Tagged: self published

Sentenced: Judging Elise #4 by Felicity Fawkes



Story Rating: 3.5 out of 5 paddles

Sting Factor (kink): 3.5 out of 5


It is hard to imagine what inspired Felicity Fawkes to self-publish her relatively short novella (approximately 85 pages), Sentenced: Judging Elise, in four parts. Perhaps she was so excited about having written her first erotic fiction that she couldn’t wait until it was finished before getting it into the hands of readers. Not having read the first three parts, since I was unaware of their existence until after reading part four for reviewing purposes, I can’t really speak to the book in its entirety, but the final “chapter” is well-written and sexy.

Sentenced: Judging Elise #4 reads like one of those short erotic stories with minimal set up and plot that take you on a nonstop roller coaster ride of hot and kinky monkey love. There were some allusions to previous kinky goings on that may have involved bondage and spanking; this segment involves a ménage comprised of a young woman, an assistant district attorney, and a middle-aged Judge. Some of the highlights of their sexual high jinx include bondage, flogging, and double-penetrative sex. As perverse as Elise appears to be, she is also quite the romantic, as evidenced by her nearly swooning like a schoolgirl when the Judge suggests they move in together at the end.

Reviewed by Jim Lyon

Stranger Than Truth by David Weaver

Story Rating:  1 out of 5 paddles

Sting Factor (kink): 5 out of 5  

Great scenes.  Dullwriting.

STRANGER THAN TRUTH tackles important issues regarding BDSM in a story format. The characters are well developed as one follows Valerie, a submissive, through a pivotal point in her life and outlines how BDSM affects all aspects of her life from work to play.  A wide range of experiences are detailed as well as the differences between a variety of kinky relationships leaving the reader with a strong understanding that there is no “one size fits all” approach—each relationship is unique and needs to be respected as such.

Weaver is a knowledgeable and dedicated to the subject matter, but the execution is dry and the story plods. There is too much reality and unnecessary minutiae of everyday life detailed to make for good fiction. The author clearly feels passionate about expressing BDSM in a positive light. The explanations are sound and reviews of SSC practices and contrasting it to RACK are straight forward and thus this would appeal to the curious just learning and exploring various elements.

As brilliant and honest as the scenes depicted herein are it comes off as halfway between a story and a tutorial. There is a constant process of explaining all the characters’ actions and motivations: checking circulation, reassurances, and  extensive use of safewords. The pace is unrelentingly slow and would have benefited from more proofreading, there are numerous errors that spell check wouldn’t catch. It may be accurate and informative, but it is not fun reading.

I cannot recommend STRANGER THAN TRUTH to anyone, but those seeking realistic portrayals rather than entertainment. It is unfortunate because some of the scenes are creatively wonderful and address many forms of submission rather than focusing primarily on the physical, but there’s a lot of chaff mixed in with the wheat.

Reviewed by Vivian

Sweetest Mistress
Skye Warren
self published [link to buy]

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 paddles

This is a short story, and took me about 20 minutes to read. Unlike a few books I have read recently, this is an actual story. There are actual characters with thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

The story is told from the male’s point of view, but I could understand the emotions of the female character also.

Sweetest Mistress isn’t what I would identify as an intentional BDSM story, rather I’d describe it as a story about people who stumble into BDSM. Their feelings towards the specific BDSM acts and their responses read as real. I would imagine most who are involved in the BDSM lifestyle, experiment, or use it occasionally will easily understand the characters reactions to what they experience.

The writing here is not so much titillating as erotic. I responded emotionally to the story, and could imagine the facial expressions the characters would have as each acted and spoke to the other in the story. I could also relate to their initial hesitations but feeling the need to go on.

All in all this was a very enjoyable read and definitely worth the time to read.

Reviewed by ronni

Nobody’s Hero
Kallypso Masters
self published [link to buy]

Rating: 5 out of 5 Paddles


Retired Marine Master Sergeant Adam Montague has battled through four war zones, but now finds himself running from Karla Paxton, who has declared war on his heart.With a twenty-five year age difference, he feels he should be her guardian and protector, not her lover. But Karla’s knack for turning up in his bed at inopportune times is killing his resolve to do the right thing. Karla isn’t a little girl anymore—something his body reminds him of every chance it gets.

