|From Joey W. Hill—author of the Knights of the Boardroom series—comes a novel of erotic games and power plays, in which an adventurous woman attempts to break down her own barriers.
Athena is an accomplished businesswoman in control of every aspect of her life. But since the death of her husband, she’s had the desire to explore submissive cravings she’s had for some time. Unfortunately, Athena is known as a Mistress, because that’s the role she’s always played.
Her type A personality was strong enough to serve her husband as a Domme because that’s what he needed. It’s not until she meets Dale, a retired Navy SEAL, that she attempts to discover what her own submissive desires are. But letting go of her control is not so easy.
Fortunately, Dale is an accomplished Master who can help Athena live out her fantasies. And as she slowly surrenders to his touch, both of them will learn more about the nature of love between Dominant and submissive, and how it defies all expectations.
Athena was a Mistress to her husband, Roy, and after his death she became lost. She embraced her Mistress side because her husband needed that from her and it was easy for her to give that to the man she loved. But now, she’s wondering if her need to give was really a deeper part of her being submissive, the part of her that always wants to care for people and manage things. She’s confused and still seems so weary even though her husband’s been gone for a few years now. She throws herself into work and helping various charities but something’s missing. When she visits Release, the club that she and Roy belonged, to and sees Dale Mastering a submissive she’s instantly taken, not only with the scene but with the man himself. Later that night they meet when he comes to her aid during an attempted robbery at a gas station across the street from the club. They decide to meet outside the club to figure out if the attraction between them has any depth and if Athena is really ready to be submissive.
I’d be wrong to not start this review by talking about Athena. She goes through some very heavy, life changing moments moving from a grieving widow to a woman who’s ready to live and love again. It’s not an easy journey at all but with Dale’s help she starts to understand more about her wants and needs and manages to let go for the first time in her life and gives the decision making power to Dale. It’s hard for her in many ways but what I most appreciated was her husband wasn’t forgotten nor did he ever become a “third person” in Athena’s relationship with Dale. Athena remembers moments with Roy, his favorite sayings, the good times and those memories are worked into her relationship with Dale in such a way that it just adds an extra layer and that’s all because of Dale and his acceptance of Athena and her need to talk about Roy and remember the good times and love she felt for this man. Roy certainly isn’t a focus of this book, but it’s a small part of the overall story that stood out to me.
Now Dale has his own set of issues, having lost his leg while serving as a Navy SEAL. It hasn’t slowed him down but that balance between being a Master and letting this one small piece of vulnerability out is something that he struggles with. There’s trust issues on both sides between Dale and Athena that need to grow and develop and with the way that Joey Hill can craft not only a romance but a relationship on page, it’s captivating to watch this all unfold on page for this couple.
I’ve read a lot of BDSM/erotic books where sex just seems to be tossed in for the sake of sex and everything including the kitchen sink seems to be included. Not so here – Dale and Athena have a very intense Dominant/submissive relationship and Dale pushes Athena in many aspects of this. Whether it’s spankings for punishment, bondage, or a scene at the club, he pushes her boundaries forcing Athena to let go of the control, trust him and truly surrender to her submissive side. All the sex/BDSM scenes between them have a deep meaning and serve to further their relationship in some way. It’s refreshing because lately a lot of books in this genre are reading the same to me, sex sex sex and more sex. Unrestrained gives us sexy moments, but it reads more personal, more in depth and the scenes are important for the growth of Dale, Athena and their relationship.
There were moments when Dale and Athena would be in a Dom/sub scene together that are heavy to read but Hill manages to make this about their overall relationship, not just the Dom/sub portion of their lives. That balance is so important because we get a good balance of scenes with Dale and Athena away from them being Dom/sub, showing how they are coming together and connected in many different ways. I found myself caring a lot about this couple, especially as the book went on and it ended up being a very satisfying read and one I’d definitely recommend.
Release Date: December 3, 2013
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*Book provided by publisher for review*