Monday, November 18, 2013

Review: If Only by Cherise Sinclair

Title: If Only
Author: Cherise Sinclair
Series: Masters of the Shadowlands, Book 8
Genre: Erotic Contemporary Romance
Release Date: 5 November 2013

After the last fiasco, Sally gives up. She’ll never find a Dom of her own. Instead the computer whizz is job hunting in between bending the law—just a bit—to unearth the bastards who’d enslaved her friends. The clueless cops and Feds obviously need help.

FBI special agents, Galen and Vance, have waited to play with Sally for a long time. When the mischievous submissive returns to the exclusive Shadowlands BDSM club after an ugly relationship, the experienced co-tops are pleased. Realizing she’s suppressing her emotions, the powerful Doms push her—only to find that her sassiness conceals a scarred and vulnerable heart.

Shaken by the unexpected emotional exposure, Sally flees the demanding Masters and the Shadowlands.

Both Galen and Vance have reasons not to seek a long-term submissive, but when a brutal attack by her ex-Dom sends Sally into their home, the two agents are driven to protect her. To help her. To take her under command. Falling in love isn’t in the plans.

But as the little imp brings light into their lives, they begin to want more…until they discover she’s hacked into an organization that delights in burning people alive.

I feel like I've been waiting for this story for years - oh, wait, I have been. *g* Sally has been a central fixture in the trainee program at the Shadowlands since the beginning, and I've always loved her. She's sassy and smart, loyal and determined, and so much fun. I'd love to be friends with her. What I didn't realize until this book was that she was hurting - and perhaps she didn't even realize it in truth. Some hurts run deeper than we can even acknowledge, and it takes two determined men to bring Sally further out of her shell than she's ever been.

Galen and Vance are FBI agents that have been helping to break the human-slave trafficking ring that has affected several submissives in the previous few books. Just recently having moved and made their home in Tampa, they're now Masters in the Shadowlands and finally feel able to set their sites on one mischievous sub - Sally. Her sassiness and wit, her sparkling personality are what draw them to want to play with her, but it's her heart that draws them in.

I will be the first to admit, I don't generally like menage stories and I especially usually don't like them when they're MFM - meaning that the men only are involved with the woman intimately, or sexually. Mostly this is because I don't think most books that tackle this manage to show how equal the love is between all parties. And if you're going to have a permanent menage, I need to know that everything is equal between them all. So no matter how much I was looking forward to this story, and I had a strong feeling that Sally was going to end up with both Galen and Vance since To Command and Collar, I was trepidatious, too.

I needn't have been. The love, affection, caring and need between the two men is just as heartfelt, needful and deep as anything between them and Sally. They're so close as to be two parts of a (nearly) whole. They compliment each other and neither of them can stand the thought of living without the other. What I love is how Sally compliments them both. The other nice thing is that Galen and Vance have been co-Topping (as they sometimes call it) for a long time - they're comfortable in their roles with the submissive, and with each other. It's a fascinating - and incredibly sexy - dynamic.

The Masters of the Shadowlands has been my favorite BDSM romance series for years now. I re-read it often, and always look forward to re-visiting the characters at the club. My only disappointment with this book is that it seems to be coming to an end. I know that Cherise Sinclair has said on her website that she's writing Master Jake's book, but I doubt the series will continue past this much, if at all. And it's a little sad to see it all ending. Though we've gotten the stories of nearly all the characters, there are still some that I'd love to see how they're doing, and what they're up to.

Grade: A

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