After the last fiasco, Sally gives up. She’ll never find a Dom of her own. Instead the computer whizz is job hunting in between bending the law—just a bit—to unearth the bastards who’d enslaved her friends. The clueless cops and Feds obviously need help.
FBI special agents, Galen and Vance, have waited to play with Sally for a long time. When the mischievous submissive returns to the exclusive Shadowlands BDSM club after an ugly relationship, the experienced co-tops are pleased. Realizing she’s suppressing her emotions, the powerful Doms push her—only to find that her sassiness conceals a scarred and vulnerable heart.
Shaken by the unexpected emotional exposure, Sally flees the demanding Masters and the Shadowlands.
Both Galen and Vance have reasons not to seek a long-term submissive, but when a brutal attack by her ex-Dom sends Sally into their home, the two agents are driven to protect her. To help her. To take her under command. Falling in love isn’t in the plans.
But as the little imp brings light into their lives, they begin to want more…until they discover she’s hacked into an organization that delights in burning people alive.
**THIS REVIEW CONTAINS A SPOILER AT THE END!!**
Let me begin this review by saying how much I enjoyed Masters of the Shadowlands in the beginning of the series. I loved the strong, dominant males, the club and the interesting characters Ms. Sinclair created. Unfortunately, her writing has taken a wrong turn, in my opinion. In the search for more drama, she focused on The Harvest Association as an evil force that must be reckoned with in every book since Marcus met Gabi in Book #5, Make Me, Sir. We lost the emphasis on erotic romance centered on a kink club and instead have to spend three quarters of each book battling a white slavery organization, the dominants over powering worry toward his sub, and the stupidity of the subs under their care.
No – I did not like the book. First I’ll explain what I feel is desperately wrong with the book and then I’ll explain why I even gave it 3 stars. Ms. Sinclair has created a fabulous world at the Shadowlands. Once that happens, the world kind of belongs to the fans and when the author forgets that, things crumble and burn. Sally – who has been in every book as the bratty sub who tops from the bottom and can outwit every dom there is – is finally up for her HEA, right? Wrong. First off, her personality has taken a major downturn. She’s now been an abused woman. That angle isn’t bad, except…through the book we find out this isn’t a new thing – but she’s only showing the signs now? Ms. Sinclair tried to explain this part away by saying her backtalk was a way of keeping everyone at a distance. Literary license that didn’t quite carry in my opinion.
In book #5, Z sends Sally home to Iowa to spend time with her family to get her away from the white slavers. She’s thrilled! Excited! Can hardly wait to go home and see her family. THAT was in book #5. In this book, her father was abusive from the time her mother died when she as like 10 years old, he blamed her for the woman’s death. Her step-brother was also abusive toward her. There is NO happy family to go back to. That is a major plot point that destroyed the book for me. I know authors can forget certain characters characteristics, but she should have re-read her books before she decided to write If Only.
Another reason I disliked the book intensely is Ms. Sinclair’s heroine. She calls her heroines strong brats. I call them idiots. Strength is knowing who you are – not backtalk. Sally, in If Only, is in a partnership with two strong doms: Galen and Vance. They are FBI agents who have been after the Harvest Association (yep, there we go again) since before we met them in Book #5. They want to keep her safe. But one thing Ms. Sinclair seems to insist on is heroines who ignore everything around them – the facts, the truth, and their dominant’s guidance – to act out and do things their way because obviously they are the only one who really knows anything. And, of course, she has this sub who I liked in previous books but here I found exceptionally annoying, save the day. The sub. Not the two powerful doms who have been FBI agents for over a decade. No. The sub with no experience.
Plus, she is constantly calling them names in her head. Idiot, stupid…the list goes on. She has no real submission to or love for the two men except when in a sexual scene. Sally always thinks she knows better. And the author writes the plot to make her opinion ‘seem’ right, even when she’s bloody wrong.
So why a 3-star review? As much as I disliked the heroine and the plot, Ms. Sinclair always writes well. It’s also edited well. Plus, I adored Galen and Vance. I personally think they deserved better than Sally, but they did make the book for me. But mainly it is because she writes BDSM scenes really well. In this book, there is a fisting scene that’s so hot, you’re gonna squirm and want to be Sally while you read it. If Only includes threesomes all over the place with anal, vaginal, and oral sex, plus that fisting scene which if the rest of the book hadn’t been so off, would have garnered a 5 star rating just on its own.
One final thought – the ending was like having the rug pulled out from under me. This is a spoiler so don’t read on if you don’t want to know – Galen, Vance, and Sally get engaged. But come to find out, Sally has no intention of marrying either of them. She explains they’ll write up contracts so she’s safe, but she’s not going to marry either of them. As if to confuse us more, Gabi and Marcus announce their engagement and Gabi convinces Sally to have a double wedding. Does anyone else find this confusing? Sally isn’t getting married – she’s just going to go through a non-legal commitment ceremony with her doms. Gabi and Marcus on the other hand are actually getting married – or are they?