I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
by Lexi Blake
Released: February 23rd 2016
Series: Masters and Mercenaries #10
Published by Self Published
” Their feelings ran deep for a long time before. I really enjoyed that. It was as if from the first touch it meant more.”
~ Under the Covers
I haven’t been reading this series in order, but I have seen Kai before. I was already intrigued by his character. He’s the psychologist that works with Sanctum and their members. He’s also a sadist and a Dom. He fits exactly the bill of what Kori, his assistant, wants. Except she has shied away from that lifestyle and from giving herself truly what she wants because she had a bad experience in the past. But after working with Kai so long, she knows she’s in love with him.
I really liked Kai’s character and his struggle in his relationship with his brother. They had years of baggage to overcome that Kai has just buried in anger. Their relationship was one of my favorite things about this book.
Then there’s Kori. I never quite got to love her. She has some residual insecurities from her ex’s mistreatment, I get that. But I wanted her to be stronger in overcoming those things and value herself and what she wants more. I guess I don’t think she could stand so well on her own two feet first before being with Kai.
Kai and Kori do have great chemistry together. It took a while for them to come to terms with their feelings but once things got physical that was just the culmination that cemented their relationship. Their feelings ran deep for a long time before. I really enjoyed that. It was as if from the first touch it meant more.
The suspense element in this book was fun and it was nice to see Kai’s brother and hopefully we’ll be seeing a book for him in the near future. The bad guy in the end though? I found it a bit easy to figure out. Nonetheless, I did enjoy the build up to it. Nothing too crazy of challenging, but enjoying and fun to read.
Lexi Blake stands out for her erotic suspense and it’s something I keep coming back to because she does it well. Add in to that the feeling of family that revolves around the Taggart-McKay men and Sanctum and you have the recipe to my heart. I absolutely love when I can care about a group of people and they keep being an important part of a series. I loved those glimpses we get of previous couples and characters, and the insight into the rest of them that are not paired up yet! Can’t wait.
Kori heard some movement and then felt the whoosh of air caress her skin right before something thin and hard thwacked against her flesh. A gasp made her chest pulse as pure fire licked over her backside.
“This is a cane,” Kai explained. “It’s bamboo, nice and not too flexible. It leaves a mark if you apply enough force.” He brought it down on her again, this time on her thighs. Again, she struggled for breath. “Are you bored now, Kori?”
“No, Sir.” She barely managed to get the words out of her mouth.
“Excellent, then we’re making headway.” The cane came down again and again. “Where are we on the stoplight?”
“Green.” She didn’t even hesitate. The pain was doing its job, heating her up and making her soft. Each strike of the cane lit her up and then brought her back down, sinking deeper and deeper into that soft, fuzzy place of submission.
“Now we’re getting some truth.” He kept up his punishing pace. “She didn’t take her time trying to find a way out of what she didn’t want to say.”
“Why would she lie?” Jared asked.
“That’s a good question.” The blows continued, making her ache as Kai spoke. “I suspect she didn’t want anyone here to know that she’s a naughty masochist who can’t get off without a little bite of pain. Or a big one. She hasn’t accepted her nature. Or she has and expects that no one else will.”
“I accepted my nature a long time ago,” she managed to say.
The caning stopped and suddenly Kai’s boots were in view again. He dropped to one knee, that hard hand in her hair again. “Then tell me why.”
She couldn’t tell him. It was too much. “I’m yellow now, Kai. Don’t make me safe word out over an explanation I’m not ready to give.”
“Fine.” His hand moved from her hair down, skimming over her skin until his fingertips found her breast. Kai Ferguson was touching her breast. God, he was cupping her and she couldn’t breathe. “How about I put a scenario forth and you think about it for a few days. I think the reason you didn’t mention your utterly beautiful and sexy inclinations is me. You didn’t want me to know because you were perfectly aware that I’m the only one here who can possibly give you what you need. You knew that once I found out, I wouldn’t be able to help myself because you’re the only one who can do the same for me, baby. Do you know how fucking good I feel right now? How good this makes me feel?”
He rolled her nipple between his thumb and forefinger and twisted with a vicious bite that left her panting.
She squeezed her eyes closed because she couldn’t look at him, couldn’t see how beautiful he was. “It won’t work, Kai.”
Another nasty twist got her squirming. “It’s working right fucking now. Darling girl, your ass is up in the air and that means I can see how wet your pussy is. Tell me some other Dom here got you wet and ready.”
“You know I can’t.” She tugged at her restraints, but they didn’t move. The rope rubbed across her skin, keeping her here with him. She couldn’t run, and she had to admit she didn’t want to. She wanted this moment with him. Her pride might make her get up and stride away but every other part of her begged for what she’d denied herself for so long. He was the only man here who could give her what she needed. It wasn’t about who hit the hardest. Any of those other Doms could have adequately provided her with pain. She needed more. She needed connection, the ebb and flow of pain and pleasure coming from a man who was there with her.
Her dark shadow lover. Kai.
“I’m not the exhibitionist you are,” Kai admitted. “And that’s the only reason I’m not fucking you right now, but we’re going to have a long discussion in the morning about the way this needs to go. For tonight, I’m going to start the process that will allow you to remain friends with all those people you lied to. So you are going to give me everything I want. You’re going to cry for me. You’re going to let go and show them that you’ll cry for me.”
She shook her head. “You’re asking too much.”
“It’s cry or come, baby. One or the other, unless you want to find yourself in Big Tag’s office. Let me show him I can handle you.”
“I can’t. I haven’t done either in a very long time.” She hadn’t cried since leaving LA. She couldn’t. Wouldn’t. She hadn’t come either. Not a man-given orgasm. Her mind worked overtime. He wasn’t joking about getting called into Big Tag’s office. Whatever punishment Kai could come up with—nothing would touch Big Tag’s disapproval. They were all mad at her. It was enough to make her want to run away again.
Except it wasn’t that they wanted to see her humiliated. This punishment wasn’t about hurting her. It was about this group of people knowing that someone among them could take care of her. When she looked at it like that, it didn’t seem like punishment at all. It was about the Dominants giving a shit.
Morgan hadn’t cared when she’d lied to him. All he’d wanted was the next bit of work from her. After a while, he hadn’t cared about her finding subspace or her pent-up sexuality. He’d doled out the pain like it was bait for his trap. He would give her enough to ensure she stayed around and did what he needed her to do.
This wasn’t the same thing at all.
“I don’t want to cry in front of anyone, Kai.”
“Then let me show them you can let go in another way.”
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