Review: Playing Hard to Master by Sparrow Beckett

Posted July 10, 2018 by Shari in Reviews / 14 Comments

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Review: Playing Hard to Master by Sparrow Beckett
Playing Hard to Master

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Series: Masters Unleashed #2
Genres: BDSM Romance, Contemporary Romance
Published by Intermix
Released on October 20, 2015
Pages: 237
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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The Delight

After Finding Master Right, I went head forward into Playing Hard to Master. The characters are different, the dynamics eerily the same and different. Bratting never has been so fun, but misunderstandings or lies can destroy. Despite being a BDSM story, I loved seeing two people fall in love and balance both BDSM and real life. Just that pesky word, slave, lead me to confusion on what the relationship was, but I guess I need to get over it. These two fit!


We met Ambrose in Finding the Right Master when he took on Kate as his submissive. I won’t give away what happens between the two, but this story isn’t about that. Ambrose has been burned bad once in his past when his slave and fiance up and leaves him with no explanation. Even his time with Kate has wounded him in a way, although not as deeply. But this is one man you wants love and all that comes with it. He has examples of love from his grandparents and parents. Just because he is kinky, he still wants to find the one for him. Then he meets Everly as she cuts his hair for a wedding he is attending.

Everly is a hairdresser who makes ends meet, but also has savings built up. She’s kinky, but also bratty, making it hard to find a Dom who wants to put up with her behavior beyond one session at a club. So good times is mostly what she gets while she dedicates herself more to her causes like keeping shelters open. She has a big chip on her shoulder about rich people and paints them all with the same brush without giving them a chance.

The two flirt over a haircut and make loose plans to meet up later where Ambrose deals well with her brattiness, but it doesn’t go much further. A chance meeting later gets them closer as Ambrose finds her brattiness adorable (and the author uses adorable a lot in their stories) and begins to think she might be the one for him. Unfortunately, or fortunately, he is rich. It’s not something you mention first or second dates, but as they go along, he keeps lying on his net worth wanting her to fall in love with him as him and not hate him just because he has money.

Everly is all about honesty and supporting her causes to the point of using her own money. She truly believes Ambrose is breaking even to struggling on his income. Falling in love is inevitable as they move forward more and more to a Master/slave relationship. Once again the whole slave word confused me because it felt like Dom/sub, but maybe I am just getting hung up on words. The lies build up to a point you Ambrose is damned if he does or doesn’t tell her.

Now let’s talk about anal sex. The authors seem to love introducing the heroines to anal sex. Yep, I know it’s acceptable and really I am not against it. I just want it not to seem like a huge deal in every book.  I keep getting hung up on the word slave, but also the word adorable is way overused in this story. He thinks she is adorable….a lot.

Ambrose rocks Everly’s world, but Everly gives Ambrose what he craves and needs. The two work together well and progess the series stories with more on Konstantin taking a bride his grandmother in Russia has picked…which is what the next book is about.

This story probably is my favorite so far of the series. I loved Everly’s brattiness and how she was not going to give that up. It was part of who she is.  I loved Ambrose for the willingness to take on and enjoy Everely for who she was while also finding other parts of her personality to love. These two were so special to me and I fell in love with them!


Bad Boys of Romance #9
Review Writing Challenge #16

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    Review Pink Buttercream Frosting by Lissa Matthews


About Sparrow Beckett

Two writers in two countries transform into the super writing duo, Sparrow Beckett, each night after wrangling their housefuls of children and pets. They trade the cape and colorful tights for tattoos and cups of coffee then set out to create a world where readers fall in love with heroes and the women who willingly go to their knees for them. Their books are the products of two kinky minds who don’t take themselves too seriously.

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Shari is the Delighted Reader. Married to her Prince Charming and mother to two Princesses and one Prince. When she is not slaving away as Cinderella she loves to get lost in the pages of a good book. Never without a reading device and a few good paperback books, because she never knows when she might get 5 minutes to read!

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Alyssa Susanna
3 years ago

Hmmm, I feel like I would like the hero but the “space” thing would bother me. I’m sure it’s a commonly used word in the BDSM world but to read about it being used is hard for me. LOL, anal seems to be catching fire these days. Lots of authors are throwing it in M/F stories!

Great review! Have a wonderful day. =)

Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

Shari Delighted Read
Shari Delighted Read
3 years ago
Reply to  Alyssa Susanna

Slave is a commonly used word I guess, but I really read more submissive vs slave books. While the kink was a little deeper, I guess my definition of slave is different from theirs. But to each their own and use the words that mean the most. Yep, anal seems to be a big thing in stories now. This pair of authors make sure there is an anal scene in every book and the guys are showing the gals just how great it is. I kind of wanted to say take it up the butt and then tell me its… Read more »

Carole Rae
3 years ago

Mhmm seems like a lot of little things would bug me with this one. It does sound good overall…but mmm not sure.

Shari Delighted Read
Shari Delighted Read
3 years ago
Reply to  Carole Rae

I got tired of Ambrose perpetuating his lies and them getting bigger and bigger. He had nothing to be ashamed of because he worked hard to make the money. Everly was just too harsh about judging people by how much money they had. But I do think he should have not lied to get around it.

Mary Kirkland
3 years ago

After reading the review yesterday and today you sold me on these books. I just got the first book and if I like it maybe I’ll get this one as well. Thanks for the great reviews, both books sound like stories I’ll like.

Shari Delighted Read
Shari Delighted Read
3 years ago
Reply to  Mary Kirkland

Thank you Mary! I read all three fast. The fourth comes out next month and I need to write up that review. Hope the word adorable doesn’t get on your nerves like it did with me.

3 years ago

oh it’s great that this one is better than book 1. You did read them quite fast the one after the other

Shari Delighted Read
Shari Delighted Read
3 years ago
Reply to  Melliane

Yep, I read them one after another. I was reading them because I got the fourth book as an ARC and thought they built upon themselves…but nope, the fourth book kind of reboots the series a little. You do see the past characters, but don’t get real intimate with them.

Sophia Rose
3 years ago

I didn’t mention it yesterday, but from the BDSM I’ve read, most authors do distinguish between a submissive and a slave. I’m not sure where the line is drawn in the total power exchange part for sub, I think a slave gives over completely in TPE.
Yeah, he’s totally in a no win there with the lying, but her hang-up isn’t exactly kosher, either.
Over used words or overdoing it with an element distract me, too.

Oh yep, love the song. 🙂

Shari Delighted Read
Shari Delighted Read
3 years ago
Reply to  Sophia Rose

I felt the same way about using the word slave. It is a TPE and this isn’t what I really saw in their relationships. He lies, but she is also very judgmental based on her past. They both felt wrong. It wasn’t like he grew up rich, he worked hard to build his company. The kink is a little harsher than I like, but then I still wouldn’t call her a slave.

Melissa (Books and Things)

Hm.. don’t think this one is for me but I am awful picky with these kind of romance books. Glad this one was better than the first. Hope the trend continues.

Shari Delighted Read
Shari Delighted Read
3 years ago

Sorry it’s not for you. I have that problem with books sometimes.

Kimberly Caffeinated Reviewer

I like elements of BDSM in stories once in a while, but want it to be fresh and unique to each couple. Have you tried Jennifer Dawson’s Undone series? I think you would like that each book, couple is very different and hmm, maybe there was anal sex in one book..but it fit her/him.

Shari Delighted Read
Shari Delighted Read
3 years ago

Haven’t tried Undone yet. I might have to look into them as I am always looking for something new from time to time. Anal sex doesn’t bother me, it just seemed to be a prominent part of the BDSM in this series.