Read as part of my Fifty Shades of Erotica
Kimberly Moore was a marine biologist until she was snatched off the street by the Harvest Association and sold as a slave. Raoul Sandoval is working with the FBI in order to bring down the Harvest Association (a process started in the previous book). He attends an auction with the orders to turn down the merchandise in order to get the chance to be invited to a bigger auction later. However, when he sees Kimberly and recognises her as Gabi's (the main character in the previous book) friend, he knows he can't leave her there - consequences be damned. In order not to arouse suspicion and to be in with a chance of performing a demonstration at the next big auction, Raoul must keep Kimberly with him and train her to be his. Kim must be able to fool the slavers that she truly is Raoul's slave, or else the whole FBI operation will be in jeopardy.
I said in my review of book five that I found Gabi to be a remarkably brave woman. Kimberly, to my surprise, managed to top her on the courage scale. She is an incredibly strong woman to have survived what she went through, and then to have made the choice to stay in Raoul's service rather than go into the witness protection programme. I really liked her as a person as well. She wasn't as bratty and back-chatty as some of the other subs in the series and, despite everything, she still had a great sense of humour. I think she might be one of my favourite subs in the series. :)
Raoul. Master R. I think Raoul is one of the more intense Doms in the Shadowlands (though no one yet, in my mind, has topped Master Dan). Raoul is looking for a 24/7 Master/slave relationship, something that is completely at odds with Kimberly's needs (at least at first). He's amazingly good with a whip (something that is demonstrated very early on and becomes quite important to the main story) and he practices a lot (which shows the care and attention he brings to everything he does). He also has a Spanish accent and uses Spanish endearments, which makes me weirdly happy. Imagining his voice is a pleasure, a bit like with Master Marcus. ^_^To Command and Collar
is darker than some of the other entries in the series, as it deals with themes of rape, slavery and torture. Be forewarned if you're going to pick this one up and any of that triggers bad memories.
I disagree with the reviews that say it was entirely unreasonable for Kimberly to stay with Raoul in his house. Firstly, the FBI agents gave her the choice between that and witness protection - Raoul himself urged
her to go into witness protection, but Kim wanted to help the women she had left behind. Secondly, it was necessary. If Kim had suddenly disappeared, the Harvest Association would have become suspicious and not contacted Raoul (in case someone found out he'd 'killed' her). Then they wouldn't have been able to get into the big auction and hundreds of other women would have suffered the same fate. Why is that so unreasonable? No one forced Kim to do a thing. In fact, every time something new came up, Raoul tried to keep Kim out of it but she was DETERMINED to do it. o.o
I also disagree with the reviews that complain about Kimberly's healing process. I mean, perhaps it is a bit quicker than it would be in real life because, let's face it, this is FICTION and the author is limited by page count and things. However, in no way was her recovery too easy or unrealistic, at least in my eyes. She's a submissive; she naturally craves to be dominated, though at the beginning of the novel it scares the hell out of her. She has panic attacks, nightmares, struggles through her fears, but Raoul is like a rock for her. He pushes her boundaries, though he doesn't move to fast or too far for her, and he does his best to keep her safe and happy under the difficult circumstances that they've been thrust into.
That aside, this book was a terribly tense read. A couple of times I had to put my kindle down in order to calm my nerves. Cherise Sinclair is a master of suspense; add that to her very real, very frightening villains and you have a potent mix. She also knows exactly how often to drag in little snippets from the villain's point of view, and how much to drag out the tension. This is a very hard thing to do, so it's something I admire greatly in her writing.
There were a couple of consistency problems that should really have been caught in a proofread, but they were not noticeable enough to be damning. The thing that stood out to me the most was the fact Kimberly noticed her wine glass was empty, and the next moment wine was sloshing about and she was worried about spilling it. This threw me and yanked me out of the story for a moment, but it's something that is easily done.
I also love how Cherise Sinclair manages to set up relationships for later potential novels, whilst not distracting too much from the main story. In this story, there were more hints of Sally and Vance/Galen, as well as the new potential relationship of Sam and Linda. I really like Master Sam, so I can't wait for Sinclair to write his story! <3 :)Also, I loved the introduction of Dan and Kari's baby boy and the fact Kim bought him a babygro with 'Master Zane' and 'I give the orders around here' on it! See, Kim's great sense of humour. That might have been my favourite moment in the story, though I admit to being slightly baby-mad at the moment. :)
Overall, I really enjoyed this entry in the Shadowlands
series, and I'm sad that there's not yet another one to read! I'll be on the look out for the next one for sure! :)