Breaking Free (Shadowlands book #3)

The Shadowlands series should be read in order. The first book is called Club Shadowlands and the kindle version can be acquired for free from Amazon : )

breaking free

A sadistic husband left Beth scarred, inside and out. Only at the Shadowlands BDSM club does she feel like a woman. But her fears limit her to Doms who won’t overwhelm her–the very ones who cannot arouse her. The Master of the Shadowlands gives her an ultimatum: accept the Dom he assigns or lose her membership. The last thing Beth wants is a ruthless, powerful Dom, but that’s just what she gets.

Asked to take on a problem sub, Nolan sees the issue immediately–although truly submissive, the little redhead is too scared to relinquish control and her Doms have let her get away with it. That will change right now.

As Master Nolan takes Beth under command, compelling her submission, she’s terrified, but the experienced Dom brings her pleasure, not pain. His only demand is that she never lie to him. Under his capable hands, her body comes alive, and she begins to heal. As he pushes her limits, she learns to trust…and then to love. And she realizes he is beginning to care for her in return.

But now her cruel husband has found her, and Master Nolan discovers she’s been lying and lying and lying.

—                         —                         —

I love Master Nolan. He is my very favourite Dom so far, and that’s saying something because every Dom in the Shadowlands is hot, attentive and genuine!

Breaking Free is about Beth’s overcoming past abuse but I LOVE that this isn’t a simple hero-rescues-heroine story. Beth escaped her powerful and influential abusive husband before the book begins, going into a self-styled witness protection plan. She started and built up her own landscaping company to make a new life for herself – a far cry from the financially-privileged house wife role she played before.

Even more impressive, she joins a private BDSM club in this new life, trying to overcome the physical, emotional and sexual abuse to regain her control over intimacy and engage on an interpersonal level with another kinkster. Although this is something she is seriously struggling with, I am so thankful that the author didn’t paint Beth as a wilting flower, afraid to try again.

“She’s a good person. Honest, full of enthusiasm. But when she gets here, she turns into a mouse. She’s not just submissive; she’s terrified. She comes to the club because she requires more than the vanilla world can offer, but we’re not meeting those needs.”

Nolan studied the scene some more. Pretty obvious what the problem was. She was too scared to give up control, but she needed to give up control to get her needs as a submissive met.

“She wouldn’t be an easy sub to top.”

“Exactly.” Z tilted his head. “You up to the challenge?”

Sinclair, Cherise. Breaking Free (Masters of the Shadowlands Series Book 3) (p. 5). VanScoy Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Breaking Free is another short novel, like the first two in the Shadowlands series, but it is self-contained. I am super thankful that the author evolved into writing longer novels after this one, and also that she later wrote a novella that follows Nolan and Beth, updating up on their future life and relationship. I look forward to reviewing it soon!

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Dark Citadel (Shadowlands #2)

This book takes place a couple of months after the first book, Club Shadowlands. While not absolutely necessary, it would be best if these books were read in order.

dark citadel

After Kari breaks up with her date during Beginner’s Night at Club Shadowlands, she’s given the option to continue with an experienced dominant. Despite her steamy fantasies about BDSM, the inexperienced schoolteacher plans to simply observe. Yet under the unyielding hands of Master Dan, she not only participates, but gives him everything he asks for. There is nothing she can hide from him. Not her passion…or her love.

Publisher’s Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse, BDSM theme and content (including/not limited to bondage, caning, restraint, spanking, tethering) exhibitionism, voyeurism.

—                        —                        —

Well Kari is officially my hero! This goody two shoes teacher who is as sweet as can be signs up to take BDSM classes at the local kink club with her sorta boyfriend, and when he acts like a jerk, decides to leave him and carry on with the classes on her own!

That takes some guts. It is also where she meets the love of her life, “Master Dan”, an instructor in the class who agrees to be her partner. He guides her into the kink-filled world of Club Shadowlands. And he certainly doesn’t waste any time finding out what kinks innocent little Kari would like to try out.

Kari felt herself turn red.

“Well, she has fantasies.” He grinned. “Good. A gorgeous barbarian chasing you down and taking you against your will? Have you had that one?”

“I—” She bit her lower lip. Was she wearing an I-have-kinky-dreams brand or something?

