When Jace (never, ever call him Jason) first meets Mistress V all he wants is someone to hurt him so hard that it pushes the pain he always feels inside into the background, just for a little while.
Mistress V is good at what she does. Men may pay for twenty minutes on the other side of her floggers, she usually has them begging for mercy within a few minutes. Jace is something different though; it doesn’t matter what implement she uses or how hard she strikes him, Jace doesn’t beg for mercy, he begs for more instead. And Jace is special in a different way too. For the first time ever Mistress V wants to disappear into the background and allow Aggie, her day to day persona, to interact with what should be nothing more than a paying client.
Jace has a past filled with pain and despair. A past he refuses to talk about. A past that leaves him unable to believe that anybody could see him as good, never mind loveable. As the bassist in the Original Sinners hard-rock band he should be on top of the world. Instead he is insecure of his position in the band he joined late when their first bassist was kicked out, and always afraid that the other band members will get rid of him too. Aggie has had a turbulent past as well, and her mother still causes upheaval in her life on a regular basis. But while Aggie’s attitude is to let the past be the past and live in the present, Jace can’t distance himself from his hurtful memories and doesn’t trust the present, especially not when the here and now is actually good.
When Jace finds himself injured and unable to perform with the band he is temporarily replaced by the original Sinners’ bassist and all his insecurities come crashing down on him with a vengeance. It will take all of Aggie’s talents and love to show Jace that she wants to be with him regardless of his past and that she is not the only one who loves and needs him.
Before I start on my thoughts about this book I have to get something off my chest. Who, I’d like to know, is in charge of the order in which the books in this series are published? Why is it that I read and reviewed “Double Time”, which is quite obviously the last book in the series, last November and “Hot Ticket”, with a story that clearly takes place much earlier, is only being released now? And how did this book end up being number four in the series but number three in the reading order? Since I haven’t read any of the other books in this series it doesn’t bother me too much, although I do find it strange. I am sure though that for readers who want to read their series in order and not have stories “spoiled” for them, the way in which these books are released must be frustrating to say the least.
As for my thoughts on this book, leaving all of the above aside; I enjoyed it. Olivia Cunning tells a good story. She manages to draw her readers in with a smooth writing style, conversation that sparkles, interesting and life-like characters, humor and a gripping story-line. It is easy to fall a little bit in love with her flawed characters and it isn’t long before you find yourself rooting for them. There is a lot of rather dramatic action in this book but all of it served a purpose in the story. I loved the group dynamic as described in this story. The author portrait the interaction and banter between the band-members in a realistic and life-like way. The only thing I wasn’t entirely sure about was the role Aggie’s mother plays in the book. While she brings some comic relief, I do think that her role in the story could have been smaller without the book losing anything. As it was I found that her interruptions in Aggie’s life took the pace out of the story on one or two occasions.
And I haven’t even mentioned the sex yet. Well, let me tell you, this is one hot book. The reader is treated to a lot of corporal punishment, and I mean a lot, inflicted with every implement known to men. But we also witness a lot of tenderness; two characters determined to please each other in any way possible. As far as the scenes in which Eric joins Jace and Aggie are concerned, they were steamy too even if I wasn’t entirely sure what purpose they served in the story except to push up the heat levels.
Overall I would classify this as a very steamy and at times heart-breaking love story that will keep the reader captivated from the very first page.