Series: Masters and Mercenaries #4.5, Shades of Naughty
Genre: Erotic Romance, Contemporary Romance
Publisher: DLZ Entertainment, LLC
Release Date: November 14th 2016
My Rating: 4 Cups
Blurb (from Goodreads):
A contract broken…*Dislaimer: I received an e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or the content of my review in any way.
Ryan Church and Jill Paxon enjoyed their life as Master and submissive until the day Ryan's entire world crumbled. No longer able to fulfill his end of the contract, Ryan did what he thought was best for Jill. He let her go.
An unexpected reunion…
Eighteen months later, Ryan is working for Ian Taggart as the Dom in Residence at the elite BDSM club Sanctum when his former submissive walks through the door looking for a job. Jill has changed, but his desire for her is still insatiable. Jill, shattered by his past rejection, can't trust Ryan, but she needs the job. Back in the community where she once felt safe and secure, she longs for the life she lost and the man she loved.
A last chance for love…
Ryan is presented with an opportunity to restore his wealth and name, but it could cost him his last chance at rebuilding a life with the woman he loves. When the secrets Jill has carefully hidden from Ryan are exposed, a terrible twist of fate might take her out of his life forever.
A Masters and Mercenaries Novella by Lexi Blake
Sanctum is not only a story about second chances, but also a story about how important communication and honesty are in both vanilla and D/s relationships.
Ryan is a guy who has had a bit of bad luck in his life, and he's the type of guy that can't do things half-way. His way of dealing with things falling apart around him is to make sure that, even though it isn't his fault, it ALL falls apart, even the thing he cares about the most. Which doesn't really make sense in the beginning, but then I realized that he has a pretty unique interpretation of what it means to be a Dom and a sub.
Jill gave me the impression of a woman who tried really hard to keep the man she loved next to her, even hide her own personality in order to do that. Which is part of the reason why, ultimately, their relationship would have ended no matter what. And I loved the fact that Ryan addresses that and shares his feelings about her behavior during their first time together.
Ryan and Jill both made mistakes in their relationship, and I like that the story showed that clearly and pretty brutally. Like I said, Ryan is a guy that has a pretty unique view of what being a Dom is, and it certainly is the main reason why ultimately his relationship with Jill ends. At the same time though, Jill also makes some mistakes based on her past and that gives her a strange interpretation of what a sub should be like, and instead of being completely honest she gives Ryan the best version of herself without any of the bad moments. It's basically a painful experience to see being talked about by both characters, but it's also really important and eye-opening. It's rare that I get to read about how the BDSM contract works in relation to the simple human interactions, and I found it fascinating. Blake did a really great job at showing how both Ryan and Jillian broke that contract by doing little things, the things most common in traditional, vanilla relationships - hiding stuff, not being honest, not saying what they truly wanted and so on.
At the same time, maybe also because of my background in psychology, I was fascinated by the way Blake showed how one action can be viewed differently by different people, so much so that they end up being seen as two opposite actions. And it wasn't necessarily due to the difference between the male and the female minds, but more because of the misinterpretation of the roles these two people had in their relationship. And I liked the fact that this was talked about, and Blake did a great job addressing that.
All in all, this was a short, but really complex story, that is a great addition to the series and definitely a nice way to take a break from the usual strong, fast pace full of danger at any turn.