If Only by Cherise Sinclair
This is the eighth book in the Master of the Shadowlands series, and it was equally as awesome as the others. Synopsis from Amazon:
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 her 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 more than pleased. Realizing she’s suppressing deep-seated 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. And that should be the end of that, since both Galen and Vance have reasons not to seek a long-term relationship, especially with a submissive who doesn’t want what they can give. 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 the little imp brings light into their lives, and just as they begin to want more, they discover she’s hacked into an organization that delights in burning people alive. Now more than hearts are on the line, and Sally’s submission could save her life.
I really enjoyed this book. Mystery, romance, BDSM – what’s missing? I related to the main character a good deal as well. For years, she’s played in the scene but no one ever realized she never let people see her emotions. These two Doms step up and force her to face her emotions, wants, and needs, and to vocalize them. I am much better than I used to be about that, but I still have a great deal of difficulty vocalizing my emotions or desires. Similar to the main character, I was raised in situations that trained me to never show weakness. If I expressed my pain, fear, etc., I was made to regret it pretty quickly. As such, trusting others to hear the truth and not punish me (even in a passive agressive way) is really difficult. More than that, it’s my nature now to not share, and it isn’t my consciously choosing not to, I just honestly forget to because I don’t feel like people care enough to know.
Realistically, I’ve rarely had a partner notice or seem to care that I wasn’t sharing deeper emotions, so that has kind of validated my insecure thoughts about people not caring. Someday, though, I want to be find someone who wants to be in my head. He’ll force me to vocalize and share with him, because without doing so he can’t understand me enough to know how far to push. He’ll notice if I don’t volunteer emotional responses.
Again, I’m not as bad as the character in this book, and I’m better than I used to be. I do have some people I talk to now, whereas I used to not open up to anyone. I like to think I’m looking out for my own needs enough now to discuss them. It’d be nice, though, for a Dom to call me on my tendency to hide deep thoughts.
Aside from that, I loved this quote – she’s in my head!
“Don’t you hate that? When you give them the right to command, and they don’t?” Sally shook her head. “Would you believe one man put nipple clamps on me… and the second I squawked, he took them right off. No Dom cookies for that wussy.” But her Feds… her majorly dominating Feds would earn an entire box of chocolate chip cookies. “Oh man, I think I did a scene with that wimp. Totally forgettable.” Maxie slouched back on the leather couch. “Last month, Master Sam put clamps on me. When I whimpered, his eyes lit up, and he tightened them until I was up on tiptoes.” She gave a happy sigh. “There’s no one like a Master.”
This is why I hate when Tops ask me if I like it. I want someone to react to my fear and pain by tightening/hurting me more, and I want his eyes to light up from the desire he feels at inflicting such pain on me.