Master of Solitude

Master of Solitude is the eighth book in Mountain Masters / Doms of Dark Haven series by Cherise Sinclair.

solitude

Since childhood, Mallory McCabe has dreamed of falling in love with a hero. And then one saves her life. He’s honest…and blunt. Deadly, but filled with pain. Overpowering, yet ever so gentle with her. Oh yes, she’s found her hero. Taking him to her bed is simply…right. As is losing her heart.

How could she have known he’d want nothing more to do with her?

His indifference hurts. She vows to forget him…then he buys the land next to hers.

Released early from prison, all Sawyer Ware wants is to put his life back together. His police detective brother houses him while he makes plans. But when a violent gang targets his brother, Sawyer puts his future on hold. He’ll have to take on the gang first. After a decade as a Navy SEAL, he won’t–can’t–walk away if someone he loves is threatened.

His mission is likely to prove bloody. He sure can’t afford to get involved with a woman, especially his captivating neighbour. He hungers to be near her, to enjoy her clear laugh, her easy friendship, and the peace she brings wherever she goes. A relationship is absolutely out of the question.

Why won’t his heart obey orders?

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Master of Solitude is the newest book out by hot erotica and bdsm author Cherise Sinclair. It came out last week and I read it in 24 hours, per usual.

Mal is the most patient woman and forgiving known to man, I swear! It is genuinely nice to see that she doesn’t have huge hangups that she has to get over in the story – finally, a heroine who isn’t severely traumatized by her past, and she is a real sweetheart. Definitely not a pushover, but she forgives Sawyer when I would have been hitting him upside the head with my work belt if I were in her circumstances.

Sawyer has his head completely up his ass for the beginning of the book. He has the complete wrong idea about Mallory due to a couple of misunderstandings, and is determined to keep her at a distance. Due to an abusive childhood, a career in the Seals, and a stint in prison, he doesn’t expect much of other people and looks for alternative motives behind Mallory’s initial welcome and neighbourly friendliness.

One point that is notable about this book is that it has a much slower pace to the sex-capades than a regular reader of Ms. Sinclair might expect. The couple start off as neighbours and client/contractor, before developing into friends and then lovers, and finally into serious, romantic I-like-you-you-like-me relationship status. I found this to be enjoyable and a nice departure after recently re-reading the whole series, but it was unexpected.

I also enjoyed the fact that Morgan Masterson received so much attention in this novel as a single secondary character. It definitely points to the fact he will probably have a book at some point, which is awesome since I’ve been hoping for a while that he would!

Unfortunately, there were a few plot-holes in Master of Solitude. For one, the Aryan Hammers, a gang that has been terrorizing Bear Flat since the previous book, is again wrecking havoc. It is full-on war between the cops / Vigilante Sawyer and the gang. Sawyer keeps a running tally of how many have been arrested throughout the story, noting that their ranks are dwindling and hoping that when they run out of members, the crew will give up on Bear Flat and retreat back to LA.

But his logic is fallacious. Most of the members wouldn’t have been held without bail for the crimes they were arrested committing, so in reality their numbers wouldn’t have really declined.

Finally, there was a lot of talk about the third Ware brother, Hector, moving down to the area from Idaho. He moves over the course of the book and the characters have interactions with him, but it always occurs “off-page”. While technically not a plot-hole, this irked me.

Ms. Sinclair is an exceptional author and one of my favourites to one-click, but the last two books in this series have been “off” for me. A part of this book teases that Sir Ethan from Club Dark Haven is likely the next in the series to get a book, but I hope that the author takes a break for awhile. At the end of the day, there are 8 books in this series and 12 in her Shadowlands series … it is hard to keep a world fresh after so many stories! I hope that she takes a break from them to focus on her kinky romance-fantasy shifter stories (The Wild Hunt) and expands the worlds for both of her standalone books.

