Theirs to Cherish
Wicked Lovers #8
Penguin Group/ Berkley
E-Pub/Paperback 400 pages
Disclosure: uncorrected Galley provided by publisher via NetGalley for review purposes. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinion presented herein is my own, unless otherwise noted.
The perfect place for a woman on the run to disappear…
Accused of a horrific murder she didn’t commit, former heiress Callie Ward has been a fugitive since she was sixteen—until she found the perfect hideout, Club Dominion. The only problem is she’s fallen for the club’s Master, Mitchell Thorpe, who keeps her at arm’s length. Little does she know that his reasons for not getting involved have everything to do with his wounded heart…and his consuming desire for her.
To live out her wildest fantasies…
Enter Sean Kirkpatrick, a Dom who’s recently come to Dominion and taken a pointed interest in Callie. Hoping to make Thorpe jealous, she submits to Sean one shuddering sigh at a time. It isn’t long before she realizes she’s falling for him too. But the tender lover who’s slowly seducing her body and earning her trust isn’t who he claims…
And to fall in love.
When emotions collide and truths are exposed, Sean is willing to risk all to keep Callie from slipping through his fingers. But he’s not the only man looking to stake a claim. Now Callie is torn between Sean and Thorpe, and though she’s unsure whom she can trust, she’ll have to surrender her body and soul to both—if she wants to elude a killer…
Even though I couldn’t put this book down and was driven from page to page by the suspense and hot hook-ups, I found myself constantly questioning issues around consent. Look, I am so vanilla that even French Vanilla is sexy in comparison just by virtue of being French, and because of those naughty flecks, so try as I might I am never going to fully understand subspace, or even domme-space.
In my mind, regardless of whether a submissive chats with you and removes your collar or if she just removes it and leaves because she thinks you want to kill her, or if she withdraws consent, then you are no longer her Dom. Period. You want to help her out of a jam? Lovely, but your wants are not her problem. When the person says “no” outside of a scene, or uses their safe word, it means “no.” No more. When you take that away, you change the game dangerously. You’ve removed consensual from the equation, negating safe and sane.
(SPOILERISH: highlight with mouse to read)
Now, if you have granted the authority to punish her to someone else then doubly your privileges as her dom are vacated.
If someone thinks their Dom wants to kill them should she really stick around to chat about it? If she have a history of watching people get hurt, or hurting them, and if the Dom has never declared his intentions, or affections, and she leaves, well fuck him and the flogger he rode in on. If she wants to walk into traffic and get her ass run over, well, that’s sad, but he are no longer her Dom and have no control over her. She ended the relationship — case closed.
As I said though, and possibly at least partially due to this controversy, I found this story gripping and and tantalizing. The BDSM aspect is not heavy, but neither is it a couple experimenting for a lark. The people are committed to BDSM and they do like their clothespins.
Callie’s character is not typical, and she is very sympathetic, resourceful, resigned. Sean, well he isn’t too typical; he’s a sensitive new age dom. Thorpe is a little more two-dimensional; he has interesting hang-ups though — he needed a little therapy.
The secondary characters are sometimes cartoonishly fetished out and muscly.
How they pull it together and in fact how they pull all their behinds out of the giant sling in which they end up in is interesting, maybe a little naive, but still compelling. There are plenty of red herrings, enough to enjoy a red herring salad. The important object in the story is foreshadowed and forecast in the first few pages if you read observantly but the mystery is not complete solved there.
And the ending is inventive and unusual. Maybe a bit too pat. All together, the story is not overly obvious or predictable.
It is well-written, well-enough edited and nothing stood out as glaringly discontinuous.
The upshot is that this was unusual story with hot and well written intimacy. The characters are mixed in the depth of sketching and in their degree of uniqueness. My big issue had to do with consent. That’s why it was a guilty pleasure I could not put down — I didn’t think I should be enjoying it but I was.