When Jessica runs her car off the road to avoid hitting an armadillo during a rainstorm in the middle of nowhere Florida, she runs to the nearest shelter she can find to wait the storm out. She never expects to find herself in a beautiful mansion housing an exclusive BDSM club. That one night among the forbidden, so to speak, she meets Master Z, discovers submission, makes a huge mistake or two, and her life changes… all for the better.
When I first started this book I have to admit to being a little bit apprehensive. Even though I had heard tons of good things about the Masters of the Shadowlands series, I hadn’t read much erotica with a BDSM focus when I read this book for the first time. It seemed a bit… cheesy, I guess? I also had a couple of issues with Jessica’s character at the start. I was having flashbacks to 50 Shades of Gray when she would mention Master Z touching her ‘there’ and I so did not want to walk that road again. Luckily, as I read on I realized there wasn’t really any reason for me to be worried. I fell in love with the characters and the story quite quickly and I ended up loving this book.
So, main characters… Jessica was awesome to read about regardless of my first impressions of her. This is a fairly short book, yet Jessica’s discovery of this world and her part in it was fairly realistic. She does a whole lot of growing through out the story and by the end she has totally become this confident woman who can own her sexuality. It’s refreshing to see. Master Z, regardless of the totally random mindreading thing, is also a great character for one main reason. He’s a nurturer. It seems like there’s this idea among some people that males who have a nurturing side to them are weak or less than the other callous dominant males out there and this book just totally blows that idea out of the water. There is of course, a brief introduction to several of the other characters who will get their own story and it was hard for me to not be excited to read about them all as they were introduced.
One thing that stood out for me as I re-read Club Shadowlands was how the author depicts BDSM. Since my first go around with this book I’ve read several other books that have a BDSM aspect to them but there are huge gaps as far as the realism or common sense goes in some of them. I love that the author isn’t afraid to hit key issues about this lifestyle head on in her books and that she doesn’t put maximum effect ahead of things like safety. There are so many stereotypes out there about this particular lifestyle and it’s awesome to read about it in such a realistic and intelligent way.
All in all, this was a fantastic opener for the Masters of the Shadowlands series. Once I got past those first 20 pages or so it was smooth sailing. I’m hyped to finish re-reading the series! I wouldn’t recommend this for those who don’t like books with a lot of sexual content in their reading, but for those who like a little spice with their lovin’, go for it! 4/5 stars.
Masters of the Shadowlands Series:
1. Club Shadowlands
2. Dark Citadel
3. Breaking Free
4. Lean On Me
5. Make Me, Sir
6. To Command and Collar
7. This is Who I Am
8. If Only