I need to start by sharing two important truths that will absolutely color this review. Truth One: I adore Delilah Marvelle. Lady of Pleasure was a 5-star read and even though I didn’t love Night of Pleasure, I left that book truly excited for Brayton’s story. Truth Two: I do not enjoy any elements of BDSM. At all. In fact, I actively avoid books with these themes. Unfortunately, it’s a prominent part of this book. It’s not in the blurb, but the hero’s sadomasochism is the primary conflict. And had I known, I would have never picked it up.
So why didn’t I quit when I realized this? See Truth One. It’s Delilah Marvelle. I hoped that would make it more palatable. After all, Brayton has some really attractive qualities going on early in the book. He is gruff and intense. He is a clearly a good man. Plus, he is a scarred virgin hero. All of these things made me hold out for great things. It just wasn’t enough.
Brayton is so wrapped up in his need for pain, he forces himself to stay away from all women. But there is something about Leona that makes him break his own rules. She is a single mother, focused entirely on caring for her son. She has been wronged by the people she trusted most, and now her ex-fiance is back, trying to take their child away. Brayton comes upon her by happenstance, but sees the lioness in her shine through. When he steps in to help her, she treats him like no other woman has. She is not worried about his title or his scars. She sees only the man. He hires her to become a housekeeper and vows to protect her and her child.
Things move really, really fast here. They’re talking about marriage in days. And Brayton expects Leona to accept a lot. Not just his penchant for pain, but his demand to uproot her life and move to Persia, despite her debilitating fear of boats and the fact that she would never be able to leave the house without him. He hurts her. He wants her to hurt him. And he expects her to accept it almost immediately. It was a huge turnoff for me. People need what they need. I get that. But the way he simply expected her to be down with it (not only the pain but the Persia thing) was not cool.
There were some sexy times and, in moments, I could definitely see why Leona would want things to work with Brayton. But overall this did not work for me. If you’re down with sadomasochism (no judgement!), maybe it will be better for you.
*ARC provided by author for review
Click to purchase: Amazon
Master of Pleasure
by Delilah Marvelle
Release Date: November 28, 2014