Genres: BDSM Romance, Contemporary Romance
Published by Loose-ID
Released on August 26, 2012
I love when I pick up a book and it evokes tons of emotions throughout the entire experience. Being a huge fan of Cherise Sinclair, I expected no different when I started this book. Some of my emotions at the end of the book were hard for me to explain and deal with, but after sometime I think I have then under control and hopefully can explain them to you. This will be a long review, so pull up a chair and let’s discuss it!
Professor Abigail Bern, Abby, needs to get published to retain her job at the college she teaches classes at. She is dating a fellow professor, Nathan, who is spending the summer at another university teaching. Abby is a little socially inept. Extremely smart, she graduated early from both high school and college. Her father has passed away, her mother remarried to a man with his own daughter and her mother and stepfather also have a child together. Abby’s father’s passing has left some scars but I wouldn’t say they were deep, but they did cause a few issues. The biggest problem in this arrangement is Abby’s stepsister, who steals and sleeps with all of Abby’s boyfriends.
So the night before Nathan is supposed to leave, he once again tries to bring Abby into his BDSM world and she immediately freezes up causing Nathan to break up with her while keeping her as a friend. As they are leaving for the airport, Nathan makes this statement that right away set my hackles up to beat him down!
My sweet slut! Oh, no he didn’t! Ok, yes I know slut is a word used in BDSM quite frequently. But in the context it was said here, I just could not swallow him calling her a slut when she had never really been his submissive. I am not fond of the word slut. I will be honest. But I do understand that is part of some BDSM world and used right it is a compliment. Here it wasn’t in my opinion. And I suspect this is the emotion Cherise was hoping I would have…so while I didn’t like this statement, it was what was needed to convey Nathan’s personality.
Nathan has hinted there are cutbacks coming and Abby was on the chopping block if she couldn’t get published. So Abby decides to do a research for a publication about BDSM. A side benefit she hopes is finding a way to accept the dominance that Nathan needs in the relationship. Off she goes to Dark Haven only to find out you have to be a member and membership fees are out of her budget. Lucky for her the receptionist has quit because she isn’t getting any time with My Liege, the owner of Dark Haven. Being a teacher, she whips up the desk in an organized fashion and strikes a deal with My Liege to spend a few hours in reception and a few hours in the club. But really she doesn’t understand what she agreed too.
Xavier Leduc, pardon me while I swoon here *swoon*, is the owner of Dark Haven and lovingly called My Liege or Liege Xavier. He has shown up in the anthologies, The Doms of Dark Haven, both book 1 and 2. You don’t need to read those books to understand this story, but if you want more Xavier…go get them! Xavier’s world revolved around his late wife, who was also his slave. When she dies, he keeps a distance to all other women, protecting his heart. This doesn’t mean he is cold or unemotional, he just knows what he wants and it isn’t another long term relationship. It isn’t uncommon for him to have a slave in training at home, a submissive in training at the club and the beautiful poised model on his arm when he goes out. But none of these women touch his heart and he always hands them off to their new dominant when the time has come without looking back.
Oh Abby…you got yourself caught in this. Xavier later explains that the receptionist job isn’t just being a receptionist. She is expected to participate in demonstrations of any other activity that Xavier wishes her too. This surprises Abby, but she often gets lost in her mind avoiding the activity going on to her. What we see is Abby’s intellect crunching what she is learning. She gets deep into her own mind analyzing all the data she is collecting. Xavier notices this trend and wow, he pulls out all kinds of different ways to combat it.
Abby is also slightly overweight, has straight thin hair and generally has a bad opinion of herself. If you read any BDSM you know a Dom doesn’t like his sub saying anything bad about her/himself. So Xavier has to deal with getting Abby to understand her beauty.
All during this time, Abby is gathering her research and you will be surprised at what she was really writing about versus what the typical writings generally are about. But this really doesn’t matter because Abby is breaking the club rules by revealing anything about Dark Haven. Abby worms her way into Xavier’s circle, slowly into his heart so this betrayal comes with some consequences in the end. There are two punishments that had me squirming at both the harshness of it and the emotions you read as Abby goes through it. Everyone at the club gets a chance at the two punishments making it embarrassing to read about. I am so glad I am not Abby! The gripping part of this punishment is that Xavier is very uncomfortable with it as well even though he thought of it. He stands beside Abby through it all, lending her his support even as he struggles dealing with other people punishing his sub. But in the end it was Abby who had to deal with it so while I appreciated Xavier’s pain, it was Abby I was more concerned over.
This wouldn’t be a Cherise Sinclair book without some BDSM games! And yes there is one that both excited me and had me rooting for all the subs to win. Read it, you will be trying to cheer the subs on too!
And Nathan returns and cements why I hated him early on. Read it…you will too.
So what did I have a hard time with? I really did not like Abby for about half of the book. She seemed weak letting her sister talk to her in such a way that would have had me in a girl on girl wrestling match! Abby and her mother have a great relationship. In fact, Abby has a great relationship with her stepfather and half sister. It is just the poison stepsister that seems to walk all over her. The second thing I didn’t like is how Abby seemed desperate for Nathan even though he made her uncomfortable with all his BDSM needs. I was sending up red flags all over the place! If you have any doubts, then clearly this isn’t the person for you if you can’t discuss them logically. She just seemed to desperate to keep Nathan in the beginning.
You know how you picture a character after the description the author gives? Well, after reading about Abby, I didn’t have a great image. Whenever Xavier grabbed her hair I wanted to say what hair since it was described as thin, straight and short. Trying to do the Xavier thing, I tried to come up with adjectives that were positive to describe it…golden, pixie cut, lushness when messed up. I just kept picturing something that wasn’t appealing. Normally looks aren’t a big deal for me. I don’t care how they look as long as they have the deep emotion that guides the story. So I don’t know why this one hung me up. The only thing I can think of is that Xavier has very long tresses. As you can see in the cover, he has some Native American heritage along with a beautiful braid down his gorgeous, back…ok I got lost there for moment. Xavier takes his braid out several times and all I wanted to do was run my hands through it. So could having an alpha male with gorgeous hair make me look at a sub’s hair as less than beautiful? Only thing I can think of.
But the best part…Abby grows so much in this book. She learns from her mistakes, grows a backbone, decides what she really wants and takes her punishment like a trooper. Xavier helps her along the way, but he too has some growing to do and learning to love again, even trust again.
Cherise doesn’t sit on her laurels of past books just cloning them one after another. Each book offers a new and unique look at a BDSM couple. Every BDSM relationship is different just like every vanilla relationship is different. We see new and different scenes and learn that being the owner of a slave is tiring…sometimes they don’t want to pick out your clothes. Each story has a new perspective, growing with each new look. The growth of writing is evident as you read Cherise’s earlier books to her latest books. I just happy I can ride along reading her awesome books that just keep getting better and better with each new book!
*Puts on my Dominatrix outfit* I am ordering you to buy and read this book. *Takes off the Dominatrix outfit for my shorts and t-shirt* Seriously. If you want a BDSM book that is serious, not fluff, but also not filled with sadists, you will love this book. It is not deep into pain, but it is into Dominance/submission. I highly recommend it to everyone…vanilla or chocolate!