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Master of Freedom

Master of Freedom is the seventh book in the Mountain Masters / Doms of Dark Haven series by Cherise Sinclair.

atticus

Detective Atticus Ware gave up his beloved Idaho to start again in the mountains of California, close to his imprisoned brother. He has a rewarding job and friends, but the experienced Dominant wants more than the Do-Me submissives who flock around him. He needs a woman who will give her heart as well as her body.

Virginia, “Gin,” is damn good at her challenging career as a prison psychologist. However, one problem inmate is mired in misery and unable to overcome his guilt at causing a friend’s death.
To clear her mind, she joins a friend’s kinky backpacking excursion, planning to hide in her tent during the evening BDSM pursuits. But Atticus lures her into the activities. She’s read about BDSM, but submission under the hands of a powerful Dom is beyond anything she’d imagined. She doesn’t trust men, doesn’t want a relationship, and yet…wants more from him.

Finally, Atticus has found the woman he wants in his life. In his bed. In his cuffs. But she’s not only his brother’s therapist, but also works in a prison. How can he tolerate his woman walking into danger every single blasted day?

Gin knows she has no future with Atticus Ware, but still, hope is rising in her heart.

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Master of Freedom is a solid addition to the Mountain Masters series, but it isn’t one of my favourites. The plot-line felt like it was mostly recycled from some of the previous novels and I really didn’t like the intrusion of LA gangs into my picturesque escape in the Yosemite Mountains. Hopefully they will be all heading out of town now that half the gang has been arrested.

The other thing that prevented me from falling in love with this book was the heroine Gin. She is pretty, sweet and good-hearted, but annoying as hell at some points. At the beginning of the story, she doesn’t even believe bdsm is something that happens in real life and this type of naivety drives me up the wall, especially since she is supposed to be a licensed shrink, with experience working in a family practice and is currently working in a state prison. She is a well-educated, independent woman who has lived all over the United States. One would think that alternative lifestyles and romantic partnerships is something she would have been exposed to, despite her Bible Belt upbringing.

I did love the introduction of Sawyer Ware, the hero’s brother who is incarcerated in the state prison I mentioned above. Having an “outlaw” supporting character is unique to this author and I loved that it made our band of LEO/military heroes a little more well rounded.

Master of Freedom is a good edition to the series, and it introduces the concept of suspension bondage into this kinky world we all love so much on this blog. I enjoyed it but I don’t recommend it as highly as the others in the series.

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Master of the Dark Side

Master of the Dark Side is the fourth book in the Mountain Masters / Doms of Dark Haven series by Cherise Sinclair. It is a novella that was originally published in an anthology.

virgil

Real Doms terrify her, so Summer plays with lightweights only. And only in the safety of her club, Dark Haven. But on Western Night, the tough cop who wins her in a sub-roping game is as powerful as they come.

Virgil’s first taste of BDSM was disturbingly enticing. Hoping to burn out his interest, he visits an infamous San Francisco club, where he wins himself the prettiest little submissive he’s ever seen. He’s in a quandary. A man shouldn’t render a woman helpless, let alone spank her ass. But the nervous little submissive clearly loves being in his ropes. Her need to be controlled is as powerful as his need to control. So he indulges himself, and her.

That one night could be the beginning, but instead it’s the end. She won’t play outside the club and he lives too far to visit often. He’ll just have to find a way to forget her…or get her in his ropes to stay.

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Master of the Dark Side is the second novella in this series so far. Normally I don’t like novellas because I feel like too much of the story is missing, and the relationship doesn’t progress as naturally as it should because of the contracted timeline, but I have yet to dislike any book by Cherise Sinclair! She is that good.

My favourite thing about this story is that the dominant, Virgil, is completely new and his submissive Summer, while not exactly an expert, has been in the scene for a couple of years. Most of the D/s stories I come across feature a female submissive who is obnoxiously clueless about the lifestyle, many even believing that it is something imagined by romance authors to sell book, rather than a practice that actually happens in real life.

*face palm*

In the modern world of high-speed internet and sky-high erotica sales, I find it difficult to believe that most people are THAT naive.