Karla Paxton fell in love with Adam when she was a sixteen-year-old runaway and he rescued her. Now, nine years later, she’s determined to make Adam see her as a woman. But their age difference is only part of the problem. Adam has been a guardian and protector for lost and vulnerable souls most of his life, but a secret he has run from for more than three decades has kept him emotionally unable to admit he can love anyone. Will she be able to lower his guard long enough to break down the defenses around his heart and help him put to rest the ghosts from his past? In her all-out war to get Adam to surrender his heart,can the strong-willed Goth singer offer herself as his submissive—and at what cost to herself?


First, I have to say that this is the third book in Ms. Masters Rescue Me series and they should be read in order. Master at Arms is the first book and Nobody’s Angel is the second. These are not designed to be stand alone books and Nobody’s Hero picks up right were Nobody’s Angel left off.

Adam and Karla are wonderful together even as they struggle to give the other one what they think they want. The issues that Karla and Adam face are real and I think can touch all of us on some level. First, they have to overcome a large age difference (and 25 years is a big one to adjust to). Secondly, they need to come clean with what they really want. The third big conflict they have is to overcome their pasts.

I really enjoyed Adam and Karla’s story. Adam is one of those Doms that just has it. The looks, the voice, the touches –it is all there in once really nice package. Karla has a bit more to learn since she is a novice going into this, but her biggest mistake is wanting to give Adam everything even when it means sacrificing pieces of her she isn’t ready to sacrifice.These two really match well together in what they want and it’s refreshing to read a story that delves into the struggles of starting a BDSM relationship and learning what both partners want and if those wants can mesh together.

Nobody’s Hero is a compelling story that delves in 24/7 TPE relationships, a more simplistic D/s relationship, bondage (shibari and more). This story made me laugh and brought tears to my eyes as Karla and Adam struggle through issues that most of us have. I love that these characters are portrayed as average humans and not perfect fantasy beings. Adam has his flaws as I think any Master does. What’s important is how he overcomes and adjusts to those as he learns what they are as well as how they affect Karla.

Again, I can’t recommend Kallypso Masters as an author enough. Her stories are compelling, romantic, playful, erotic, and more. Just be sure to remember to read these stories in order or you’ll be missing key components to characters development and background. I can’t wait to read the next installment in this series and see what’s in store for Damien.

Reviewed by Star

Life on My Knees
Louis Friend
self published [link to buy]
ISBN-10: 0557207096
ISBN-13: 978-0557207091

Rating: 3 out of 5 paddles

Life on My Knees is a collection of short erotic tales that explore different fantasies and D/s dynamics. The book begins with A Thousand Kisses, an intoxicating tale of a young men stumbling into his first gay and submissive relationship. The awe of this new found world is beautifully described by the author and makes a promising start to the book. Stories with themes of rape play and forced bisexuality reoccur in various tales along with cross dressing and gender blending. There is a selection of different kinks to capture the reader’s imagination and taste.

The writing style is descriptive in nature with a strong sense of the outside perception of the characters erotic adventures. Within the later stories the plot is often very formulaic and becomes less interesting. The descriptions and plots often became repetitive in nature. Within some of the stories I felt as though the sexual and erotic elements were almost forgotten. I couldn’t help but feel detached from the characters. The power play scenes were not described in a sexual or erotic enough manner to keep my interest. The writing style did however lend itself to some of the stories within the book more then others. The detached writing style was highly effective in the story titled Dinner and a Show.

Overall this collection of stories was an enjoyable light read with various kinky themes. I believe this is a good book for someone who is just exploring their interest in gender bending or is after some soft core D/s reading.

Reviewed by Catherine

David Weaver
self published

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Paddles


Valerie Burbon is a top ad executive who regularly puts in 60 hour weeks and relaxes her tensions by a really good weekend fuck. This weekend, she encounters Charles Vanquil, who introduces her to the sensuous and frightening world of domination and submission. Soon, she is descending deeper and deeper into this lifestyle,finding her submissive nature by submitting to Charles and the rest of his submissives. But will this life destroy her, or is the willing submissive, open to total control by a strong Master or Mistress, the person she was meant to be?


Valerie jumps into the lifestyle with both feet. A natural born submissive, she pushes her limits constantly in an effort to please. While BDSM is an all new experience for her, she enters it with an open mind that allows her to experience things that would push the limits of a lot of people.

I have to say, I really liked Valerie. She has a high profile management career yet sinks into herself and her submission with ease when introduced to the right people. It is nice to read a story about a woman who is successful and has to be somewhat dominant at work and turns around and embraces her submission with ease and pleasure.I could also relate to a lot of her feelings, desires, and experiences which helped in my enjoyment of her story.

