Tuesday, December 29, 2015

My take on: Mastered

"Go assure Evangeline's roommates that she is perfectly all right, but she won't be be coming home tonight, or any other night for that matter. Inform them that she's moving in with me and will be in contact with them in the next day or two and will explain everything to them then." Pg. 79

Hmmmm?!?!

Maya Banks isn't afraid to let her characters be bold and in control. Her latest book, Mastered, is no exception.

So why start with that quote? Because, in my opinion, that quote is the biggest WTF moment of the book. A wide-eyed, country girl comes to the big city (New York). She works her butt off working late-night shifts at a seedy bar. All to send money home to her parents. She never takes a moment for herself, which is a big attraction to a brooding and domineering millionaire playboy. After knowing each other for less than 24 hours, this man is convinced this wide-eyed girl is his next conquest.....his next submissive. It sounds insane that a person would want to "own" and "control" a relationship with another human being. But that is the world Drake Donovan lives in, and if Evangeline wants to be part of it she has to...submit. Yes this book is full of sex and passion (and a little BDSM).

Evangeline was recently dumped by her weasel of a boyfriend. Her friends hatch a plan for revenge. Send Evangeline, dressed to the nines, to the ultra-exclusive hot club in the neighborhood and let her weasel of a boyfriend see what he's missing. It sounds like a good plan, but things go bad quickly. Drake, the club owner, sends his beefy bodyguards to rescue Evangeline before she gets in over her head. One hot scene later between Drake and Evangeline and an instant connection is formed.

If you've read my reviews in the past, I'm not a fan of insta-love or in this case insta-lust. I wanted a little more buildup. A little more tension. A little more resistance on Evangeline's part before giving into Drake. A few fleeting moments of passion, and Drake is ready to literally possess Evangeline. He will take care of all of her financial needs now and in the future, all she has to do is give him what he wants. Does that make her a prostitute? No, but what could a man like Drake get out of this relationship? How long could an arrangement like this last? Who would get bored first? Or will they fall in love? Can a relationship built on domination and submission have a future?

This book isn't all sex all the time, there are some sweet moments. Drake doesn't like things that go against his plan. He likes control. Evangeline often resists or questions that control, even little things. After a whirlwind shopping spree, all at Drake's expense, Evangeline decides to return the favor by cooking dinner for him. Sounds simple, sounds nice. But for Drake, that's an action that goes against his plan. In his mind, Evangeline is woman who deserves to wined and dined. She doesn't need to wait on him. Drake gets over his initial angst, and devours the meal she cooked. A few moments of small talk over a meal offer a small glimmer into what a "normal" relationship between these two could look like. I found it to be a sweet moment. 

As a character, Evangeline is a person you would want in your corner. Although she's very naive, she will defend her family and friends down to her last breath. Drake is a bit of an enigma. He solves a lot of his problems with money, power, and sex. What kind of life is that without some balance? Evangeline is that balance. She could be the missing link to his life and vice versa, if they both want it. This is book one in a series, and given how it ended I will have to come back for book two. Drake and Evangeline are not done after just one book.

Rating: Give it a try

Note: I received a copy of the book from Sullivan and Partners in exchange for an honest review.

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