with her ex-boyfriend, Beau, and they broke their lease. But their security deposit went to his estranged father, Emerson. Emerson has been trying to find a new secretary, in actuality, a sub, and so when Charlie shows up for the check, he makes assumptions.
He tells her to get on her knees, so she does despite her confusion and self-respect. She really needs the money. Charlie is attracted to Emerson but feels weird about it since he is her ex’s father. He calls her lovely, and despite the oddness of the situation, she really likes it.
They manage to sort out the confusion, and once he realizes why she’s there, he’s embarrassed. Charlie says she and Beau broke up, and he is surprised by it. He writes the check for her half and apologizes.
He asks her not to tell Beau, and she says she won’t but then rethinks it and tries to extort him for two hundred and fifty dollars so she can buy Anime Fest VIP passes for her little sister, Sophie. He gives her five thousand.
She, Sophie, and her mom go out for dinner. Sophie is glad that Charlie broke up with Beau since he was a jerk.
Charlie can’t stop thinking about Emerson and realizes he co-owns the Salacious Players Club (SPC). She reads a kinky blog by Eden, introducing her to everything. She’s intrigued by the concept of a praise kink but not ready to deal with it. She dreams about Emerson praising her.
Charlie works at a skating rink. Emerson shows up and offers her a job as his secretary—not a sub. He also says she looked exquisite on her knees. Because Beau won’t talk to Emerson, he wants to help Charlie instead—and possibly get to Beau through her. She takes the job.
After her shift, she goes to the mall to buy some new work clothes and lingerie. She runs into Beau and a new woman there. He gets mad because she didn’t get his half of the check from Emerson, even though he didn’t even ask her to. She realizes she’s no longer required to listen to him.
When Charlie shows up at work, her blouse is see-through, and Emerson wants to see her on her knees. He resists because she’s Beau’s ex, and he recognizes how inappropriate it is.
She has a lot of questions and is very curious, so she keeps asking him about kink and what he likes. He takes her to SPC, which is set to open soon. The general contractor, Drake, flirts with her, and Emerson dislikes it. He doesn’t think she’s ready for any of this, which reminds her too much of Beau trying to make decisions for her, so she gets angry.
She also hates that he only calls her Charlotte. She meets Garrett, one of the other owners, who shows her a throne and kneels before her. She doesn’t like it as much as when she was on her knees. Emerson gets pissed again, and Charlie hates being attracted to him because she realizes he sees her as a kid his son’s age, not as an equal.
She wonders what it would be like to have Emerson look at her as a woman and then realizes she no longer sees him as Beau’s dad, she sees him as a man.
After work, she takes Sophie to pick up a new manga volume and flirts her way into getting one even though they’re basically sold out. She’s really happy with her newfound sexuality. Meanwhile, Emerson goes out with his friends but hesitates to tell Garrett where he found Charlie.
A few weeks later, Charlie has settled in well. Emerson always wants to know about Beau but doesn’t push Charlie to contact him after she explains Beau didn’t treat her well and made her doubt herself. Charlie tells Emerson he should take a date to the club opening, so he doesn’t have to focus on fending women off. She reads his palm and explains he’s destined for deep, earth-shattering love. She is too.
He invites her to the opening. She accepts. He kisses her lightly. She freaks out. She is then scared he doesn’t want her and that she’s stupid for wanting him, but he says that he does want her but that there is too much between them. Then he praises her, and she instantly feels better and wants more of his praise.
Emerson leaves Beau a voicemail saying he hired Charlie. She comes inside, and he’s concerned because she walked over a mile in February. He gives her a foot rub and offers to help her fix her car. Beau calls, interrupting them, and argues with Charlie. Later, Emerson offers her an out, but she refuses to quit. Later, Sophie is concerned because she feels like Charlie is changing. She is, but feels like it will be a good change.
At the opening, Charlie is surprised by some of the kinks she sees on display. She sees an older man she thinks she recognizes but can’t place him. Emerson and Charlie dance, and she finds it really freeing when she realizes no one is judging her for dancing with a man old enough to be her dad. Charlie gets into the back hallway, where you can see into private rooms. She watches a threesome and is into it.
