Review: Master Class by Cassandra Carr

Friday, December 21

Title: Master Class*
Author: Cassandra Carr
Series: n/a
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Publisher: Loose-Id
Format: ebook
Date/Year: December 11, 2012
Reviewed by: Michele

*This book was provided to the reviewer by the author in exchange for an honest review

Summary from the publisher:

Ryan Tomasi feels like a failure. His marriage is officially over; the ink dried on the divorce decree. His friend Jack introduces him to BDSM and he agrees to attend a Halloween party at a club. A submissive approaches him, offering herself, and how can he refuse the kneeling beauty? They do a whirlwind scene and Ryan is addicted—both to dominance and to her.

Lisette Rinaldo is returning to the BDSM club for the first time since ending a bad relationship with her former master. She spots Ryan and is taken by the combination of self-assurance and nervousness the man displays as he takes in his surroundings. And after he gives her an incredible re-introduction to the lifestyle, she knows she needs to see the man again.

Ryan and Lisette explore each other and the lifestyle, but what started out as playtime quickly evolves into something more. The problem? Ryan isn’t ready to get serious again and Lisette doesn’t want to fall in love with a guy who can’t give all of himself to her. Both of them are going to have to break out of the bonds holding them back from happiness to pass this Master Class.

My Musings:

I read a lot of contemporary BDSM romance novels and have a list of authors in that genre that are pretty much auto-buy for me. Cassandra Carr has been on that list for a while now, but Master Class is far and beyond my favorite read from her. It takes the standard plot of Dom meets sub on a path less traveled, not only by what happens in the story but also by what does not happen. It also features the hero and heroine of “Caught” as important supporting characters, although it is not necessary to have read that book before this one.

Ryan is just starting out as a brand-new baby Dom at the BDSM club where his good friend and co-worker Jack has been playing for some time with his beloved submissive Callie. The club’s Halloween party is the perfect open event for Ryan to scope out possible uncollared submissives who might be willing to scene with a new Dom. After finalizing his ugly divorce just that week, the last thing he expects or wants is any new emotional entanglement. But then he meets Lisette.
“Wow, those are eyes I want to obey.”

Lisette is an experienced submissive who has been away from the lifestyle since she ended an abusive relationship with her previous Dom, a man who had treated her so badly for so long that it took other people to point out to her that this was not what BDSM was all about. After her brief attempts at vanilla relationships, she’s finally ready to look for another Dom. When she sees Ryan sitting next to Jack at the club party, the attraction is instant and powerful. She kneels before him to offer a bottle of water... and herself. Neither she nor Ryan could possibly have anticipated what would happen next and how it would change both their lives.
“Cheekiness will be taken out on your cheeks, girl.”

The title Master Class is so perfect for what takes place, and not just because Ryan is an English professor. As we follow Ryan and Lisette in their careful hesitant dance toward what could be a genuine and lasting love, we see them teach each other not only how to interact in the somewhat stylized BDSM environment, but how to trust each other with both their bodies and hearts. The decision to let us in on what both characters are thinking and how they behave when they aren’t in each other’s presence helps us see the journey to their HEA as inevitable, if they can just believe it can happen.
“Oh, <bleep>. I did it. I fell in love with him.”

I know I’ve raved in previous reviews about Cassandra Carr’s skill in writing nuanced relationships in a genre so often lacking subtlety but it bears repeating for this review. Master Class is emotional without being overly angsty and touching without an excess of external drama. It’s one of the best new contemporary BDSM romances I’ve read this year and I hope that there will be more stories with these characters in the future.
“What better investment is there than us?”


Overall: 5
Sensuality level: 5
(light BDSM including erotic spanking, anal sex and wax play)

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