I don’t know about you, but I’m
pretty sure that Club Shadowlands is the sexiest rabbit hole that girl can possibly fall down in West Florida. Now… where’s that “Drink Me” potion when you need some?!
As the second book in Cherise Sinclair’s Masters of the Shadowlands series, Dark Citadel
takes everything that readers enjoyed about the first book and ramps it up a couple of notches. The book revolves around Kari, a sweet, conservative school teacher who originally ventures into the posh BDSM club for one of their beginner’s nights on the arm of her boyfriend Buck. Fortunately, it doesn’t take too long to establish that Buck is a petulant, Grade A douchebag and that Kari needs a firmer, more experienced hand. Enter the delicious Master Dan (who we met in Club Shadowlands
). Everyone at the club knows that Dan never enjoys a sub for more than a single night, but there’s just something about Kari that gets into his blood…
I always find that if an author can’t make me care about his or her protagonists, the book’s a total bust. That definitely wasn’t the case with Dark Citadel
. I liked Kari. She was a delightfully contradictory character – a sweet, conservative teacher on one hand, and a sassy, curious woman willing to take a leap and explore her darker desires on the other. Minus the horrible fashion sense, I could see a lot of myself in her. ;)
And then there was Master Dan. Oh my god, what a panty-dropper this one is! A Florida police officer, he’s strong, assertive, loyal, and uncompromising (all qualities that make my girly bits sit up and take notice). It also doesn’t hurt that I’ve always found something incredibly sexy about men who are so obviously in love with and devoted to their significant others (not in an I-want-them-for-myself way, but in an it-warms-my-heart-and-makes-me-believe-in-true-love kind of way). Even though Master D’s wife died in a car accident three years before this story takes place, it’s apparent how much he still loves and misses her. Because Sinclair has established that he’s capable of this depth of caring, I felt reassured that sweet, vulnerable Kari was in good hands.
Unfortunately this book was too similar to Club Shadowlands
for me to be truly happy with it. Both were about introducing an innocent lamb… er… woman to the BDSM scene and D/s relationships, and so followed really similar plot and character arcs. Where two books by the same author and nearly identical premises may work for standalone titles, when they are part of the same series, I find that the second book loses a little something for the reader. I guess Dark Citadel
just didn’t have the sort of progression I was hoping for.
But that game of hide-and-seek in the garden!? What a way to end the story! I’m still
blushing just thinking about it.
Verdict: A good second book, but there’s room for improvement.