Blue Ribbon Rating: 4 out of 5Original Review Link
In the life before he was an engineer, a Dom and a Shadowlands Master, Raoul had seen plenty of darkness. But he’s never seen evil as sickening as the evil he finds in a human trafficking ring that he volunteered to help the FBI bring down. Raoul is no slave owner, but he’s more than willing to pose as one if it will help the FBI agents on the case. He has been instructed to reject all of the slaves offered for sale at the small auction he’s been invited to so that he’ll be invited to a larger auction. Despite his best intentions, Raoul throws the feds’ plans out the window when he sees Kimberly – a friend of one of the Shadowlands’ subs - as one of the slaves for sale. Raoul can’t leave Kimberly behind, so he buys her.
Kim has been physically, sexually, mentally and emotionally tortured by her captors, but she hasn’t let it break her. When Master R purchases her, Kim can’t simply put the past behind her. More challenging than coming to grips with what was done to her and the scars it has left on her body and psyche is the knowledge that her freedom came at the cost of other kidnapped women’s lives. When she learns that there’s a chance the FBI can still raid the big slave auction if she poses as Master R’s slave, Kim can’t bring herself to refuse. She’ll have to live with Raoul and learn to treat him as her Master in order to be successful. Kim figures she can live with anything if it means freeing other slaves. What she doesn’t count on is Master R’s loving brand of dominance making her feel more alive than she ever has before.
Get ready for the most emotionally wrenching MASTERS OF THE SHADOWLANDS book to date. TO COMMAND AND COLLAR is a gripping, sometimes painful, sometimes joyful book with a dominant, caring hero and an incredibly strong heroine who has been through hell and is struggling to find herself again. Author Cherise Sinclair isn’t afraid to pack a wallop when it comes to human trafficking, something I appreciate given the seriousness of the subject. The beginning of TO COMMAND AND COLLAR was almost painful to read because of this – and that’s a good thing, even though the vivid imagery Ms. Sinclair’s words evoked meant I had to step away from the book a time or two.
It was beautiful to watch Kim come alive under Raoul’s care, though the love of her friends and the aid of a psychologist should not be discounted. Ms. Sinclair doesn’t abandon the reality of what Kim has survived. But it is the struggles of healing and the awakening of passion that Kim faces while living with Raoul that makes TO COMMAND AND COLLAR touching.
What I love about the MASTERS OF THE SHADOWLANDS books is that Ms. Sinclair makes each BDSM relationship as different as the characters she creates. Raoul and Kimberly dive into a full-time Master/slave relationship. The timeline is sped up because of the slave auction. But aside from the book’s villains, the main obstacle Raoul and Kimberly must overcome, if they want their burgeoning relationship to work, is whether Kimberly wants to be a full-time submissive. Raoul has been burned in the past by a relationship gone south, and he knows he can’t be anything less than what he is, nor would he ever ask Kimberly to give him more than she wants to give. Kimberly is concerned that her time as a slave has affected her when it comes to what she enjoys in BDSM. The way in which Kimberly figures out her desires adds realism to the book, helping to bring TO COMMAND AND COLLAR further to life.
TO COMMAND AND COLLAR is the sixth book in Ms. Sinclair’s fantastic MASTERS OF THE SHADOWLANDS series. Readers new to the series will be able to follow along with the information that Ms. Sinclair provides, and fans of the series will be delighted to see all their favorite characters again. As much as I enjoyed TO COMMAND AND COLLAR, I finished the book wanting another MASTERS OF THE SHADOWLANDS story. Ms. Sinclair has me drooling over sexy FBI agent Galen Kouros and man, oh man, does she have me on the edge of my seat, wanting to know if Dom/sadist Sam will make things work with the woman who has captured his attention.
TO COMMAND AND COLLAR doesn’t have the usual sparkle – as I call it – of Ms. Sinclair’s MASTERS OF THE SHADOWLANDS books, but given the storyline, that’s understandable. What is consistent is Ms. Sinclair’s phenomenal talent for delivering engaging, gorgeous stories with fiery hot love scenes. All in all, I can safely say that fans of the MASTERS OF THE SHADOWLANDS series won’t want to miss TO COMMAND AND COLLAR.Note:
My review was written for Romance Junkies and is cross-posted here courtesy of Romance Junkies.