There are a lot of secondary characters that if I tell you too much about, will spoil a few parts of the story. But, they all have an impact on Valerie’s journey and introduction to BDSM. Her journey does take her on a few unfortunate paths, but that doesn’t stop her from continuing to explore.

I would have loved to give this book 5 Paddles, but I just couldn’t based on a lot of formatting and editing errors that kept interrupting my enjoyment of the story. There are a lot of grammatical errors that just cause your brain to have to refocus on the passage. The errors aren’t so bad that I had to stop reading, but they are noticeable enough that I have to mention it. As for formatting things, I would have really preferred to see people thoughts in italics or something other than the same quotes as conversation – that got a bit distracting at times when I had to reread a section to determine if something was spoken or a thought.

If you are looking for a more hardcore BDSM story, this one is perfect. I absolutely loved reading Valerie’s story and was sad when it ended. While there area lot of elements from whipping, bondage, shrink-wrap, orgasm control,humiliation and so much more, there is a lot of communication as Valerie tries to explain things to people outside of the lifestyle, she (and the reader) learns a lot more than just reading her thoughts. Some of Valerie’s experiences are beyond my limits, and some are sadly abusive – there are also many scenes with multiple partners, Male Dominants, Female Dominants, female/female, and so much more. Valerie’s journey will make you laugh, cry, and even ache to experience some of the things she does. This is a book that will be on my shelves for a long time.

Reviewed by Star

Freedom is Slavery
Louis Friend
[link to buy]
ISBN-10: 0557207096
ISBN-13: 978-0557207091

Rating: 1 out of 5 paddles

The reading and evaluation of this book went through several stages. When reading the introduction anticipating a novel I discovered in fact it was a series of short stories as the author refers to them or fantasies as he discusses. I agreed with him as I read the Introduction that fantasies do not necessarily have to come true but are not bad to indulge.

I read the first story, Sybarta and then the second, Big Fun in a Small Space and they were indeed enjoyable, but left me wanting and wondering. What happened to the rest of the story, or if I kept reading there would be at some point and intersection where they would come together? This seemed a logical assumption as each story were all told from the same first person point of view. Plus as I read the narrator of the story was always male. But slowly the realization set in that there was no more to any of the stories, nor do they come together to form a whole. Each story is separate and distinct, except for the teacher sequence in the middle of the book, but even then only the characters are the same.

What happened though as I read the first few stories was to understand that they don’t really stand as what I normally consider stories.There are always 2 and sometimes 3 characters, but the primary character in each episode is simply referred to as “I”, with no descriptors of the person and minimal reference to who he is, other than male. The secondary character is usually given a short physical description and where the story is taking place is mentioned.

Next what follows is a description of a BDSM scene. Most of the scenes are dominated by a Femdom and a few with a Maledom oriented perspective. The scenes and activities are minimally described. The physical and emotional reactions of the participants are almost always the same.

What the stories reminded me of were the old beta tapes one would find at the porno shops where two people meet, look at each other and simply shed their clothes for an afternoon of sex. Each story has the potential to be individually stimulating, but collectively left me with a hollow feeling. Where was the plot?, Character development? I reached the point where I might have been satisfied for just a decent character description. A theme, a setting, or any of the required structures of a story.

What he has written is a series of stand alone BDSM scenes, most are which I would guess are based on some sort of personal experience. He does much better when they are Femdom stories, as most of the Maledom perspectives feel thin.

The difficulty goes back to it feeling hollow in the end.

Reviewed by Ronni.

The Contract
Book 1
[link to buy]

Rating: 3 out of 5 Paddles


Before the end of ‘The Contract’ ..Sondra will make her decision. Does she trust Nick enough to proceed with such a huge step in their relationship for as new as it is? They are getting closer outside the office and get along well. Both of them are workaholics so the time constraints can be tough to squeeze in a getaway here and there. Nick is enjoying the fact that he can sway her toward his lifestyle but can she handle all that may entail?


The first book in the series is a very short story at only about 35 pages. We learn how Nick and Sondra meet and how he slowly introduces her to his lifestyle – something he has kept secret from a lot of people and the office. As Nick starts to introduce Sondra to several aspects of BDSM they begin to negotiate a contract between the two of them.

