I've re-read this book many times over the years since it was first released. Cherise Sinclair has become the go-to author I read and recommend when I'm looking for good erotic, BDSM, romance. Her Masters of the Shadowlands series continues to get better and better and I almost can't help but love it.
A lot of how you end up feeling about this book is going to depend on how you go into it. I do have some qualms about some of the things that happen between Z and Jessica, and some of the decisions - or lack thereof - that Jessica makes. However that doesn't take away from my overall enjoyment of the novel.
My biggest concern with this book probably comes directly at the beginning; Jessica's been in a car accident, is soaked and seeking shelter from the storm. She walks up to Club Shadowlands, unknowingly, looking for shelter. And there, freezing and unable to stop shivering, her mind not really working, she's required to sign consent papers in order to get in someplace warm to wait for help.
I do understand the reasoning for the consent forms, and her signature. With that type of club it's absolutely necessary. Honestly, health clubs won't let you walk around unescorted without signing consent and liability forms. But she was clearly in distress. There had to be an office she could have gone to, or something. Though that option wouldn't have moved the story along, so I eventually just accepted it and moved on. Once past that I fairly easily got into the story.
I liked watching Jessica be introduced to something so outside her comfort zone, and something she so clearly wanted to learn and experience more of. Master Z is the perfect person to show her everything she's curious about. Jessica's uncomfortable in her body, and I loved how it was shown that Z found her beautiful, without shaming other body types. One of my favorite things about her was her determination - to face her fears, her desires and recognize her needs. Accept them, and acknowledge them. She didn't back down from what she was feeling once she realized she was feeling it. The only thing I didn't like is that she was all too quick to dismiss herself in other people's eyes. It's an insecurity thing, and I understand it, but it's not my favorite thing to read. I do like how Z step by step allays any of her fears though.
I also really love how, with this being a short story, it's not all HEA (happily-ever-after) by the end. It's clear they're together and going to move forward in their relationship, but love's not declared, she's not moving in, they're not getting married. It's so refreshing.
And, I'd be remiss, if I didn't talk about the tension and the sex - which is scorching hot! This book is so utterly readable, pulling you along on this journey into consensual BDSM and so tantalizing while it does it. Cherise Sinclair is the first name I say when someone is looking to dive into BDSM erotica. I've recommended her hundreds of times and many of my friends that had doubts ended up enjoying something they never thought they would. Since my introduction I've read a lot more in this particular sub-genre, and I still haven't found anyone that combines all the elements as well as Ms. Sinclair. Club Shadowlands is a quick, sexy start to a series and a wonderful introduction, or addition, to a genre.