Assumed Identity by Lila Munro is the well-written story of a woman’s journey towards discovering her true self. A modern-day woman just like you or I, Julie Stevens has lived as straight and vanilla as they come. Yet even as she tells herself she prefers life this way, it isn’t easy to live the lie when she has two sexually eccentric best friends.
First, her long-time female friend Shelby refuses to grow up and Julie finds herself still acting as caregiver more often than not. Living out her own insecurities as a misguided bi-sexual Domme, Shelby is on a one-way street to disaster. And Julie carries this burden of caring for her childhood friend along with her own anxieties about her early home life, the poverty of her upbringing and her drug-addicted sister who refuses her help.
Much healthier for Julie is her other best friend Blake, a gay man in the role of slave to his deliciously sexy Master Dante. Julie is drawn to Dante’s commanding presence like a moth to a flame (our first indication she’s a submissive perhaps?) but given her boring vanilla lifestyle, she is completely unwilling at first to explore these feelings. However it’s these two men who serve as Julie’s rock through her emotional journey. My favorite characters in the book, I secretly wanted Julie to become their third. Their compassionate care for her so awed me – I wanted a friend just like them in my own life.
Julie gets into a couple of situations that begin to reveal her submissive nature. Without a guide, she nearly frightens herself entirely from the lifestyle she’s seeking to explore. After one drunken, wild evening out with Shelby, Julie’s discovery not only scares her but it excites her. Finding a way to explore this newly discovered side of herself though means she needs to find the right man to teach her. Thankfully Blake and Dante come to her rescue and set her on a good path.
Armed with a masque to protect her identity (and the Renaissance costume the party calls for), Julie is drawn fully into the lifestyle by the deliciously handsome Master Mason. He is everything Julie imagines a Dom should be - an experienced, psychological Dom - who takes Julie places she never knew was possible. Readers will fall in love with Mason, with such character balance in that he is a powerful Dom while being a compassionate lover. A –yummy- mazing.
I said this book was a journey of self-discovery. To that side, Julie comes to learn the submissive lifestyle doesn’t weaken her but rather givers her balance to her life. She is able to carry her burdens lightly, and when her resolve is challenged, she responds to the crisis with love and trust. I enjoyed Julie’s story (and am so looking forward to the sequel). It was an extremely emotional read though I found it uplifting rather than draining, beautiful rather than tiresome.
“Are you wet, angel?” Mason asked, running one hand down the middle of her back. Her intake of breath told him she was and that she didn’t want to admit it. “Answer me. Now.”
“Yes,” she whispered over a whimper.
Covering her body with his, Mason leaned over her and gently took her by her hair. “Tell me what you need, angel.”
Silence. Sniffling. Muffled moans.
“Julie. Tell. Me. What. You. Need.”
“Sex.” Her voice was barely audible.
“No. That’s what you think I want. I know what I want. You’re to free your mind of thoughts concerning what you think I want.” Mason pushed back up and began moving one hand over her back in a soothing pattern. “Tell me what you need.”
“I need…I…Don’t make me…”
“I need to come,” she whined.
“Good girl,” he praised. “Now tell me what you want.”
“I don’t understand…”
“Yes, you do. Tell me,” he growled.
“I want you to make me come,” she gushed, arching her back into his constant touch.
“I’m going to do just that, angel,” he spoke harshly, leaning back over her and taking a handful of hair, raising her head enough he could nip her earlobe. “Tell me you understand.”
“When’s the last time you had an orgasm?” She started to answer and he cut her off. “With a man?”
“I can’t remember.”
“Shame on them,” Mason told her.
He stood and while keeping one hand on her lower back letting her know he was still present, he unbuttoned his jeans then unzipped them slowly, adding to her agony by being forced to listen to the click of each tine popping open. Scooting his pants down his legs along with his boxers, he stepped out of them and when his hand left her so he could sheath himself, Julie grunted in frustration.
“Get on your back on the bed,” he said as he finished rolling the condom down. She needed the visual contact even if she couldn’t see anything but shadows and reflections.
She hesitated, looked behind her as if trying to determine if he was baiting her or not, then turned and backed across the mattress before lying down with her legs spread and her arms at her sides, her eyes tightly squeezed shut. So clinical, as if she expected to be used as a vessel. Who the hell had she been with before and what the hell had they done to her to make her think sex was about lying like a dead fish while the man got what he wanted? Then he remembered what she’d been like at the party, after he’d caught her in the chase.
She was carefree and happy, not at all a dead fish beneath him. As he’d lain on her in the garden, she was vital and eager. Mason believed she’d have done anything he asked of her she was so pliable…She’d been Hayden. Not Julie. She’d not just been dressed for the party. She was literally hiding behind her masque.
A bit of anger and sorrow wound around Mason’s state of arousal and squeezed him as he realized she had to assume an identity to feel. Then he was almost ashamed at the bit of happiness that crept in at the realization that she was not only fresh and new to his world but actually, she was like putty in his hands. She was ready to be molded into the person she was perfectly capable of being. He could be the one to show Julie how good it really could be, not just physically, but emotionally as well. For tonight though, she needed a safe haven, a place where she could turn her fears into dancing.
RATING: 5 Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries... a true indulgence.