I received this book from Ellora's Cave through NetGalley
Ben is the only one of his friends still single. The other four Knights of the Board Room have found their submissive soul-mates and have started their happily every after. Ben tells himself this doesn’t bother him. He knows he is the most hardcore Dominant of the group, he just wasn’t made for a lasting relationship; short-term one-off scenes without emotional entanglements are more his style and he has no intention of changing that.
Marcie has been in love with Ben since she was sixteen. As she grew up and discovered exactly what sort of relationships the other knights had with their women she also realised that she, like her sister and the other women, is a submissive. But Marcie is a smart girl and for years she’s allowed Ben to treat her like a close friend while treating him the same. Now that she is 23 years old and finished with her studies, Marcie is ready to show Ben exactly what she is and that not only does she love, want and need him but that, deep down, he feels the same about her.
As Marcie and Ben spend time together the Dom realises that Marcie touches him in ways that scare him; she makes him feel things he didn’t know he could feel and, more importantly, doesn’t want to feel. And if the only way to get her out of his life again is by emotionally hurting her in a way he would never physically hurt her, he’ll do just that. Even if that course of action brings with it the risk of alienating his life-long friends as well. What Ben hasn’t counted on is that although Marcie may be submissive in every way it counts, she wouldn’t submit if it means giving up on her own happily ever after with the man she has loved for so long. She may be wishing for unconditional surrender to Ben, but that won’t stop her from mounting a hostile take-over if that’s the only way to get what they both want.
I think I’m starting to repeat myself in these reviews, but I’ll say it again; this book is definitely not for everyone. While it is a typical romance in structure and ending, it is anything but when it comes to the content for the story. Whereas a romance may have some erotic content, it will always be an added extra to all the other ways in which the two main characters pursue each other. In this book, on the other hand, the erotic content forms the basis of the romantic journey. Ben and Marcie have been friends for years; they don’t need to get to know each other. Instead Marcie needs to make Ben see and appreciate her in a different light and the only way to do that is through submitting to him; allowing him to indulge all is dominant and sadistic desires on her while she gets her submissive needs met in scenes that will shock many. This doesn’t mean there aren’t touching and incredibly tender moments in this story too. At one point I was reading with tears in my eyes because of the way in which Ben opened up to his feelings, his emotions and the love he had been denying (himself) for so long.
Marcie is a wonderful character. At heart a true submissive, she has the strength and courage to push the man she wants to dominate her. The way she is described in this book made me feel I really got to know, like and admire her. Ben, on the other hand, can be harder to like on several occasions, culminating in one passage where I would have lovingly beat the shit out of him. But this does make him a more realistic character and does add to the tension in the story.
The writing in this book is smooth and the dialogue flows naturally. The author’s great achievement in my opinion is that she managed to give us characters the reader can recognise and sympathise with while presenting them in a life-style that is, probably, completely foreign to them.
This is the fifth book in a series, but since I haven’t read the first four books I can confidently say that it can be read as a stand-alone. Of course if you were to do that you do run the risk that, like me, you end up buying the first book even before you finish this one.
This may be a book with a lot of graphic and not at all conventional intimacy in it, but when all is said and done, a love story is still a love story. And as love stories go, this is a wonderful one.