I think this was the best Shadowlands book so far. With a great mix of erotic scenes, real life and a side order of crime syndicate and FBI, the story just flowed.
Sam as our male lead showed another side to the Gods of Shadowlands; older, sadist and emotionally closed, all something a little new! He didn't always get it right, he wasn't always perfect!
Linda, our female lead and submissive in this book, was again, something a little different. Older, mother, and masochist, Linda is also a survivor and tough as nails. Not that the other subs weren't, but this was just different, more real!
Despite the S/M relationship being a strong part of the story, and not to my tastes, I thoroughly enjoyed the story with all of it's ups and downs.
Things in the bedroom got a little repetitive and dare-I-say-it 'boring' at either of their homes, but Shadowlands play sessions were amusing and exciting despite being pain related. Towards the end of the book things got more interesting which helped the pacing around the climax.
I liked that serious relationship issues, including failed marriages and communication concerns were explored and felt very natural to the relationship. This was by far the best representation of relationships I've seen from Cherise.
Some of the supporting cast had large life events in this book which was a nice touch to remind the reader that the lifestyle isn't all sex and chains, but that real life continues too, with all its craziness.
If you're put off by the S/M relationship, don't be, it was handled well and the pain rather delicately described. Quite a few explosions and pleasure waves were ridden between these covers.
To me, this was one of the sadder tales in the Shadowlands series. And that's not because the others lacked sadness, but more that these characters felt very real, with Linda's self-loathing and doubt and Sam's emotional withdrawal. They both did and said things that real people do.
The added sweetness of Conn, Sam's trusted canine companion, and the lovely ladies of Linda's seaside hometown wrapped things up nicely.
I am quite interested to see what happens in book 8, the next one in the series! I will be getting to it in short order!