Series: Masters and Mercenaries #1
Genre: Erotic Romance, Contemporary Romance
Publisher: DLZ Entertainment LLC
Release Date: September 25th 2011
My Rating: 4 cups
Source: InkSlinger PR
Blurb (from Goodreads):
A routine mission…
Sean Taggart is hunting a deadly terrorist, and his only lead is the lovely Grace Hawthorne. She's the executive assistant for an employment agency Sean suspects is a front for illegal activities. To get the truth, he is going to have to get very close to Grace, a task he is all too eager to undertake when he discovers her deliciously submissive nature.
…turns into a dangerous seduction.
Soon, Grace Hawthorne is living a double life. By day, she is the widowed mother of two college-aged sons. By night, she submits to Sean's every dark desire. She's living out her wildest fantasies of pleasure—intimate acts of trust she's only read about. As passion engulfs her, a murderer strikes, and Grace learns that Sean has a deeply hidden agenda. Will Sean choose his mission and break her heart or be the Master of her dreams?
*Disclaimer: I received an ecopy of this book from Inkslinger PR in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my opinion or my rating of the book in any way
I've had the Masters & Mercenaries series on my TBR for about 3 years or so. I was curious about it, and then a few months ago I got to read a novella in this world, that appeared in a 1001 Dark Nights bundle, and I've been even more determined to read this series ever since.
The first thing that comes to mind about this book is that it's not just about BDSM. I loved that there's a thriller side to the story, a more complex story line than just simple erotic romance. I also love that the focus was on how to capture the bad guy more than on who the bad guy was. There is a question whether Grace is involved or not, but other than that we know who the target is. Or so I thought, because at the end my certainty was basically destroyed.
Grace was a heroine that at times I loved, and at times frustrated me. I loved her because she seemed like a strong woman, one that is trying to live her life after the loss of her husband. But she frustrated me because I wanted her to get mad at Sean. I kept waiting for that moment when she'd yell, kick, curse, fight, anything that showed her anger. I wanted her to punch him. He kind of deserved it, so I fear that I felt more outraged than she did.
At the same time, the entire situation has a different meaning if seen from Sean's POV. He was doing a job, a job that he had to do, so I can't really fault him for following orders. It's probably one of the things that hooked me on this series, the fact that it shows the struggle of the men and women who, at one point or another, decide to join the Army or to become police officers and go undercover, in whatever country, and who receive certain orders that maybe is in a really gray area of what the rest of the people see as "moral". So I struggled with accepting the D/s aspect of their relationship just because of that very reason, because he was being dishonest, but at the same time he was the most honest version of himself as he could, without betraying his mission. The one thing that I didn't like was that he had this moment in the beginning of their relationship when he expected Grace to know what a submissive should and shouldn't do, just based on the books she read, even though she had no prior experience with this culture before. I felt like he exaggerated a little there, because just because you read about something, that doesn't make you an expert on that subject or on the rules of the game, so to speak. But other than that, I liked Sean.
The ending was pretty great, actually. I like that it leaves the door open for future mischief and struggles, and it's not a case of "the big bad of the book" only. Sure, there might be books where that is the case, as we'll see in the future, but with a few of the books there's a link that goes beyond some characters that pop in to remind the reader that they're in the picture too and that they had their stories told in the previous books.
I'm super happy I got to read this book and I'm definitely going to keep reading this series.