“I would enjoy chasing you; I wonder if you’d enjoy being caught?”

Sinclair, Cherise. Dark Citadel (Masters of the Shadowlands Book 2) (Kindle Locations 275-278). VanScoy Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Master Dan has quite the hot temper but this is tempered by his strong protective instincts, instincts that are only exacerbated by his dominant nature and homicide detective career.

He also has a sense of humour, and an alarming ability to work his way back into Kari’s heart when he messes up.

She could just imagine, all her friends and family mourning around her grave. The tombstone would read Kari Wagner, Died of Sheer Stupidity… [on the other hand], It would be almost as bad to have her grave marker read Died of Terminal Bedroom Boredom.

Sinclair, Cherise. Dark Citadel (Masters of the Shadowlands Book 2) (Kindle Locations 190-192). VanScoy Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Dark Citadel is a short novel, about the same length as the first in the series. Thankfully characters repeatedly show up in later books as a part of the supporting cast, because I definitely did not get enough of Dan and Kari.

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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.

—                         —                         —

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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Alexandr’s Cherished Submissive by Ann Mayburn – a review

Alexandr and Jessica’s story is a two part story-line within the Submissive’s Wish series; this is the first part so the couple doesn’t get their happily ever after yet, but the author doesn’t leave you with a cliffhanger either. Part II is due out in September 2015. Thankfully, not a long wait.

alex 1

Here is the cover blurb for this book:

7 years before books I & II

From the moment Alexandr Novikov met the young auburn haired woman bartending at her uncle’s pub in Ireland, he’d been fascinated by her delicate beauty and fiery spirit. Unfortunately, he is in no position to offer her the kind of safe, normal life she deserves so he attempts to put her from his mind for her own good. Something easier said then done when a deal is struck between the Novikov Bratva and the Irish Cleary Gang, an arrangement that includes Alex and his men being on twenty-four hour bodyguard duty with the object of his forbidden desires.

Jessica Venture came to Dublin to spend some time bonding with her birth mother’s family, a connection she desperately needs after losing her adoptive parents within a year of each other back in the States. The last thing she expected was to fall in love with a handsome, mysterious, and sometimes scary man who was well known for his sexual appetite, but rejected her attempts to seduce him.

There are outside forces that will do anything to keep them apart, and Jessica will have to make a desperate choice that will change their lives forever.

Warning: There is light bondage, domestic discipline, spanking, and an F/F scene that is a voyeuristic Doms delight.

—                     —                    —

This is probably my favourite series at the moment, and has been for about a year. I was curious going in, because I knew that this book would be different from the others and I wasn’t sure how I would like that.

To start, ACS takes place several years before books 1 or 2, sort of like a prequel I suppose, and many of the life-changing, formational events that turn our beloved characters into the people they are haven’t happened yet. Plus, the reader is used to seeing them in a certain way and in a certain relationship so it is rather strange to see them with other woman. Thankfully though, I didn’t have any problems with the familiar characters and their undevelopment as it were.

Books 1 and 2 both feature female leads in their mid-twenties, several years older than Jessica’s 19, and their relationships are hot and heavy from the beginning. Alexandr’s Cherished Submissive is much more of a slow burn. Alex and Jessica are friends for months before they become intimate and their bedroom shannanigans feature much less dominance and submission than voyeurism and swinging, another departure from the other books in the series.

In case you haven’t picked up on it yet, this whole series is definitely 18+ erotic 😉

Now voyeurism and swinging aren’t really my thing, I’m more of a straight D/s person, so I didn’t enjoy the sex scenes in this book as much as I did in others, but they were still      H-O-T HOT!  And the plot development was great.

Jessica is young and innocent and sweet. Although a lot of people in her life have died, her birth parents, adopted parents and their parents, she is still such a kind-hearted person who sort of floats through life doing good deeds. She isn’t a pushover in any way, but she has great compassion and occasionally shames her bodyguards for not being more helpful to perfect strangers. Jess has a heart of gold.

Alexandr is pretty much what I expected from the first two books. He loves Jessica with everything in him and is desperate to protect her from the consequences of his fathers’ increasingly erratic plots, and the numerous enemies of both his Bratva and Jessica’s Uncle’s.

