[Reprint] On the mountain, the watcher seeks out evil women. And then they die.
Two years ago, when Jake Hunt uncollared his slave, she committed suicide. Guilt-ridden, he will commit to a woman for one night only, devoting his energy to a mountain lodge that caters to a BDSM crowd.
Kallie Masterson is tough. Unwanted as a child, she worked hard to become a wilderness guide. She’s proud of who she is, and hurt that Jake frowns on her for acting like a man.
After rescuing the macho guide from a bar fight, Jake is stunned that the ugly men’s clothing hides a warm, responsive woman. A submissive woman. When guide business brings her to the lodge on BDSM night, and she is obviously aroused by the play, Jake takes the little sub right into his world of pain and pleasure. He warns her: one-night-only. But she responds so beautifully–so joyously–under his command, that one night soon becomes two, then three…
Then a missing hiker reminds Jake of his past lover, and he realizes he’s become too involved. He pulls back.
I cannot believe I fell for it AGAIN! I remembered the push and pull between Jake and Kallie because of each one’s issues – both of which go a long way in explaining their behavior. But I completely forgot who was responsible for the murders and I fell for the not-completely-obvious but certainly the person the writing pointed you to subtly … AGAIN! I do not care that it’s been a couple of years since I last read Master of the Abyss, it’s not something I should have forgotten so completely. But I got so caught up in the unfolding drama between Kallie and Jake that I took my eye off the ball and was blindsided by the revelation that who I thought had done it, hadn’t. Of course, that didn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the book all over again.
While series readers met Jake in Master of the Mountain, Kallie is an unknown yet she wastes no time in making an impression as she defends her friends in a barroom brawl until a man lands on her … literally. Unfortunately for Kallie her pride is what is injured the most as she’s had a crush on Jake since the day she laid eyes on him and he had front-row seat to her humiliation. Because Kallie is pretty much a tomboy and refuses to behave like all the other women in town she has kept her feelings secret. So it’s a bit disheartening for her that the first time the man of her dreams touches her it’s because she’d been knocked flat on her face in a fight. Kallie does what we learn she does best – picks herself up and moves forward. All is well until her brothers finalize a deal with Jake and Logan’s lodge to provide guided tours for their guests and Kallie has to go to the lodge for BDSM night to get an idea of what activities might take place on a tour with the kinksters. When Jake approaches her with a one-night-only offer to give her a guided introduction to the lifestyle she agrees because she doubts she’ll ever have the chance again. And it was hot! Not surprisingly the night only adds fuel to Kallie’s fire, but unexpectedly Jake finds himself wanting a repeat performance. Even though they agree to a sex-only arrangement, both soon want more but neither is willing to admit it because of their personal histories and yet the connection builds and makes for some increasingly erotic sex scenes.
One of the things I enjoy about Sinclair’s series is that while the focus remains on the primary couple, readers are usually provided the opportunity to catch up with previously featured characters. With Jake and Logan being brothers it wasn’t really surprising, but I liked how Rebecca was included as an integral part of the Hunt family and inserted herself into Kallie’s circle. Not to downplay Jake’s baggage because it’s pretty devastating and made even more so as new facts are learned, but Kallie’s past hurts still break my heart when I read this book. To lose her mother at such a young age and then get bounced around from family member to family member, growing up feeling unwanted – I cannot even fathom what that would feel like. Jake’s rejections just compound her feelings of being unwanted and the culmination of these hurts present themselves in a scary as heck scene when Kallie faces off against the murderer, but at least this time I knew how it ended. I love Sinclair’s writing and am so glad I got the chance to go back and reread the Mountain Masters & Dark Haven series. I am so looking forward to rereading the next book in the series My Liege of Dark Haven soon as it was my very first Sinclair novel.