I liked the slow beginning of Nick and Sondra’s relationship. But, I didn’t much like how fast everything seemed to fall into place. Being such a short story, there is a lot that feels like its missing in terms of background. Sondra falls into being a submissive a little too easily but, it seems to work for them. The first book does go into the pain/pleasure relationship, a little anal play, some bondage and contract negotiation (very little). (more…)

Kallypso Masters debuted her BDSM club Rescue Me series in August with Masters at Arms, a unique 58,000-word erotic-romance series introduction that begins with three prequels that seem separate until the three men begin to come together in the months before they deploy to Iraq, where an unbreakable bond will be formed. (See Smashwords coupon code and link below for a free copy through Dec. 31).

The series sets the reader on a journey where they meet the heroes of the next three novels in the series—Marc, Adam, and Damián (in the order their books will be published). Marc’s romance has begun with Nobody’s Angel. Adam’s begins later this month, and Damián’s tentatively in April 2012. All but Marc meet their future heroines within this book, as well (but must be patient for their happy endings).

The man on the cover of Masters at Arms and Nobody’s Hero (Rescue Me #3), to be released Dec. 31) is Adam Montague, a retired Marine master sergeant, widower, and quite the master of the ropes. He loves performing and teaching the art of Shibari and in the still-being-edited scene below from Nobody’s Hero, he engages in some sensual “foreplay” as he prepares his new slave, Karla, for their upcoming rope suspension scene.

Special thanks to rope master TOYMAKER on FetLife for his input on this scene, teaching me to draw out the “foreplay” to help build the anticipation and excitement, and for suggesting he “flog” her with the rope before binding her with he. He also provided much more detail in the completed scene (which was about 20 manuscript double-spaced pages long, excluding aftercare!) as the scene progresses in the book.

Excerpt from NOBODY’S HERO:

“Clasp your hands behind your lower back, just above your ass.”

The abrupt command sent her erotic nerve-endings back on full alert. She straightened her back yet again and did his bidding.

He released her and picked up a red-dyed bundle of rope, unwrapping it and finding the ends. She lifted her butt off her heels and knelt taller for him, her breasts jutting out, erect and proud. She watched in the mirror as he shook out the strands of red rope, preparing for the binding to begin, she thought.

Instead, he took the strands, threading them between his fingers, and rubbed the cold rope and his warm hands over her bare breasts. The sensual feel of the rope, along with the pressure of his hands, elicited a moan from deep within her throat. This was so different from the demonstration at Marc’s house. For one, her breasts were bare this time. But he seemed to be spending so much more time preparing her.

“That’s right, kitten. Embrace the rope.”

“Yes, Master,” she whispered. Her heartbeat fluttered. Waiting. Wanting. Needing.

“Breathe, baby.” Master Adam’s voice reminded her of the need for oxygen. She took a deep, relaxing breath. He continued to rub the rope over her breasts, abdomen, mons, even pressing it against her thong-covered clit and pussy, causing a delicious friction there that sent heat radiating throughout her body. Her breath hitched as her nipples became even more engorged. The rope and his hands moved up her arms leaving a trail of gooseflesh in their path. She fought to maintain her kneeling position, but the sensory overload left her wanting to puddle at his feet.

“Breathe, kitten.”

She did as he commanded. His hands returned the rope to her breasts and her breath caught when he brushed the rope across her sensitive nipples. No longer able to fight gravity, she sagged against him, her head lolling to the side. His body surrounded her and enfolded her. His lips kissed the curve of her neck, then nipped at the flesh there. She caught her lower lip between her teeth and panted. Now. She wanted him to touch her now.


How could she do anything else?

He rose and she planted her butt against her heels for support. She watched the rope dance in his hands as he prepared it for the binding to come. Her eyelids drifted shut. Of a sudden, the rope lashed her torso, licking repeatedly at her tender nipples. She opened her mouth to scream, but realized she wasn’t experiencing pain, but surprise. He walked in a circle around her continually flogging her with the ends of the rope—touching every exposed area, shoulders, breasts, arms, thighs, hands, butt. The nerves rose to the surface to welcome the sensual lash of the rope.

Just as suddenly, he stopped and knelt behind her again, separating her hair into two shanks and letting one fall over each shoulder to cover her breasts. Apparently, this time, he wasn’t going to bind it in the hair corset as he had at Marc’s house.

“Bend your elbows behind your lower back at ninety-degree angles and grab the opposite elbows with your hands. Your inner wrists need to be flush against your forearms.”

Karla hoped she did everything he’d ordered in his list of rapid-fire commands. Where did he want her elbows, hands, and wrists? Had she done it right?

“Good girl.”

Her body warmed at his praise. Her breasts jutted out even further in front of her, making them seem larger than they were.

