Title: Lean on Me
Author: Cherise Sinclair
Series: Masters of the Shadowlands, Book 4
Genre: Erotic Contemporary Romance
Release Date: 30 March 2010
Andrea wants to submit, but not to just any so-called Dom. He has to be tougher than the slum-bred bullies she grew up with. She’d given up finding a true Dom when her friend finagles her a place as a trainee in an exclusive BDSM club with the powerful Shadowlands Masters. Andrea’s thrilled…and terrified.
Forced to accept an unknown submissive into his carefully run trainee program, Master Cullen is furious. Not only is the young woman new to BDSM, but she’s unsuited to her role--armoured in leather like a Domme, she’s more liable to punch a Dom than kneel. He decides to push her right back out the door. But as he ruthlessly intimidates her, punishes her, then cuddles her, his glimpse of the woman inside the emotional armour intrigues him, and her utter surrender captures his heart.
Although Master Cullen is famous for his unfettered lifestyle, Andrea believes he might be interested in her, until she discovers he’s not just a bartender--he’s a cop. Maybe he’d overlook her past brush with the law, but when another trainee accuses her of stealing money, Andrea knows she’s lost the Master she wanted with all her heart.
I admit I've been looking forward to Cullen's book since we first met the charismatic bartender in the first book Club Shadowlands. He's always seemed so easy-going, definitely my mistake as we (and Andrea) learn here, but I wasn't wrong about his kindness and his innate sexiness.
Unfortunately, for me, Andrea brought my enjoyment of this book down somewhat. I like her determination to do for herself, her pride in her work and her ability to help others, but I got so irritated - as did Cullen - with her need to not rely on anyone. She not only wouldn't ask anyone for help, she was bound and determined to never let anyone help her. She hurt her friends by not letting them care for her, and hurt Cullen more than once with the same overtly-independent desires. I do understand why she was that way, and how it could be incredibly tough to get past, but it was just too much for me at the same time. Probably because I know how irritating - and hurtful - it is to have someone deny my help.
Still, Lean on Me is a nice addition to this series, Cullen is fabulous, and Andrea does eventually realize exactly what she's doing and works hard to change. I really appreciated the lengths she went to prove to both herself and Cullen that she could change. And the lengths he employed to ensure they both knew they could count on each other.
In my opinion, the Masters of the Shadowlands series is still the best erotic BDSM series out there. Lean on Me is the first full-length novel in the series and I love seeing the additional character development and growth that Cherise Sinclair gives us. I highly recommend Ms. Sinclair's books in general, and this series in particular.
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