My favourite aspect to Mayburn’s writing is her ability to create such multi-dimensional characters and worlds, and to create multiple interesting secondary characters with depth and backgrounds without detracting from the leads. It was a treat to revisit many characters already introduced, including Dmitri, Maks, Ivan, Petrov, Catrin, and Nico, while also meeting Krom and Oleg. I cannot wait until Krom gets his own book, probably book 5 in the series.

The only section that didn’t quite hit it with me, is when Jessica discovers that Alex is a mega criminal and flips. At the time, her bodyguards lock her in the house to keep her from taking off before Alexandr can return from out of country the next morning. You never see her really lose it on them for physically holding her captive essentially, nor does she have a moment of doubt about what else they might do to her for Alex. Although they had come to love and respect her by then, their loyalty is to Alex and the Novikov Bratva first, and I expected her to be rather displeased for a period.

Plus, she totally caves to Alex upon his return. Granted, he makes a big gesture to show her how much she means to him, but I still thought she let him off too easily for keeping this a secret from her for something like 18 months!

The conclusion to Alexandr and Jessica’s story arc is coming soon:

Book 4

* * * * *

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Servicing The Target (Shadowlands #10)

I am a huge fan of author Cherise Sinclair. She is the most dependable author I know for churning out new books that I will love. I don’t usually write a review for a book the day that I read it, I like to let it percolate through my brain for a while first, but I read Servicing the Target today and I’m reviewing it too.

Because you know what??? It’s awesome!

Here’s from goodreads:

servicing the target

A discharged Army Ranger, Ben considers his job as a BDSM club security guard to be an excellent hobby. He’s never been tempted to join in. But everything changes when the notorious Mistress Anne inadvertently reveals the caring heart concealed beneath her Domme armor.

Now, he’s set his sights on the beautiful Shadowlands Mistress. Maybe he’d considered himself vanilla, but she can put her stiletto on his chest any day, any time. He’ll trust her delicate hands to hold his heart. And if she wants to whip his ass on the way to an outstanding climax, he’s just fine with that too.

Sure, he knows she likes “pretty boy” slaves. And he’s older. Craggy and rough. And six-five. Minor hindrances. The mission is a go.

—                     —                    —

This is the first time I’ve read a book that featured a female dominant and male submissive type relationship so I was curious as to whether I would like it or not. I figured it might not be my favourite book ever from Ms.Sinclair, but that I would still enjoy and I was right.

I do have many submissive aspects of my personality so I had a harder time relating to Anne and Ben than other characters in her series, but their story was still very enjoyable.

It was healthy I think, to read about about the other side of the relationship and one kickass-take-no-names woman. Anne was the perfect mixture of strong, confident, empowered female and femininity, with her long hair prettily styled and toes painted. Her grace and manners in uncomfortable situations, as well as her ability to handle stress was very inspiring.

I liked Ben and Anne’s balancing of their relationship and the apparently very different needs each had. This book allowed us to catch up with so many of the previous couples that it felt like a reunion. I hope that the author will go back and write a second book about so many of couples we’ve me, who are now in established relationships.

And Uzuri! That poor girl needs a happy ending forthwith.

* * * * *

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Favourite Author Series – Cherise Sinclair

This is the second in a series of three blogs discussing my favourite authors. They are written to help readers who may be looking for new books, and to thank my favourite authors for their efforts by publicizing their works.

(By the way, the spacing is messed up in this post and the next couple and I have no idea why. I tried to fix it like twenty times. Please forgive)

Cherise Sinclair is an erotica author who writes stories about relationships that incorporate aspects of bdsm. Many of her books feature heroines who are just discovering bdsm which makes them excellent for any reader who is also new to the sub-genre. I love how the characters in her books are dealing with real-life shit, but still get their happily ever afters, while always practicing safe, sane and consensual kinky play.

I’m going to start off by mentioning two books that are stand-alones, at least so far.

Starlight Rite is the only science-fiction novel written by the author. It takes place on a planet that believes in slavery, including sexual servitude. They are a very sexy race, considering Terrans like us to be rather puritanical. It was, admittedly, one of my least favourite books from this author, but I don’t like sci-fi, so this could be way more your thing than mine. A lot of other fans are begging for a sequel.

starlite

The other stand-alone by Ms. Sinclair is The Dom’s Dungeon. It follows a recent transplant to Seattle, Mackenzie, and her beau, Alex.

