Author: Lorelei James
Publisher/Year: Penguin Group USA 2/4/14
Length: 400 Pages
Series: Mastered #1
FIRST IN A NEW SERIES
In the new Mastered series by New York Times bestselling author Lorelei James, a woman’s desire to shatter her inhibitions leaves her unprepared for where that erotic journey will take her .
Former small-town girl Amery Hardwick is living her dream as a graphic designer in Denver, Colorado. She’s focused on building her business, which leaves little time for dating—not that she needs a romantic entanglement to fulfill her. When her friend signs up for a self-defense class as part of her recovery after an attack, Amery joins her for support. That’s where she meets him.
Ronin Black, owner of the dojo, is so drawn to Amery that he takes over her training—in public and in private. The enigmatic Ronin pushes Amery’s boundaries from the start, and with each new tryst, Amery becomes addicted to the pleasure and to him. But when Amery senses Ronin is hiding something, she questions her total trust in him, despite the undeniable thrill of his possession .
When this story opens, we meet Amery when she’s trying to help her employee Molly recover from trauma. This turns out to be a great thing for Amery given that she’s from such a sheltered background that she’s never really put herself into a position where she’s challenged all that she believes in.
What we get in this first installment of the series is the journey that Amery goes in in coming out of her shell sexually, while starting a relationship with someone that is completely different than everything that she knows. Ronin is dark and mysterious and ‘violent’ in a sense and she’s never been around that before. His violence is controlled though – so it’s one of those things that doesn’t scare Amery at all, and she knows that 1 he would never hurt her and 2 he will always protect her.
What’s nice about this story is that given the nature of what Ronin does, that he’s Master Black or Sensei in the dojo, we know that he needs and craves control. this is something that will continue to manifest itself in Amery’s life, culmination in a point of no return in a sense. It’s only at the urging of one of Ronin’s co-workers Knox that she’s even willing to have the conversation of what it is that drives Ronin.
I have to say that while the story centers around the relationship between these 2, we get a nice mix of the balance of life in here as well. Not only do we have the struggle of Amery’s business and the fact that things aren’t going in the right direction for her, we also have the peppering in of her friends story lines so there’s a good hum to support the bigger plot.
It’s only the last third of the book that we get into the depth of what’s really going on here. For the first half or so, we are cruising along, seeing how much Ronin can teach Amery and really getting some hot steam and passion between them. Ms. James does a great job in really being accurate in how she depicts the scenes between them, and i think that it adds to what the reader is able to imagine and engage in.
But like i said, it’s only towards the end that things get juicy. By this point we know that there are a LOT of secrets being kept and we don’t know what they are and what it will mean to everyone involved. we also don’t know who knows about these secrets- so that makes it all the more complicated. i think that where we are left in this story is a great cliff hanger – given that we are just learning some things that i didn’t quite expect, and it drives a wedge in between some folks.
I can’t wait to see where Unbound takes us, given that we’re starting to see the light, and while i know that the journey won’t be an easy one, i can certainly expect that it will be HOT. knowing that Ronin and Amery can’t keep their hands off each other, it’s ‘bound’ to be something impressive to see their story continue.