So it is completely refreshing to watch as Virgil explores his dominant side, discover what he is comfortable with, and learns the art of bdsm. Virgil is a cop with strong protective instincts, especially for women, and he has to reconcile those instincts with his need to dominate, to control, to push.

Summer had a traumatic and abusive “scene” in Simon Says Mine when a shoddy Dom did not respect her safeword and literally beat her bloody. Thankfully she was rescued by Simon and Rona, but she hasn’t recovered emotionally from the scars. This creates a minefield for Virgil to navigate in their relationship, especially since bdsm scenes require trust and vulnerability – both physical and emotional.

I loved this short story and am glad that the author writes updates on previous couples into all her books, so we will get to see some more from Virgil and Summer sometime soon!

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Edge of the Enforcer

This is the sixth book in the Mountain Masters / Doms of Dark Haven series by Cherise Sinclair.edge

One sadist. One submissive.
One extraordinary love.

WELCOME TO DARK HAVEN
AND MAY ALL YOUR DARKEST WISHES COME TRUE

Fleeing false murder charges, Lindsey lands in San Francisco. There she builds a satisfying life until, in the notorious Dark Haven BDSM club, she encounters deVries. Moth, meet flame.

A security specialist and occasional mercenary, deVries needs an adorable submissive like a knife to the gut. Hell, she’s not even a masochist. But here she is, all big brown eyes and sweet body and sassy mouth. Loyal. Tough-minded. Honest.

Or maybe not, considering her ID is forged. If she thinks to lie to him, she’ll learn better. He’s the Enforcer of Dark Haven—his discipline is absolute, his punishments harsh, and his heart untouched…until now.

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Ok, so Edge of the Enforcer is only the second book I’ve ever read where the hero is a sadist. I was slightly nervous about how I would like this hero who has always set my heart racing in the past (and not always in a good way) but I have read so many Cherise Sinclair books before that I trust her completely at this point. So that was reassuring and I was excited to jump back into the Mountain Masters/ Dark Haven world.

And I loved it!

Lindsey is so sweet and sassy and resilient. She is the perfect blend of heroic gumption and vulnerability and she and deVries are honestly a match made in heaven. I just finished reading this story a few days ago and I already am ready to start it all over again.

deVries (I refuse to call him Zander) is definitely the strong and silent type. He has a lot of hangups about his ex-wife that he lays on Lindsey at times, but he works through those issues over the course of the story. He doesn’t come across as sweet as some of the previous doms Sinclair has written, but I like this extra edge of danger to him. It fits his personality and mannerisms. And I always like to push the envelope of a hero / anti-hero.

Edge of the Enforcer introduces a few new kinks to me, particularly edge play (or knife play). While deVries is a sadist, Lindsey is NOT a masochist and it takes her a little bit to trust that he will stop at her limits, even though his go much further. It ups the intensity level in their play, but deVries always puts her needs and aftercare first.

I will say to any reader that is worried about the level of pain or “squickyness” in the book, you shouldn’t need to worry. If you liked other things I have recommended, you should also like this book. Ms. Sinclair always keeps safe, sane and consensual at the forefront of her scenes so everything is consensual, obviously, and you know the book will end happily ever after.

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My Liege of Dark Haven

My Liege is the fifth book in the Dark Haven / Mountain Masters series by Cherise Sinclair. This is an erotic romance series that is set in a bdsm club.

liege

Threatened by university cutbacks, Professor Abigail Bern’s only hope is to publish a provocative research paper–soon. Planning to covertly observe behaviour in the notorious Dark Haven BDSM club, she takes a receptionist job. When the owner calls upon her to assist in a demonstration, she’s appalled. Then fascinated. Under the unyielding hands of the master known as my Liege, she discovers a need to be more than an observer.

His late wife had been the center of his life, and Xavier Leduc wants no other. But when his new receptionist does her utmost to keep an emotional distance from him, he’s intrigued and digs deeper. She’s adorable. Intriguingly intelligent, beautifully submissive, sweetly vulnerable. He soon realizes her defenses are keeping her on the fringe of her sexuality–and her life. As he draws her into fuller participation, she unconsciously does the same for him. She begins to fill his world.

