I received my copy from Carina Press through NetGalley and rated it 4.5 stars.
This was a wonderful read. I can honestly say I loved it from the first page to the very last word and had a hard time putting it down when real life interrupted my reading. I really enjoyed “Bonds of Trust”, the first title in the Wicked Play series, when I read it but that story didn’t touch me the way this one did. In many ways this book was much more than just the story as described in the blurb. Yes, we are reading about Kendra who ran from her abuser months ago to find refuge in the same complex where Deklan lives; the way in which he recognizes both the need and the fear in her and helps her to overcome it, while at the same time being forced to deal with issues from his own past. And that is, I guess, a story that has been written before by other authors and will be told by others yet in the future. What made this book special for me is the way in which the author, through her characters, dealt with the issues.
The characters in this book don’t hold on to their issues for dear life, or deny that they have them. They are aware of what they are up against and while they are afraid of letting go of the walls they have built around their hearts to keep themselves from being hurt again, they are brave and real enough to allow those fortifications to slowly crumble. At the same time there were no unrealistic sudden conversions from fear to security, from distrust to trust. This was not the sort of story in which one (very sexy) scene between the two main characters solved all their problems. Kendra and Deklan both have issues to work through and they do, over time. They take it slowly, get to know each other and make mistakes before they get to the point where they’re able to acknowledge their feelings for each other, which rings true.
“And Deklan was showing her what a real Dom could be like. The kind of Dom she wanted. The kind she was slowly coming to admit she needed to keep herself sane.”
I also liked that this book made a clear distinction between Dominance-submission and sadism-masochism; these are not the same. A Sadist is not necessarily a Dom or vice versa and somebody who enjoys being on the receiving end of pain is not always also submissive. This is a distinction that I haven’t seen explained in (m)any books and since it is an important one I was delighted to see it here.
“When it’s done right, it’s all about caring and sharing. About giving each other what we both need and want. Isn’t that the very foundation of love?”
“You’re the one who taught me the difference between hurting and harming. Between play and abuse. Love and control.”
This book is well written, incredibly sexy and very easy to read. This is an uplifting love story filled with a believable story, realistic dialogue and convincing characters. As I said before: this is a wonderful read.