Emerson finds her and convinces her to keep watching. He’s hard because of her and talks her into touching herself as she watches. She doesn’t know how to feel after but thinks she’s happy. Eden gives her advice. Emerson tells Charlie how she can join SPC. He kisses her when he drops her off, but it’s just for the night. She calls him sir. She researches what it would mean to be a sub.
She gets to work before Emerson and waits for him on her knees. He tells her she is a good girl and is willing to help her learn how to be a sub, but part-time. He also wants days where they’re Charlie and Emerson. She lists her limits. She keeps sex off the table. They start that day, and she kneels next to him during a video conference, off-camera. He strokes her hair, and she’s surprised by the intensity of her feelings.
They text about how to have a dom/sub relationship without sex. She’s jealous he had sex with his previous “secretaries” but won’t with her. Emerson knows if he were younger, he would want to be in a relationship with her, but the age gap feels too much.
They continue the arrangement, and Charlie comes to prefer sub days. One normal day, they’re at SPC for a meeting, and an ex-secretary flirts with Emerson. Charlie refuses to greet her politely, and Emerson is angry. It turns out that he wanted to show the woman that Charlie is his new sub. Drake talks her into trying out a remote-controlled vibrator.
She fights him for control of the remote, and Emerson walks in. He’s pissed and takes the remote. Then he takes her out to lunch and uses it. She likes it. She has him keep the remote, and she keeps the vibrator.
Emerson gives her back her list and apologizes. They had never discussed punishment, and he was wrong to push her limits. Charlie is fine with it, but he still wants to know what she consents to.
Charlie doesn’t want to because then he’ll know all of her thoughts and secrets, but she won’t know his. He tells her that he wants her but that they can’t be together conventionally because it would make him the worst father ever. She finishes the list and puts it on his desk.
She finds him working out upstairs. They’re about to kiss when the doorbell rings. It’s Beau. He’s more interested in Charlie than Emerson, so Emerson overhears some of their conversation where Beau is telling Charlie about his current issues. Beau asks Charlie for another chance, and Emerson makes it obvious he’s approaching.
He feels weird about it because Beau and Charlie getting back together should be what he wants. He gives Beau his half of the deposit, but Beau doesn’t want to take extra money because he doesn’t want Emerson to think their problems are solved.
Charlie talks him into taking it. Then Emerson tells Beau to take Charlie out for dinner because he can’t let her be an option for himself. Beau wants to order in at her place, which is his code for sex. She feels disconnected and unhappy, plus hurt that Emerson basically shoved her at her ex. Beau is super against her working for SPC because he finds it gross.
When they get to Charlie’s, Sophie is disappointed to see her hanging out with Beau again. Beau tries to blame his dad for him cheating on Charlie. She is furious and kicks him out.
After she drives Beau home, she goes to confront Emerson. He doesn’t want her to be a dirty secret, but she doesn’t care. She wants him. They have sex. She’s pretty sure no man could ever be better than Emerson. She sees him as just hers instead of all the obstacles between them.
She goes home and feels juvenile that she needs to because she doesn’t want her mom to worry. At work, he has her read a boring document while touching her. She’s incredibly into this change in their relationship. She keeps hoping they can have something real, even though she knows she’ll be disappointed.
Charlie sets up Sophie’s birthday party at the skating rink. Emerson texts Charlie to come over, but she explains she’s at the party. Her mom jokes with her about how she must be having sex to be so happy. Emerson shows up, and Charlie feels awkward about it but also finds it sweet. He brought Sophie a card and tickets to the Anime Fest, which he remembered Charlie talking about when she started her job.
He joins their family for movie night. Her mom is chill with Emerson, but Charlie knows her dad would flip if he were still around. He looks at family pictures and realizes that Sophie is trans. He isn’t bothered, which is a relief for Charlie because her dad left after Charlie came out. Emerson praises her for her loyalty to her family and orders her to stop disparaging herself. Charlie tells him what she wants sexually, and he does it.
A few days later, Emerson is unhappy because he’s been too busy with SPC to dedicate time to Charlie. They’re there trying to sort out last-minute details when Garrett suggests they auction off Charlie. She deflects, but Emerson rules it out completely.
