Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Whip Me Wednesday... Please, Sir.

So it's a well known fact amongst my group of friends that things are running less than smoothly in my life right now. I seem to be doing alot of swinging and missing (nods to Tyra and Rebecca who are about to kick off baseball season yet again when I either join the ranks on the crappy bleachers or become a baseball widow until the end of summer) in my personal and professional life...and reading the volumes necessary to keep up with multiple book groups, blogs and reviews is getting dicey.

Thankfully, Rebecca tossed me a proverbial bone with this series....just my cuppa tea. Having survived last Fever book, latest House of Night book and long awaiting newest Jeanine Frost, I am pretty leery of taking on new series at this point.

However, I must confess, I too am completely captivated by Cherise Sinclair's work! Oddly enough, I read Master of the Mountain (close your ears Tyra, if this is out of order, forgive me) when it came out last year and OMG! fell in love. I simply adore the "realness" of the characters - flawed, scarred, feisty women and men who seek a connection deeper than mere "romance". For those who do not read much BDSM or who are intrigued by it concepts but maybe dont understand the deeper reasoning behind it, Cherise Sinclair does a beautiful job of guiding the reader through the process in a way that feels very open and natural and allows much of the sensuality of the experience to permeate the story. The "romance" of hero and heroine twines so tightly with the growth of the Dom/sub relationship that even a reader unaccustomed to the genre may feel comfortable with. Scenes flow with dialogue that helps propel the storyline but doesnt interfere with it which is a common mistake with some BDSM works (seriously, communication is crucial but dont talk a scene to death or it loses its sensuality and power). OK, enough of my critical analysis of the author's writing style - off my soapbox and onto the next review, right?

I am not sure why I always get the really challenging stories but this week's pick for me was no exception. Cherise Sinclair's Breaking Free broke my heart and mended it all in one fell swoop! Returning again to Shadowlands, Master Z's house of pleasure and pain as I like to call it, Sinclair builds upon her world. This time relaying the story of two unlikely wounded souls, Nolan King: ex-military, contractor, uber-disciplined Dom and Beth: shy gardiner, scarred and problematic sub.

Beth must yield to become aroused, but she's too scared to give up control.
The last thing she wants is a ruthless, powerful Dom. But that's just what she gets, and exactly what she needs...
Beth presents a problem to club owner Master Z. She's a sub with very difficult boundary issues - obviously having been badly mistreated by previous Dom(s). Unbeknownst to any in the Florida club, Beth is on the run from her husband, the very Dom who abused her so. Z goads Nolan into taking the difficult case on, knowing he would be up for the challenge. Watching Beth's fears recede and her trust grow with the scary Dom manages to be reward in itself. Beth is so closed off from herself, she is unable to feel, having spent so long in "shut down" mode during her abusive marriage. Nolan manages to train his natural "sub" to feel, revel in her sexuality and understand that submissives may maintain dignity and safety even when relinquishing control over their bodies and minds to the "right" Dom. Nolan assesses the way to garner her cooperation, chips away at her protective layers until she releases control and boy, howdy, does she release! Phew! (Fan and ice water puhlease) He masters her body, forces her to enage in experiences and she begins to heal. (I am oh so intrigued by Nolan's July 4th BBQ traditions...)

To be perfectly honest, one of my favorite aspects of this particular story in the series is the very clearly defined difference in D/s and S/M. Using the Cullen/Deborah storyline to reveal more about the psyche of those who enjoy pain and refute the belief that all Dom's enjoy delivering pain was particularly clever. Also, while I greatly appreciate the authors clearcut instructions that persons interested in exploring this alternative lifestyle be "safe, sane and consensual", I have to appreciate that she does reinforce the idea that this lifestyle is built upon clear boundaries, immense trust and that frequently leads to committed relationships - at least among her characters. While the climatic ending scences are intense and graphic and not very pleasant, the author does not back down from the topics of abuse and excess in this lifestyle which as a reader I also appreciate. Certainly Cherise Sinclair knows how to write a hot, hot alpha male who knows what he wants and isnt afraid to paddle it's ass to get it!

I give this super spanky installment in the Shadowlands series a yummy five chocolate dipped strawberries and promise to always say "thank you, Sir!" when I want some more!!!!!
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