Club Shadowlands (Masters of the Shadowlands Book 1)
Thank you Ivie, Yvette and Lauren for THIS recommendation. WOW!! This one was a dark spark in my otherwise “vanilla” two week long book-fest since “Grey“. I’ve been looking for more intensity, and while this one wasn’t absolutely perfect (like some of our recent favorites), it sure sucked me in and held me captive. Literally. Okay, so not “literally” (considering the genre “captive” takes on a whole new meaning) but you get the picture Tee hee!!
This one was a thrill! A guilty pleasure for sure! Still don’t quite… get *it* but, fun nonetheless, so I have to tell you guys about it. It would be unfair to hide it simply because of it’s “alternative nature”. And while it was mostly *that* (yes… you know what*that* means) and not so much day to day normal life (which I would say is my only complaint – I would have loved more “real life”), I loved it anyway. I completely understood it, and it didn’t overwhelm me in the whole “lifestyle” intensity. I guess it’s one of those that goes easy on us “newcomers”.
And I’m starting to recognize another aspect of why I’m enjoying these books. You know my infatuation with the whole “human girl” meets “vampire”? Or normal girl runs into her rock star idol? You know that thrill you get when the “heroine” realizes that her world is taking on a whole new level? Well, you get *that* surprise, shock and intrigue here too!
“Normal” meets “Alternative”. The whole… “Wow… this stuff really exists!?” And the whole… “how in the world can anyone enjoy that!?” And yet, the “normal” connects to the “otherworldy”, despite the trepidation, and maybe even because of it. After all, some “vanillas” might have a… more “exotic” side
And did I just compare Doms to the “Otherworld”? Yup, I went there. This is what these “Doms” seem to be. Almost paranormal in themselves. Larger than life, demanding, almost unbending. The ultimate Alpha male. And yet (at least per these books) seemingly, totally, completely lovable, sweet, gentle and protective. *shrug* I dunno. hehe.
It’s all about let go, trust and and in turn, the Dom gives it back two-fold. It’s a mutual, somewhat “Symbiotic” relationship. And without the symbiosis, this relationship wouldn’t work. At all. It would be impossible. It has to be real, the truth, mutual and wanted, or else it becomes something else entirely. And a good “Dom” is not about that.
I also feel the need to mention… it’s not just a male dom, female sub world. The female “dommes” hold just as much “rank”. It seems to be more about personality. Not gender.
So there it is folks! My third? fourth? lesson in this “alternative” lifestyle (how many book in this genre have I read, now)?
So what is this one about? I LOVED how the poor girl got herself into this… situation.
Poor Jessica. After a date gone wrong, she gets into a minor car accident!! Landing her car, face first, in a Florida rain-filled drainage ditch. At night! She’s soaked, muddy, shivering and in a bit of shock.
Aunt Eunice always swore things happened in threes. So would braking for an armadillo be considered her third mistake, or was there another disaster lurking in her near future?
Cue the dramatic *dom dom dom* music here… *giggle*
Low and behold, what is that, she sees? A nice, yet somewhat ominous looking house. Perfect! Off her innocent-self goes to get some help. Sounding a bit “vampire-y” too you yet? It gets better!
So she knocks and a Shreck’ish looking man lets her in, but requests she wait in the entrance. After consulting the “Master”, she is permitted one of two choices.
- She can either sit and wait in the entrance until the storm dies down (about 6am). No tow trucks will be out on these back roads until then.
- She can sign some paperwork, change into dry clothes, and join the party already in progress. She’s shivering, and intrigued. She signs the paperwork. Without even READING it!!! Ahhh let the scary-fun begin!
So she could sit here all night. Or… be with happy people and be warm. No-brainer. “I’d love to join the party.”
“So impetuous,” the manager murmured.
The “Master” shows up with some clothes leads her to the shower, strips her down and PLOPS her right in it! Before she even has a real moment to realize and protest. Then… he stands there and scrubs her. ACK!!! He’s just so authoritative,no-nonsense and powerful, that she only barely protests. Okay, now you’re thinking… WHAT!? NO WAY! How. Can. she….? So yes, she protests, but barely. Let’s just blame it on shock, shall we. Again? Go with it? LOL!!!
“Um, excuse me?”
What was his name anyway?
“He stopped. “You may call me Sir.”
Like the Marines or something? “Uh, right. Exactly what kind of club is this?”
Anyway, down she goes into the party. And what a party it is! The “Master” (Zachary, but Master “Z” or “Sir” to you), takes her under his wing, quickly explains it, and sets her free to roam and discover. Oh did I mention… he’s a tad “paranormal” I guess you can say. He reads emotions, perfectly.
Her emotions were so strong, he could almost see as well as feel them.
“Lost your little sub, Z?” The bartender set a glass of Glenlivet down.
“Not lost. Released to explore.”
She reminded him of a kitten freed from the kennel, faring forth on a new adventure, ears forward, tail held high. She was definitely a brave little ball of fluff.
Loved all of it. Her shock. Her awe, her conversations with seemingly regular people, just not so “regular”. The really cute guy that flirts with her, chats her up and then suddenly gets down on his knees and…
“You want me to whip you?” She repeated in disbelief. Surely there were laws about whipping people?
Oh. She get’s herself into trouble… a few times. And of course, there are… repercussions.
Cullen appeared and knelt beside her chair.
“You’ve got to stop beating up on the members, sweetie. For a sub, you’ve got a real aggression problem.”
But she was so much fun!!! I loved seeing it all through “her” eyes… including Master Z’s own personal changes.
“Shhh, kitten, you’re all right,” he murmured, and something inside her relaxed. She felt his lips in her hair and knew she was safe.
Zachary found an empty couch in the middle of the floor and settled into it, keeping her firmly in his arms. Guilt was a hard lump in his guts. Never had a kind gesture gone so wrong. He should have made her stay out in the cold entry with Ben, should never have let her into the club.
So there you have it. A book filled with a ”vanilla” girl deeply intrigued by (and extremely leery of) this new world, and even more so by the unattainable “Master Z”. The main Dom, some even say… the best Dom around. It’s sweet, despite the what you might envision. Master Z is a great Hero. Again. If you just… “go with it”.
I only had a few moments (in this book) where I felt a bit *squigged-out*. Hee hee. Squigged! The “discipline” scenes, for sure. And a few times where I thought what the Dom was saying in his “Dom-moments” to be a bit… corny. If it were me and he said some of that stuff, I would have probably giggled in his face. Or wrinkled my nose. Or rolled my eyes. Or all of three. And then… well. He would have been mad at me. *Woops*. You know where that goes. But hey! Oh sure, he may seem all consuming and all knowing, but corny is corny!! I’m telling it like it is. Then again, there were plenty of moments where he was just… perfect in his role. And out of it.
Also, I had a few personal *squig-out* moments, when all the “subs” were together, and the “Doms” all… “protecting” them (which was needed a few times, for sure) but still, it just felt a bit… I dunno. That scene just reminded me of… a commune?
But overall, I connected to the characters, and okay, I think I *got* it.
P.S. I read book #2 (Dark Citadel (Masters of the Shadowlands Book 2)), and will be exploring that shortly in a review, but am needing to get back to some “vanilla” rocker, bad-boy angst…maybe even a vampire. They suddenly seem less scary to me. Dark Citadel was a bit too much “Dom ‘tude” for my delicate sensibilities. Maybe in small, spread-out doses I will appreciate these more so I’ll CERTAINLY be getting back to them, but… later.