Saturday, March 17, 2018

Book Review: Unconditional by Lexi Blake

Author: Lexi Blake
Series: Masters and Mercenaries #5.5
Audience: 18
Genre: Erotic Romance, BDSM
Publisher: DLZ Entertainment, LLC
Release Date: January 21st 2014
My Rating: 4 Cups
Source: Autorh
Blurb (from Goodreads):
A curious woman

Ashley Paxon understands responsibility. After her fiancĂ© left her alone and pregnant, she forged a new life for herself and her daughter. Moving to Dallas, she went back to school and found a job at a club called Sanctum. As one of the BDSM club’s waitresses, she watches the Doms and their submissives every night. She yearns to explore their lifestyle of discipline and power exchange, but she knows she wouldn’t belong.

A wounded man

Keith Langston believes in living in the moment. Haunted by the past, he moves from one casual relationship to the next and never looks back. But the moment he lays eyes on Ashley, something primal and possessive takes over. He can’t stop thinking about her and yet he knows he can’t offer her what she needs. Having her seems impossible until Sanctum’s owner, the mysterious Ian Taggart, makes him an offer he can’t refuse.

The perfect contract

Offered the chance to train Ashley and initiate her into the D/s lifestyle, Keith is delighted to accept. Under the guidelines of a carefully crafted contract, they lose themselves in the pleasures and intimacies of being Master and submissive. But when Ashley and her daughter are threatened, Keith realizes she needs much more than a part-time Dom. To protect her, he will have to break through the barriers of their contract and finally face the demons haunting his heart.
*Disclaimer: 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.

**Disclaimer: This book contains mature content. As a result, my review may contain references to content intended for mature audiences only.

This was probably the sweetest story I've read so far in this series.

Ashley is Jill Paxon's little sister and Keith is Ryan's best friend, from the Sanctum novella. I was very happy to see both Ashley and Keith get their HEA, for different reasons.

Ashley is the younger sister of Jill Paxon, she's a single mother just trying to get a degree and provide a better life for her sister. I liked Ashley from the first moment she was introduced, in Sanctum, and I liked her even more in this story. She's brave, strong, determined, and a good mother. Reading her story, I admired her a lot. She's one of those women I just love reading about, and if there's one character that needed to get a happy ending, she is the one.

Keith is the man that Jill was supposed to end up with when Ryan decided to release Jill from his care. I had a soft spot for Keith ever since learning what he did for Jill. He's a pretty stand up kind of guy, an honest, generous man that, as I learned in Unconditional, has a pretty sad past. Keith has a secret that he doesn't want anyone to know about, because he thinks it makes him seem like he's not the best guy out there. It's not anything dark or criminal, but it's something that he sees as damaging and like it almost taints him. I was really sad for him, and I am so happy Ashley helped him come to terms with what happened.

As always, Blake manages to show important layers in a relationship so complex as the one between a Dominant and his/her submissive. In this case we see Keith, the dominant, be vulnerable in a way we usually see reserved for subs. I liked that a lot, just like I loved seeing Ashley being the strong one during those scenes. Not that Keith was weak, but Ashley helped him see things from a very different perspective even while she, too, was hurting from some things that were going on in her life. I loved how Blake did that.

All in all, I loved this story a lot and I am so excited to see what happens next in the series, while also waiting for the next book in the series and possibly learning more about the so-called "lost boys".

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