Saturday, March 24, 2012

Club Shadowlands by Cherise Sinclair

Her car disabled during a tropical storm, Jessica Randall discovers the isolated house where she's sheltering is a private bondage club. At first shocked, she soon becomes aroused watching the interactions between the Doms and their subs. But she's a professional woman--an accountant--and surely isn't a she?

Master Z hasn't been so attracted to a woman in years. But the little sub who has wandered into his club intrigues him. She's intelligent. Reserved. Conservative. After he discovers her interest in BDSM, he can't resist tying her up and unleashing the passion she hides within.

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I've read this book several times, and each time I have enjoyed it as much as the first. It's become something of a go-to book for me when I'm in the mood for something racy, edgy, and quick to read. It's short enough that even I can put it away in a few hours, and I'm a pretty slow reader, but for all that it's short, and the story just a bit rushed at times because of that perhaps, it still packs a lot of punch emotionally.

Jessica is a pretty ordinary, and even staid, accountant who ends up stranded at a private BDSM club for the night when her car goes off the road during a storm as she's driving back from a disastrous first date with someone. Given the choice of sitting out in the relatively featureless lobby with the door attendant or signing the membership agreement and joining the party, she opts to join the party, and thus begins her adventures into a world that she hadn't really known existed. She proves herself to be a very strong woman who isn't afraid to get involved to help someone she thinks is in trouble or being abused (a trait that gets her in trouble a time or two), but for all that she's a very confident person in most respects, she is notably lacking in confidence when it comes to her own attractiveness and sexuality. She isn't overly self-deprecating about her looks or body, and indeed shows little concern about walking around the club in the highly revealing outfit that she was given to change into to get out of her wet clothes, but she definitely has trouble believing anyone, especially a hunk like the club's owner, Master Z, could be interested in her.

Zachary, who is known in the club simply as Master Z, is definitely an alpha male type, though not too overbearingly so. He takes charge of the situation when Jessica first shows up at his club during a storm, helping her get out of her wet clothing and into a hot shower with brusque and impersonal efficiency when she's unable to do so herself, and then steering her to the bar and ordering her an Irish coffee, heavy on the Irish, to further get her warm again. He is aggressive and relentless in his pursuit of her, but while he pushes her to the edges of her comfort zone frequently, he never pushes too hard, and frequently backs off to give her room and time to assimilate things. Unquestionably the Master of his Domain, he rules with a velvet fist, always exhibiting a willingness and desire to listen to both sides of a conflict before making a judgement, and never making arbitrary decrees, though once he pronounces judgment, or makes a decree, he expects to be obeyed. Unyielding, yet patient and compassionate, he proves to be just what Jessica needs to draw her out of her shell and keep her from trying to hide from herself.

While this book does deal with subject matter that might make some uncomfortable, it is also a wonderful story about coming to terms with one's own desires and making peace with things that have happened in the past. Jessica discovers that she is at heart a submissive, at least in the bedroom, and the discovery becomes very empowering for her as she learns to overcome her hangups with sex. Definitely recommended for any who enjoy a steamy, sex-filled read with more leather than roses.

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