Review: If Only
If Only by Cherise Sinclair
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Finally Sally receives her story! Sally is the bratty sub who taunts and plays practical jokes on the Dom and Dommes in Shadowlands. Sally doesn't think she will ever find a Dom to keep her. She struck out with her last Dom, Frank. She kicked his abusive ass out and is debating if she should even stay in the lifestyle. The problem with Sally is that she needs two Doms, not one. Fortunately, FBI agents Galen and Vance have their sights set on Sally. They do a good job of penning her in and taking her into their "protective" custody.
This story is so good. The BDSM scenes are sexy with the hawt ménage between alpha males and a feisty female. From a BDSM play perspective, these are all dead on and delightful. This is to be expected when Ms. Sinclair is writing the story. It shows that she researches and is a least a little bit in the lifestyle. While one shouldn't use her books a BDSM 101 guides, the scenes can be used as guides to build one's own scenes in real life. The fisting scene in this story is a nice surprise and oh so very hawt. Who doesn't like fisting? Another delightful scene is Sally's punishment. To demonstrate the difference between a faked and real orgasm is clever. Many people abhor physical punishment and think that all punishment is dealt through spanking or some kind of physical reprimand. Ms. Sinclair does an excellent job of showing how a punishment can fit the crime and have nothing to do with a "beating". Makes a bratty submissive more wary of behaving badly in hopes of a caning, spanking or flogging session.
The reason why I really enjoyed this story is the character building. Ms. Sinclair has been teasing the readers with Sally's flippant behaviour over several books in this series. When Sally's past is finally revealed, it's unexpected and sad. Sally isn't physically abused as a child. However she is abused through neglect. It's admirable how Sally is able to be so positive despite the lack of familial love in her life. Watching Galen and Vance break through her defenses and peel back each painful memory moves a reader. It helps the reader bond better with Sally. She's not a disrespectful submissive. She's a complicated person because of her emotional barriers. Galen and Vance's character development are not skipped over. Ms. Sinclair shows us their past which explains why they behave the way they do. They aren't perfect dominants, that's for sure. Demonstrating how they can make mistakes and then recover is a nice touch. It adds more realism.
This story does conclude a multi-book arc with the nefarious slaver group - Harvest Association. This is the suspense part of the story and helps bring the characters and plot all together. It's a fitting ending and nicely tied up. It enriches the plot of this book and makes it more than just a kinky romance. This story is recommended for kinky readers who love ménages where the female is the focal point.
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