Title: If Only
Series: Masters of the Shadowlands 8
Author: Cherise Sinclair
Genre: BDSM, contemporary
Stand Alone: YES
Re-issued /Re-edited: NO
Date published: Nov 05, 2013
Published by: Loose Id LLC
Purchase links: LINK
Word count: 135,576
Page count: 356 pages
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..
What can I say other than : read it if you like BDSM ménage romance?
As usual, I am going to try to share my feelings about what I read.
My first thought when I started this book was : “yes! the heroine had funny, sweet and naughty!”. I love this kind of heroine. A little bit of high maintenance but not too much. The right amount of rebellious and unpredictability that I really love to find. She was a real treat for me. Many times I smirked, a couple of times I thought it was a bit over the top and probably not credible but it was definitely fun to know this character and follow her submissive’s journey. I also connected with her and understood how her childhood affected all her love relationship. It was, in my opinion, a one of the kind character.
Both males were lovable too but I would have liked to know how they decided to co-top or co-Dom. A Dom is per nature very territorial so two Doms sharing is totally unusual. I would have liked to understand how they came to the understanding that it was something they wanted and needed instead of having a done deal from the start. It goes way beyond friendship. In If Only, it was a credible situation because one was more into bondage and the other more into domination, so it was a nice complement.
Even if I loved this story, I found a couple of things that bothered me a little.
First, being a genius computer hacker, I did not buy when both Doms made her promise to do not hack anymore the organization. I mean, she gave them on golden plate all the infos and some but yet both FBI agents did not take advantage of her knowledge at all? I mean, both FBI were very adamant to destroy this slave organization, they have a person that can help them but then they told her to do not involve herself in any ways? Nope. That is a non-sense in my opinion. Under control, she could still help them. I understand protection but somehow I was like “naaaa will never happen in real life” and the author took the easy way out.
Second, although I totally love her personality, I did not find believable the tricks, the trainees did to the Doms/Dommes. I will not say impossible and if this “freedom” exist, I would love to be in. The lifestyle is full of protocol and respect. I hardly see any trainee being disrespectful or tricking anyone inside a BDSM club. But again, I do not know all of them and I am no expert but this is for me another “naaaa will never happen” moment.
Third and last, Master Z, which I really like by the way and you may discover for free in book 1 of this series Club Shadowlands, slightly disappointed me in this story. Being the top of the top Dom, I wanted him to be a little bit more protective. He was but not as much as I thought he would be.
This said. It was a long novel with a strong plot… just how I love my romance. It was never boring or redundant. It was flowing easily from romance to plot to BDSM to sex to plot again and ended as it should be with a HEA permanent menage.
BDSM sex scenes as well as the D/s relationship were totally credible. I especially appreciated the “fake orgasm” lesson which is something every man should read and learn. I also enjoy the wannabe, newbie and experienced Doms description. So many in the real world and it is nice that an author is including them in a romance that many readers take it as truth.
I would like to send a wagon of kudos to Cherise Sinclair. One thing I’ve always been impressed was her author’s note to her readers:
To my readers,
The books I write are fiction, not reality, and as in most romantic fiction, the romance is compressed into a very, very short time period.
You, my darlings, live in the real world, and I want you to take a little more time in your relationships. Good Doms don’t grow on trees, and there are some strange people out there. So while you’re looking for that special Dom, please, be careful.
When you find him, realize he can’t read your mind. Yes, frightening as it might be, you’re going to have to open up and talk to him. And you listen to him, in return. Share your hopes and fears, what you want from him, what scares you spitless. Okay, he may try to push your boundaries a little—he’s a Dom, after all—but you will have your safe word. You will have a safe word, am I clear? Use protection. Have a back-up person. Communicate.
Remember: safe, sane, and consensual.
Know that I’m hoping you find that special, loving person who will understand your needs and hold you close.
And while you’re looking or even if you’re already found your dearheart, come and hang out with the Masters in Club Shadowlands.
I know it is not mandatory. I know many authors do not think it necessary. But it is a wonderful kind reminder from an author who cares and understands that sometimes readers mix fantasy and reality and at the end of the day get badly hurt physically and/or emotionally. I always thought this note very thoughtful and respectful toward her readers.
I read many readers saying that after reading a BDSM romance, they needed to find their Dom because the story (romance!) made them understand their submissive nature. I am okay with that but it is like discovering that I like to jump in parachut: will I do it without training or an experienced mentor? nope. Many think they will love it but if the equipment is not carefully checked, I could just die. Yes we are all adult and we should be smart enough to understand the dangers but it does not happen this way. We are human and emotional and sometimes very fragile and naive in our quest to find the perfect partner in life. The danger is that pain can be disguised into violence or rape. Nobody turns overnight a submissive or a Dom. It is a long learning process. Romances are just that: stories, not a fairytale. Every people I spoke in real life, living the lifestyle, told me the same thing: it may takes years before we may find the perfect match Dom/sub and very rare. So for me, a nice warning like I find in each Cherise Sinclair book means a lot. So Thank You Mrs Sinclair for this reminder! it never hurts to raise the little flag and say “be careful”.
Now. Give a chance to this series Masters of the Shadowlands, it is mainly MF. And of course I totally regret it! If you enjoy mild to heavy BDSM, then If Only is a must read!
Characters:5 ~ Plot:5 ~ Sex Heat:5 ~ Romance:5
Equality:5 ~ Credibility:4 ~ Originality:4
BDSM: Heavy~ Cover:4 ~ Humor:4