Thursday, 9 July 2015

The Collar (The Submissive #5) by Tara Sue Me - ARC Review



The New York Times bestselling author of The Submissive returns with a scintillating new tale about power, danger, and jaw-dropping passion....

Nathaniel and Abby are struggling to navigate the challenging waters of their own relationship, when they get a surprising phone call from their partners in play, Dena and Jeff, who are in need of a helping hand…

Seven years ago, blonde, beautiful lawyer Dena Jenkins was tired of her carefully controlled life. Desperate for something exhilarating to help her escape the pressures of her demanding job and her senator father, she joined a steamy, local BDSM club as a submissive. There she met brooding Dominant, Jeff. The attraction between them was undeniable, and, despite Dena’s doubts, they couldn’t stay away from each other.

Except, as the years have passed, their blazing connection has proven difficult to maintain. Dena and Jeff have a history they’d rather forget, but Dena can’t let go of the past, and Jeff is ready to move across the country to give her space. Now, to save their passion, they’ll have to rediscover what it means to trust each other—and give themselves to each other completely…

Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: July 2015.

In the years since reading FSOG I've read a lot of BDSM themed books, one of the things I admired so much about Tara Sue Me's Submissive series was that it challenged the notion that people who live this lifestyle, that inhabit the BDSM world must be broken, must come from a troubled upbringing, that the only reason one can enjoy that world must be deviant in some way, I absolutely adored that in the earlier books in the series that Nathaniel addresses the misconception with Abbey, the perception that she shouldn't be excited or aroused by being dominated sexually, physically, that something is wrong with her that she has these needs she's never really been able to reconcile before, few other books in the genre have really touched on that for me, and as a result Tara Sue Me's work has always stood out.

Dena Jenkins is strong, smart and tough, as a practicing prosecutor she's spent her life on the side of the law, she's driven and focused, she also happens to be a sexual submissive, neither one of these things is the entirety of who she is, she had a D/s romantic relationship years ago with Jeff Parks, seasoned Dominant, he was her Master, best friend and lover but when things soured between them Dena was left feeling broken and alone. While they moved in the same circles it's clear neither of them ever truly dealt with their break up and grief of losing each other. When Dena's safety is in question Jeff is the one person she knows she should turn to, but with the ghosts of relationship past hanging over them, coupled with their still present explosive chemistry the question isn't whether Jeff can keep Dena safe, but whether opening up to one another could lead to a second chance or could it only lead to more heartache.

For a person who has no experience in the norms of the BDSM world, I always find Sue Me's writing not only captivating but informative, The Collar was no different, I was immediately engrossed, I fell asleep holding my kindle in my hand and when I woke I dove straight back into reading Jeff and Dena's story, having previously read The Submissive, The Dominant and The Training I was familiar with characters in this story, I had however not yet read The Chalet and The Enticement and it didn't hinder my enjoyment of this story at all. Dena has a fragile strength to her, you don't know exactly what transpired for her with her previous dominant before Jeff entered the picture all those years ago, while it has certainly shaped the woman she has become you get the sense that it is only one facet of her as a person, Jeff too seems to have a fairly luck lustre past, again it's only one part of who is as both a man, a lover and a dominant.

The building suspense of who is threatening Dena is definitely presence and while it does hold basis in this story, it proves to be a catalyst for allowing them to readdress their past hurts and heartbreaks, the true hero if this story if the relationship between Jeff and Dena. The unbreakable bond they still share, there's a beautiful fragility there, one that is strengthened by their ability to open up to one another once again, to build a better foundation than the time, one that challenges them to put the ghosts of the past to bed. The Collar is about so much more than just scenes, playrooms, BDSM, it's about trust, about forgiveness, about redemption and acceptance. It explores the dynamic between two strong willed people where in find more than just sexual gratification with the other, while there is sex, it never feels graphic, or as though it's been thrown in for shock value, it served to further propel this story that enchanted me so completely. I enjoyed every second of The Collar and can't wait to see what comes next by this talented author.

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About Tara Sue Me:

Tara Sue Me wrote her first novel at the age of twelve. It would be twenty years before she picked up her pen to write the second.

After completing several clean romances, she decided to try her hand at something spicier and started The Submissive. What began as a writing exercise quickly took on a life of its own and The Dominant and The Training soon followed. An avid reader of all types of fiction, she soon discovered she enjoyed writing a variety as well.

Tara lives in the Southeastern United States with her husband, two children, two dogs, and a cat.

Find Tara Online:


Chapter One

Present day

Jeff Parks knew it was taking all of Dena’s willpower not to look his way. And since he had once had that willpower bend to his command, he was well aware of the strength involved. On any other given night, he’d be using his own willpower not to stare, but in light of his recent decision—

“Have you been listening to anything I’ve said in the last five minutes?” his friend and fellow Dom, Daniel, asked.

Jeff looked back to the man standing at his side. It was late on a Thursday night and their local BDSM group meeting had just ended. No one was in a hurry to leave though. Everyone wanted to stay around and talk with Nathaniel and Abby. At the moment, Nathaniel stood beside Daniel, grinning. The guest Dominant had led a discussion about keeping D/s relationships from getting stale. Considering the two scenes Jeff had participated in a few months ago with the married couple, staleness wasn’t an issue between Nathaniel and Abby.

“Sorry. What?” Jeff asked Daniel.

“Nothing important. Just going over plans for the play party tomorrow night.”

“Your house at ten.”

“At least you remember that part,” Daniel said in his not-quite-teasing voice.

“I’ve got a lot on my mind.” He might as well go ahead and tell Daniel everything. He’d find out eventually and the two of them had been friends for long enough that he deserved to hear the news from Jeff himself. “I’m moving.”

“You’re what?” Daniel asked in shock.

“Why?” Nathaniel asked at the same time.

Jeff’s gaze automatically found Dena again. She was talking with Abby and Julie. Daniel’s submissive must have said something funny, because Dena snorted with laughter, shaking her head. Her long blond hair swayed with the movement.

“Ah,” Daniel said.

“It’s not what you think.”


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