“If you feel any tingling, especially in your arms, and eventually your legs, I want you to tell me immediately. Understand?”

“Yes, Sir.”

He tied her forearms together, midway between her wrist and elbow, and with bone-melting movements, Master Adam’s hands wrapped, twisted, and threaded the rope with quick precision around her upper arms. She pictured countless scenes of his club demonstrations where he created what looked like a box out of the model’s arms, wrists, and hands. Occasionally, he tugged at her arms and the ropes, checking for tightness or comfort, maybe both.

She’d watched Adam bind Mistress Grant many times in demonstrations for other Doms wanting to learn the art. Those demonstrations had been so torturous for Karla that sometimes she’d had to turn her attention to other scenes happening in the club’s great room, because watching him touch someone else so intimately hurt too badly to watch.

But he’d been much more intimate doing Shibari with Karla than he’d ever been with Mistress Grant—and tonight he wasn’t performing for anyone but the two of them; wasn’t touching anyone but her. She smiled.

Soon he had her upper arms and torso tightly secured by the rope, her arms pressed snugly against her sides. She tested the bindings to see how much movement she still had in her arms and realized there was very little give, if any.

“Don’t move, unless you need to flex your hands or fingers. Don’t shift your body. The ropes will be placed on your torso, hips, legs, and arms in very precise ways so that, when I suspend you, I won’t put a strain on your arms.”

Suspend? She remembered the ring hanging above her. Oh, my! His explanation made sense. She didn’t felt any sense of panic, though. She trusted Master Adam not to harm her. He’d been her guardian and protector in many ways since she was sixteen.

Again, he worked in rapid motion behind her back and she wondered if there was a name for this design, but knew if he told her the Japanese word, she’d forget it anyway. He reached around in front of her and threaded a blue rope above and below her breasts, adjusting the tension and attaching these ropes to the red ones on her arms. Her breasts were squeezed between the ropes, but not so tightly they hurt. He pressed a kiss against her right shoulder and she shivered with need.

Rather than analyze what he was doing, she closed her eyes and surrendered to the ropes and Master Adam’s hands once more, letting him push and pull the rope through the bindings, moving her torso left and right, forward and back, as he manipulated her body as if she were a rag doll. Her head fell forward as she lost the ability to hold it upright. Her loose hair cascaded over her breasts and swung in the air in front of her as he bound her. Time ceased and Karla felt as if she were levitating off the floor, floating above her body.


When Master Adam took a shank of her hair and slowly pulled her head back, her eyes fluttered open to find herself staring upside-down into his mint-green eyes. “I’ve never worked with anyone so responsive to the rope, kitten.” He smiled.

That sounded like a good thing. She smiled, feeling half drunk, before her gaze settled on his lips. All she wanted was to feel them on her—anywhere. His smile faded. “Up you go, pet.”

His strong hands gripped her tightly bound upper arms and lifted her to her feet. He walked around to stand in front of her and stared down at her breasts, which had swollen and turned red between the rope bindings. When Master Adam bent to brush his tongue over one of her protruding nipples, she gasped at the hyper-sensitivity.

“Oh, my God!”

He chuckled. “I’m flattered, but you know better how to address me.”

“I’m sorry, Sir. I’m a little…disoriented.”

“If I didn’t know better, I’d say you’d gone into subspace.”

She’d heard Angie talk about the time her mind and body separated when the abusive Dom beat her. “I thought you have to be in lots of pain to go into subspace.”

“No, it can happen anytime a sub or slave so completely surrenders and is able to move outside her conscious mind. It’s like going into a trance—or being stoned.”

She smiled. “I felt that, Master. I floated. Time disappeared.”

He chuckled and stroked her cheek. “Thank you, kitten, for your sweet surrender. Those are the sweetest words a D—a Master can hear.”

Master Adam was pleased, which pleased her. She’d been a good slave for him. All she wanted was to be what he wanted. To give him herself.

“Time to heighten your senses even more.”

She felt herself grow wet at the threat in his words—or was it promise? She bowed her head. “Thank you, Sir.”

He reached out and squeezed her tender nipples until they were hard and even more sensitive, which didn’t seem possible a moment ago. From the right pocket of his leathers, he pulled out a chain with clamps on either end. Master Adam took her left breast in his cupped hand and bent down to place her erect nipple between his lips. His teeth bit down gently and she sucked in a sharp breath, feeling weak in the knees.

