Master of Solitude

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

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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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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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Master of the Abyss

Master of the Abyss is the second book in the Mountain Masters / Dark Haven bdsm series by Cherise Sinclair.

On the mountain, the watcher seeks out evil women. And then they die.

Two years ago, when Jake Hunt uncollared his slave, she committed suicide. Guilt-ridden, he will commit to a woman for one night only, devoting his energy to a mountain lodge that caters to a BDSM crowd.

Kallie Masterson is tough. Unwanted as a child, she worked hard to become a wilderness guide. She’s proud of who she is, and hurt that Jake frowns on her for acting like a man.

After rescuing the macho guide from a bar fight, Jake is stunned that the ugly men’s clothing hides a warm, responsive woman. A submissive woman. When guide business brings her to the lodge on BDSM night, and she is obviously aroused by the play, Jake takes the little sub right into his world of pain and pleasure. He warns her: one-night-only. But she responds so beautifully–so joyously–under his command, that one night soon becomes two, then three…

Then a missing hiker reminds Jake of his past lover, and he realizes he’s become too involved. He pulls back.

Meanwhile, the watcher on the mountain has rendered his verdict: Kallie Masterson is evil. The sentence: Death.

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Jake was introduced in the first book about his brother. And he is just as hot as I thought he would be! Kallie is not at all the type of woman that Jake thought he was looking for but it turns out that they bring out the best in each other. He gives her the confidence to seek out the dom-sub relationship that had been missing in her love life while she in turn pulls no punches in making Jake face the BS he had been telling himself since his old girlfriend’s death.

Most of this book takes place in Yosemite National Park, so it is a fun “country romance” set in a beautiful landscape. Jake and Kallie are both working as guides, so the secondary characters tend to rotate in and out of the book, without taking too much focus away from the primary characters. It is nice that the Bear Flat community is expanded upon a little bit, with the introduction of some of the other residents, including Kallie’s three cousins, whom she lives with (and who all have the potential to be hot future heroes at some point!).

I have noticed that some other reviewers seemed to be a little annoyed by Kallie’s particular hang-up. After essentially being orphaned and dumped by her stepfather when he remarried, she bounced from family member to family member before ending up with her widowed uncle and three boy cousins. Afraid that she would lose this home too, and not understanding what she had done to be so unlovable in the past, she was a teenager determined to fit in with the boys and never rock the boat. Because of this history, Kallie always doubts her own self-worth and puts her needs last. She has major trust issues and doesn’t believe that she can ever count on another person long-term.

I had no problem with Kallie’s hangups and didn’t feel like they over-powered the book. It flowed well for me and I felt that it was balanced between the two main characters. To some extent, any positive example of a D/s relationship is going to be more focused on the submissive’s needs, not because the Dom doesn’t have them or is less important, but because the relationship is focused on the one who is giving up power in the exchange.

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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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How kinky are you?

A couple of years ago I discovered this bdsm test online that seems on the up and up. It is found at bdsmtest.org and I think it started out as a research paper of some kind, seeking data. It certainly isn’t your garden variety buzzfeed test!

Check it out here.

So I just re-took the quiz. I don’t know what my results from last time were, but I have certainly grown as an individual, so I was curious what they would be now.

I like that the test responds to your choices and interests. If you indicate that you would like to learn more or reach out to someone in the lifestyle, it provides options for you to do that. I also provided my email address in case they create more tests of this nature, since I would like to participate in them.

To date, more than 100, 000 participants have been involved! It gives you great results based on this data to show how you answered in comparison to other respondents based on gender and age.

So here are my results! **bites nails, hopes not to be judged**  What are yours?

== Results from bdsmtest.org ==
98% Rope bunny
97% Submissive
75% Experimentalist
75% Brat
74% Masochist
48% Girl/Boy
45% Voyeur
45% Primal (Prey)
42% Slave
27% Ageplayer
27% Exhibitionist
22% Vanilla
11% Pet
11% Degradee
6% Daddy/Mommy
5% Sadist
5% Non-monogamist
4% Switch
3% Rigger
1% Dominant
1% Primal (Hunter)
1% Master/Mistress
1% Brat tamer
0% Degrader
0% Owner

If that gets you hot and steamy, some of the kinkiest books I have reviewed are located here:

His Witness by Vanessa Waltz – A review

Alexandr’s Cherished Submissive by Ann Mayburn – a review

Twist Me by Anna Zaires – book review

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