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.

—                         —                         —

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!

* * * * *

xx

Reaper’s Fall by Joanna Wylde

Can I just start by saying that I can’t believe I never wrote this blog?! I must had read this book six times over now, but I just noticed it still sitting on my “Currently Reading” shelf on goodreads. Huh. Guess I get the joy of reviewing this and the next in the series this week then 🙂

Reaper’s Fall is the fifth book in the Reapers MC series by Joanna Wylde. And although there is some fierce competition because I read a lot of MC romance, the Reapers are by far my favourite world to jump into.

fall

He never meant to hurt her.

Levi “Painter” Brooks was nothing before he joined the Reapers motorcycle club. The day he patched in, they became his brothers and his life. All they asked in return was a strong arm and unconditional loyalty—a loyalty that’s tested when he’s caught and sentenced to prison for a crime committed on their behalf.

Melanie Tucker may have had a rough start, but along the way she’s learned to fight for her future. She’s escaped from hell and started a new life, yet every night she dreams of a biker whose touch she can’t forget. It all started out so innocently—just a series of letters to a lonely man in prison. Friendly. Harmless. Safe.

Now Painter Brooks is coming home… and Melanie’s about to learn that there’s no room for innocence in the Reapers MC.

—                   —                    —

Painter and Mel’s book starts way back in the same time period as the previous book, before Painter’s year long prison sentence. This means it also takes place before Silver Bastard. It is nice because you get to “see” Painter and Mel meet and start to fall for each other from their own perspectives, although nothing serious happens until after Painter goes through that year in a California prison. But if you are a regular reader of the series, you are taking a step back in terms of the timeline.

One thing that separates this book from others in the universe is timeline. Most of the Reapers books take place in a fairly compressed period of time, a few months at most. Reaper’s Fall stretches out over 6 years or so, beginning with their first meeting, then mostly skipping past Painter’s year in prison, to the eventual conception of Mel and Painter’s daughter several months later, and up until she is about four years old.

I enjoyed seeing their relationship grow and develop over a longer period of time. It makes it seem much more realistic than most romance novel relationships however I wish that the book was a little longer. The first two thirds of the novel are our love birds falling in love, but their reconciliation has lots of “two years later” gaps in time. Those gaps occurred too frequently towards the end of Reaper’s Fall, so I wish the author had added an extra 50 pages length to fill some in.

One of my favourite scenes was between Painter’s best friend Puck, and Mel. I love that Puck took Mel and her baby across the country to see Painter when he was in prison. I would have loved this scene to also be expanded because it humanizes both bikers from their normal badass personas and shows the sense of family that is at the core of the MC world. There are times Mel comes across as a raging bitch, and given her situation she has more than enough reasons to act that way, but her trip with Puck – a virtual unknown to her at the time – also shows how much love she has for both Painter and their daughter, and demonstrates that she wants them to have a great relationship.

This book had all the tension, romance, sex and passion that I have come to expect from Joanna Wylde. I am eagerly awaiting more additions to this universe and will write a review for Reaper’s Fire ASAP!

* * * * *

xx