Genres: BDSM Romance, Romantic Suspense
Published by Berkley, Heat
Released on October, 4, 2011
I grabbed this one off my TBR pile and jumped right in to the middle of a series. It was a heady feeling to defy my usual need to read a series in order and it was a struggle to do so let me tell you. The good news is that while I noticed hints that pointed back to other stories and stories yet to come in the series, I was able to read and enjoy the story just fine as a standalone.
Now, I do want to say up front that I’m not even remotely a knowledgeable person about the BDSM lifestyle other than things need to be safe, sane and consensual. I want that known because other than glaring things, I wouldn’t know if the lifestyle part of the book fell short on authenticism. It seemed right to me other than the crash course the heroine went through, but the circumstances made this understandable as did the hero losing his cool and pushing her too hard in the beginning. Okay, with that caveat out of the way let me share my summarizing and thoughts on the story.
Tara Jacobs, FBI agent, needs to be trained as a submissive to go undercover to rescue her friend and fellow agent from a sex slave ring that is operating out of an exclusive BDSM resort. She is told that she’s submissive, but she doesn’t feel it because control is important to her. The training isn’t working and she’s frustrated, but this is nothing when a face from her past walks into dungeon chamber stating he’s her new trainer.
Logan has spent twelve long years pining for the girl he was forced to give up to protect her life. He took her virginity and the next day was forced to give her up in a way that sliced through both their hearts. He has become a hard man between his work as a Navy SEAL and becoming the Dom known as the Monk because he won’t have sex with his submissives. There was only one woman for him and always will be. His Cherry girl and there she is before him needing only what he can give.
Most of the book is taken up with the fiery beginning of Tara’s training with Logan and the rekindling of that thing between them that Logan squashed so long ago. Everything is intense because there isn’t much time for Tara’s friend who is being held before her auction and then there is the fact that the threats Logan received against Tara’s life have returned now that they’re together.
Tara holds Logan at arms length unable to give him her trust even though she knows he’s the only man for her. He desperately wants to prove his love and earn her trust, but so much is pressing in on them and then if they do succeed he fears she plans to walk away again.
I found this one an overall enjoyable read. There was a part of me that stood back and acknowledged that the whole thing had an unrealistic quality to it even while I also had to acknowledge that I was okay with that enough to set it aside and enjoy the relationship and story unfold regardless. When I say unrealistic, I mean the situation which forced the speed of Tara’s training. I’m thinking that the training and relationship between a Dom and a sub normally takes tons of time especially if there is a past history of distrust to get beyond. The plot was a good one with a nice suspense element. Just using process of elimination I worked out who the bad guy was both in Logan’s mom’s murder and with the sex slave ring not long into the book, but I wasn’t bored while I waited for the characters to figure it out too.
I think it was because I was so busy being caught up in that well drawn relationship growth arc going on between Logan and Tara. I got to know them both well because the story flipped back and forth between their perspectives. He might have been the cold-hearted, distant baddie Dom before Tara, but he softened and gentled up quick though he still had his command going when it came to her. Tara wanted to submit and melt for his approval, but she was also someone who had no desire to be dominated in all aspects of her life. She was a determined person and pretty fair considering what all was happening around her.
Other characters grabbed my attention too. The mysterious club owner, Thorpe and the charismatic Xander were pretty intriguing guys and I hope they get their own stories. I loved meeting Logan’s brother Hunter in the story whom I suspect was the hero of an earlier story.
In the end, those who enjoy moderate BDSM combined with a suspense element should give this one a try or better still begin at the beginning of the series.