Ever since the night she met my Liege Xavier, Abby has questioned everything she believes about herself. She’s falling for the stern owner of Dark Haven and thinks he’s beginning to care for her…until the day he learns why she’s in his club.

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Xavier is the owner of the BDSM club Dark Haven, which is set in San Francisco. He is basically the most alpha of all the alpha Doms who frequent the establishment and he needs all of that commanding presence to dominate Abby.

While very sweet and well-meaning, Abigail avoids conflict and any emotional outbursts at all costs, to the point that she has trouble even identifying her feelings during stressful or painful moments. As a result, she purposely wanders mentally during emotional bdsm scenes – and they are all emotional – trying to maintain the distance that is comfortable to her. This makes it hard for a Dom to keep control of the scene but Xavier is a master. Pun intended.

Abigail is exceedingly book-smart, but not very in tune with herself. After advancing ahead of classmates so many times growing up – she earns a doctorate by the time most people her age are finishing an undergrad – she is a little socially awkward, especially in romantic relationships.

Abby had no real intentions of ever joining into the play at Dark Haven. As far as she was concerned, she was attending the club to observe for research purposes, and to hopefully discover enough about the practices of D/s interactions to decide whether it was something she could attempt when her ex Nathan returned from a summer abroad. Her very first night there, Xavier blows this plan up, and he never stops drawing her into the scene after that.

Reading the chapters where Abby’s intention to write a published paper based on her observations at Dark Haven becomes known to her fellow kinksters – plus the fallout of this – are painful.

Reading from Abby’s POV, she feels so awkward and ashamed of herself and is afraid that she will lose Xavier and all of her new friends as a result. She feels misunderstood, and a little hurt that everyone immediately thinks the worst of her – that she is a spy on the inside determined to out them in public. Essentially, she needs to make restitution to Xavier but also to the general club membership in order to earn their forgiveness and trust back.

And this is very difficult and painful to do.

I won’t ruin the scene, because it is definitely something to read for yourself, but Abby’s punishment is very public within the club and something that I personally would dread as much as she does. It does make for very compelling reading though : )

I loved My Liege of Dark Haven just as much as I have loved the other books in this series and am excited to consider re-reading each as we get closer to the end of May and the release of the latest!

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Simon Says Mine

Simon Says Mine is a novella by Cherise Sinclair, and it is a part of the Dark Haven/Mountain Masters series. I originally read this as part of an anthology by three different authors, however Sinclair’s was the only story I liked of the three so I was ecstatic when it was re-released on its own. It is considered to be book 1.5 in this series.

simon

With an empty nest and divorce in hand, Rona decides it’s time to explore the fantasies that nourished her through a long, tedious marriage to a man whose idea of outrageous sex was leaving the lights on. At the top of her fantasy list is touring Dark Haven, the BDSM club, but she isn’t prepared for the effect of a powerful Dom. When Master Simon takes control and introduces her to toys and sensations she’s never felt before, she realizes he could fulfill every fantasy on her list all by himself. But she’s vowed to never get trapped in a relationship again.

One of the most popular Doms in Dark Haven, Master Simon has had his fill of eager, shallow, young subs. Rona is older, intelligent, independent…and sweetly submissive. After an evening of intense pleasure and despite her obvious attraction, she refuses to see him again. He needs a way to change her mind. She’s not the first sub he’s taken on a journey of exploration, but he’s beginning to think she might be the last.

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I liked Simon and Rona. Even though this story was considerably shorter than the first in the series – it is a novella after all – I felt like we still got to know the characters just as well. Jake, Logan and Rebecca all turned up with cameos.

Simon and Rona are an older couple for a romance novel. Rona is in her late thirties and Simon in his forties. Both are divorced parents of college-aged boys who are looking for kinky lovin’. Simon likes to call Rona “lass” because her name is Scottish and it makes me swoon every time he does it. His strong and polite attitude mix with a ton of patience and genuine interest in other people.

