It’s been ten years since social worker Brynn LeBreck has laid eyes on her former high school lover Reid Jamison. Reid, now an attorney has lost a high-profile case and is determined to find the evidence to clear his client who has been wrongfully charged with the murder of Brynn’s mother. While Reid is searching for said evidence, he has agreed to take on some pro-bono work at the Women’s Crisis Center where Brynn works. Kelsey, Brynn’s younger sister, has vanished shortly after placing a disturbing phone call to her sister for help, and all leads point to a BDSM retreat spot known as “The Ranch”. Brynn needs Reid’s help in getting into The Ranch and posing as an undercover submissive to confirm that Kelsey is there and help her out of her latest bout of trouble. Reid offers his help through their mutual friend Jace who is a member of The Ranch. What Brynn doesn’t count on is Reid has no intentions of her submitting to a stranger in such a strict BDSM/D/s setting and therefore he is determined to pose as her Dom for his own selfish desires and for Brynn’s protection. Brynn knows that if she picks Reid as her Dom she cannot let past feelings arise again and is determined to remain emotionally detached and strictly professional in order to help her sister and not succumb to the desire she still feels for Reid.
I am a die-hard fan of second chance love. What I enjoyed about the set up of the story is the author arranged the chapters to rotate “then” and “now” for the first half of the book. In doing this we get a strong visualization of how Brynn and Reid’s romance developed ten years ago as teens and how their relationship fell apart due to a horrific incident that Reid is completely unaware of. With this back story, we are able to better understand why both Brynn and Reid feel betrayed by the other and are unwilling to trust now.
Roni Loren established a well-defined couple diving into the social differences of both Brynn and Reid as teens and how it affects their individual self-worth as adults. Reid has lived his share of self-loathing as a son of a convicted rapist. When he discovers a desire for dominance and control, it only heightens his overall lack of self-worth. Brynn is the product of an affair of her mother’s prostitution which eventually led to murder. Both Reid and Brynn’s past family history comes back to haunt them in the present and brings a new terror to their lives that neither expected. While Ms. Loren set an immediate and heated chemistry between Brynn and Reid, the actual plot fell flat and became disjointed throughout the story. Several important issues were just skirted over and not resolved. Once the true killer of Brynn’s mother is revealed the suspense was already lost as well as a major scene needed for Reid to have closure and peace for himself. Ms. Loren totally skipped the ramifications of who the killer is and the emotional affect it should have had on both of the main characters. I actually went back to re-read to see if I missed the confrontation and I confirm that I didn’t. Also, I have read many authors that write BDSM with D/s play and to me this was almost a sham of the lifestyle. The only evidence of BDSM was the title use of “sir” and most of the time it was spoken in a playful joking tone. There is also one blindfold/bondage ménage scene and some light butt slapping. With what I have read in prior BDSM storylines, this does not constitute a BDSM lifestyle. The seriousness of trust/submission was not explored and came across as more casual role play than a lifestyle. Finally as the story progressed, the compelling and sensual dialogue that captivated me in the beginning was a memory in the last half of the book.
For a debut release, I believe Ms. Loren’s creativity of character and emotion was adamantly strong, but I believe with better editing, a more cohesive voice and structured plotline, she can improve volumes in her overall storytelling.
“The warm notes of his voice stirred the dark recesses of her memory, further inciting the old longing. She shifted in her heels as hot tingles crept from deep in her belly and moved downward to settle between her legs. Un-fucking-believable. Her body was a whoring traitor.”