He’s also off-balance because he sees how much damage her dad and Beau did to her because Charlie has no sense of her own self-worth. Garrett and Emerson talk further, and Emerson signs Charlie up for the auction to boost her self-confidence, planning to purchase her time himself. He talks her into it because she can decide what she wants to do with the time she auctions off. She also joined SPC on her own.
They have sex, and Emerson realizes that he can’t let Charlie go. Eden helps Charlie get ready for the auction. She also tells Charlie she’s known Emerson for years and has never seen him so interested in anyone. Emerson wins a bidding war over Charlie.
She’s uncomfortable with him spending so much. He carries her offstage and punishes her for being self-deprecating. She likes the idea of punishment. He uses wax. She starts sobbing as he gets her to admit she’s beautiful. It’s cathartic rather than upsetting.
He takes her home with him to continue aftercare, and they take care of each other. They’re acting like they’re together but haven’t resolved any of their issues.
Garrett is a bit hurt he had to figure out that Emerson was dating his son’s ex via Instagram stalking. He advises Emerson to try to make something of it, because he’s never seen Emerson genuinely interested in someone like this. But he’ll be there for Emerson either way.
Emerson tries to pick a fight with Charlie over Beau, but he defuses it. However, she wants to tell Beau about their relationship. They never come to a conclusion on what to do.
At work, he puts the vibrator inside her and turns it on. He plans to use it all day, but then Beau shows up. Charlie slips up and calls Emerson, sir. Then Beau accidentally hits the remote for the vibrator, and the secret is out. Emerson tries to downplay it, which angers both Beau and Charlie. She leaves because she recognizes she has changed herself so much for a man who doesn’t even care.
Sophie bullies her into Taco Tuesday. She thinks Charlie has been so happy and confident recently and also guessed about her relationship with Emerson and him being Beau’s dad. Garrett texts Charlie a picture of her and Emerson from SPC. She feels like she’s been so stupid, letting herself fall for Emerson.
Meanwhile, Emerson tries to contact both Charlie and Beau. He finally has an honest conversation with Beau. Emerson admits he loves Charlie but won’t see her if Beau is bothered.
Charlie and Beau fight. He tells her Emerson loves her. Charlie goes to SPC on her own and kisses Eden in one of the voyeur rooms. Emerson sees and is jealous enough that he intervenes and takes Charlie for himself. She explains why she’s hurt because he broke her trust. He apologizes, and they have sex.
She is still conflicted because they don’t have a future as a couple, but she wants him. Her dad shows up at her house and yells for her. He knows about SPC from his friend, the guy Charlie sort of recognized, and berates her. Sophie calls Emerson, and he shows up and pulls her dad away. Her mom defends Emerson and asks Charlie’s dad to leave. Beau gets in on the fight, defending Emerson and Charlie.
Emerson tells off Charlie’s dad, and she realizes how much she loves him. Sophie breaks up the fight by telling her dad she’s scared of him. Emerson and Beau leave to discuss their issues, and Emerson intends to date Charlie regardless of his son’s thoughts. Beau still dislikes it but recognizes Charlie is happier. Beau apologizes to Charlie.
Charlie goes to talk to Emerson. They have sex, and she promises she’s his. They exchange I love yous. They’ve recommitted to their dom/sub relationship in the epilogue, and she’s happy being both his secretary and partner. She’s started to move in with him, and he and Beau both hang out with her family.
Praise by Sara Cate is now available on Amazon.
He calls me perfect.
His flawless pet.
His good girl.
Broken down and wounded by my emotionally neglectful ex, I wanted someone to tell me I was good enough.
Then, I stumbled into a new job with a boss who brings me to my knees—literally. He has me do things a real secretary would never do.
Emerson Grant tells me I’m more than just good enough.
I’m worthy of his praise.
There are a million reasons why I should stay away. The owner of the Salacious Players’ Club is not just my new boss, he’s twice my age.
And my ex-boyfriend’s father.
With him, I am treasured. I am adored. I am his.
I’m a good girl, but I’m falling for the wrong man.
Emerson Grant knows what he wants—
And he wants me.
So how far will I go to hear his approval?