Rona is a very straight-forward women who isn’t out to play games. She is a professional hospital administrator with a history working as a nurse and is usually game to take charge of a situation and care for other people. She has read lots of bdsm-themed novels but isn’t prepared for the impact of a true Dom’s stare … or frown .. or command … in real life. Simon sets her heart and mind at war with one another. She was determined to capture the youthful experiences she lost by marrying and having children young, and along comes this handsome, kinky, sweet man intent on sweeping her off her feet!

I don’t want to imply that Simon isn’t a powerful dom by calling him sweet, but he really is! He’s the guy who you know is always going to be there to support you, even if you’ve been kinda a jerk. He is going to do the right thing. He is responsible and has his head on straight and the older I get, the more attractive those qualities become. One of my pet peeves is reading about grown-ass characters who behave like teenagers and thankfully, that isn’t a problem in this book!

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Master of the Mountain

Do you re-read books? It seems like there are some people who do it religiously (my hand is waving high in the air right now) and others who very rarely do it. I’ve mentioned this before on my blog, but the characters in my favourite books are like best friends to me and re-visiting those characters is literally like visiting an old friend who I don’t get to see very often. Sometimes I just get the feeling to go back to my favourites rather than reading new books, especially if I am going through a rough patch, so ‘m excited to share some of my old favourite on my blog over the next few weeks.

Master of the Mountain is the first book in the Mountain Masters / Dark Haven series by Cherise Sinclair. The series is order can be kind of confusing because it was originally two separate series that merged into one. I’ll try to post reviews in order 🙂

mountain

When Rebecca’s lover talks her into a mountain lodge vacation with his swing club, she soon learns she’s not cut out for playing musical beds. But with her boyfriend “entertaining” in their cabin, she has nowhere to sleep. Logan, the lodge owner, finds her freezing on the porch. After hauling her inside, he warms her in his own bed, and there the experienced Dominant discovers that Rebecca might not be a swinger…but she is definitely a submissive.

Rebecca knows that no one can love her plump, scarred body. But, to her surprise, Logan disagrees and is quite happy to show her just how much he enjoys her curves. Under his skilled hands, Rebecca loses not only her inhibitions, but also her heart.

Damaged from the war, Logan considers himself too dangerous to be around the enticing little sub. He sends her away for her own safety, not realizing she thinks she’s been rejected because of her size. When Logan’s mountains echo with her voice long after she’s gone, he knows she’s left behind part of herself—and taken his heart. But when he arrives in the city to reclaim her, Rebecca’s phone has been disconnected and her apartment is empty…

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I love the atmosphere in Master of the Mountain! Logan and his brother Jake are both super sexy, rough and tough manly-men doms who run a lodge in the mountains. Ms. Sinclair does a great job of enticing the reader into the lifestyle both of bdsm and of lodge life. The heroine Becca is a city girl through and through at the start, but not very happy with her relationship, or she discovers, her professional citified life. She is an artist at heart and falls just as much in love with the rugged outdoors as she does the man who shows it to her.

I’m a country-girl at heart and this book definitely brought out my longing to move from my small-town neighbourhood to the real countryside. I would love to live in a forest, in a village so small and remote that everyone knows everyone. At the very least, I am looking up cabin rentals for a vacation this summer, and dreaming of making it a permanent move!

So Logan, and incidentally his brother Jake as well, both are my own personal kryptonite and this is one of those books where I can truly say that I would love to take the place of the main character.

Master of the Mountain is filled with typical Cherise Sinclair hits, from a female character who is new to the scene, her blossoming sexuality and body confidence, and ridiculously hot guys who are honourable and fun. It is a light read that introduces a brand new cast of characters and one of my favourite series to go back and re-visit every couple of years.

Warning: The group Becca is visiting the lodge with are swingers and she quickly discovers that she does not want to participate and that her relationship with her boyfriend – already on the edge – is not going to survive the weekend. Considering he is swinging and pressuring her to as well, I don’t consider anything Becca and Logan do to be cheating but if this is a serious trigger for you, tread carefully.

Highly recommended!

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