I absolutely love this book and really wish there was a sequel in the works. In a recent poll on her facebook page, requests for books about Dom’s Dungeon secondary characters Steel and Drake topped the poll. Hopefully that means we get to travel back to Chains soon!

dom's dungeon

Now, the main series this author writes is called Club Shadowlands, also the title of the first book in it. There are currently ten in the series, and each provides updates on some of the past couples, so you see ‘old friends’ get married and start having babies, theirs ups as well as their downs.

1-6

This is my favourite series that Sinclair writes, and despite a ‘mind-reader’ in the first novel, it’s entirely contemporary from then on out. Most of the men and some of the women are current or former military/LEOs and ousting the bad guy to rescue the girl is a common theme.

I love these types of books, and the author does a great job of making each one seem different. One of the ways she does this is by exploring different relationship styles in some books. Book 6 is about a couple who enter a master-slave relationship, book 7 features a male sadist, 8 is a menage relationship (M-f-M), and the newest novel (#10) features her first female dominant-male submissive relationship.

Book 1

Book 1

Book 10, releasing July 28, 2015

Book 10, releasing July 28, 2015

Club Shadowlands (book #1) is actually available as a free ebook on amazon. The author changed the pricing sometime after the fifth book in the series came out in the hopes it would encourage readers unfamiliar with the genre to try a new book. See what a sweetie she is?! Makes it a great way to try out the author and see if you like her style.

The second series that Ms.Sinclair writes is called the Wild Hunt series. This is a paranormal romance, featuring the Daonain, semi-human shapeshifters who descend from the fey, who lived on Earth before people. These books have fewer elements of bdsm than the Club Shadowlands series and no public play. In my opinion though, they are kinkier because they feature menage relationships of two men and one woman. There is no direct action between the men but they do have playtime with the woman together.

Book 1 is about were-cats and book 2 is about were-wolves (just not the monster full-moon kind). Big Wolf on Campus this is not.

Book 1

Book 1

Book 2

Book 2

Book 3 is currently a WIP and will likely be available early 2016. It features werebears.

The final series (at the moment) is another contemporary, no-magic world set in Northern California and San Fran. It is the most confusing to explain.

Essentially, it began as two series, Mountain Masters (written exclusively by Cherise Sinclair) and Dark Haven (a series written by several authors, though predominantly by Sinclair at this point). Personally, I only liked the novels and novellas penned by Sinclair, I wouldn’t recommend the parts written by other authors. You don’t miss anything pertinent to the series by skipping them either.

In the early days, characters occasionally wandered through both series but at this point there have been cross-overs so often (virtually every full-length novel and some novellas) that it is considered one giant series, just enough to drive those unfamiliar with the works crazy while they figure out what order to read them in.

Here is what I would suggest.

 #1 Master of the Mountain

#1.5 Doms of Dark Haven 1 (three novellas published in one edition)

or

Simon Says Mine (Sinclair’s novella is being republished on its own)

#2 Master of the Abyss

#2.5 Doms of Dark Haven 2: western night

#3 My Liege of Dark Haven

#4 Edge of the Enforcer

#5 Master of Freedom

The author has declared her intention to consider the series, but as of yet, nothing has been announced officially. Have I confused you yet?

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I don’t have a favourite book by Cherise Sinclair. But I love that her writing is laugh-out-loud funny at times. Here are a couple of the best quotes.

‘“Those [gold armbands] identify the Shadowlands Masters.”

“And that’s different from a dom how?”

Sally rested her tray on her hip and thought for a second. “Okay, you know how some doms are just a little dominating like maybe a one-scoop ice cream, and others have a lot more—maybe two scoops of domination?”

Gabi nodded.

“Well, with the Masters, think supersized hot fudge sundae.” Sally giggled. “And that’s only the domination part. Add in beaucoup experience and control and all that. They’re voted Master status by the members, and it’s sure not a popularity contest.”’

– Make Me Sir, by Cherise Sinclair

‘“Rat bastard,” she huffed. She knelt, and just when he thought she’d lost her touch, she glanced up at him and said loudly, “I can’t believe that out of one hundred thousand sperm, you were the fastest.”’

– Make Me Sir, by Cherise Sinclair

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