He stood tall again. “Perfect.” Still cupping her breast, he took the clamp with his other hand and placed her nipple between the pincher-like ends, then slid a tiny ring along the shaft closer to her nipple, causing the pinchers to squeeze tighter and tighter onto her nipple. “Tell me when it’s too tight.”

She tried to hold out as long as she could to show she could be a good slave and take what her Master meted out, but when she could stand it no longer, she screamed, “Now!” Rather than stop, he pushed the ring just a little further sending a raging fire of pain burning through her nipple, until her knees buckled. He grabbed her arms to steady her, chuckling.


“How do you address me?”

Oh, shit. She hadn’t called him a sadist to his face, had she? Then she remembered what she’d forgotten when she’d tried to get him to stop squeezing her nip. “I’m sorry, Sir.”

How was she supposed to remember protocols when he did such mind-blowing things to her body? Would addressing him as Sir ever become a natural response for her? When he went to attach the other clamp to her right nipple, Karla instinctively moved away from him.

“Do. Not. Move.”

Ka-thunk. Her stomach dropped into her pelvis at his stern words, which left her feeling even more skittish. He bent down and bit her nipple, causing it to double in size, and placed the other clamp over it and began to tighten the pinchers. She decided not to let the pain go beyond her tolerance level this time and quickly shouted, “Now, Sir!” But he continued to adjust it to about the same tension as the other. The pain! Oh, God! Then she realized he hadn’t asked her this time to tell him when it hurt too much.


Kallypso Masters can be reached on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/kallypsomasters) and on her Facebook Author page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kallypso-Masters-Author/260576087323803); at Twitter (@kallypsomasters), Goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com/goodreadscomkallypsomasters), and by e-mail at kallypsomasters@gmail.com. Her Ahh, Kallypso…the stories you tell blog can be read and followed at http://kallypsomasters.blogspot.com/.

Masters at Arms
Kallypso Masters
Kallypso Masters [link to buy]

Rating: 4 out of 5 Paddles

Masters at Arms is a prequel to a series about three men who formed a bond while in the Marines and established a BDSM Club in Denver when they returned to the United States. The Rescue Me series will include Nobody’s Angel, Nobody’s Hero and Nobody’s Perfect. Only Nobody’s Angel has been released so far, although the next book is due in December.

The three Doms come from wildly different backgrounds.

Adam Montague is a career marine. We meet him shortly after he lost his wife and he rescues a 16-year-old runaway from predators in a bus station. He eventually takes her home to her parents, but before he leaves, they agree to continue to write. This is a May-December romance with a vengeance. Adam is over 40 when he meets Karla and he cares for her like a daughter-until she shows up in his club as a singer. Then his desire for her throws him into major conflict.

Damian Orlando grew up in a loving but very poor family in California. While working as a bus boy following his release from juvenile incarceration, he comes across Savannah, whose father raped her when she was eight, and when she was older, pimped her out to sadistic clients. She is on the verge of committing suicide when Damian breaks into the room where she is being tortured, kicks out the men torturing her, then takes her to his special place on the beach where he makes love to her again and again. After she returns home, she discovers she is pregnant and formulates a plan to escape from her father.

Marc D’Alesso is breaking under the pressure of running his family’s resort in Aspen Colorado and the guilt of knowing his brother, Gino, was killed in Iraq. After an encounter with his former fiancé, who he found in bed with his brother before their wedding, he joins the Navy.

The three men serve together in Iraq until Damian and Marc are severely injured during a battle on a village rooftop. Damian loses a foot and Marc takes shrapnel to the chest.

When they return to the states, Adam retires, and Damian and Marc are discharged and join him in opening the Masters at Arms Club, setting the stage for the next three books.

This is a well-written book, one that keeps you turning the pages to see what will happen next. There is no HEA-but that is promised in the following books.

While this is an interesting approach to a series, I’m not sure it’s the best method to appeal to readers. Masters at Arms is not really a stand-alone book and until the others are available, it will be impossible to know if they must be read in order. With two of the other books not even available yet, there is a concern that the reader will forget the background before the other books are even available. I think this would have been better as an introduction to one of the stories, with a short follow-up included in the other books. Even knowing going in that this was a prequel, I was very frustrated by not knowing how the many issues are resolved.

What little sex is portrayed in the book is hot, and leads to the promise of more interesting encounters. The scenes exploring Savannah’s torture are heart-wrenching and not for the faint of heart.

An excellent read but really just whets the appetite for the follow-up stories.

Four out of five paddles. (It would have rated a five if any of the stories had been completed.)

Reviewed by Karen