Reviewed by JustJen
Author: Kora Knight
Series: The Dungeon Black Duology #1
Genre: MM Contemporary BDSM
Length: 413 Pages
Publisher: Kora Knight
Release Date: September 30, 2016
Available at: Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Love. The most powerful force in existence, but also the most ruthless. Cunning and deceptive. Man’s greatest Achilles heel. Leaving all who embrace it weak and vulnerable.
At least that’s how Dom-for-hire Max Kelley sees it, after the love of his life knocked him on his ass. A brutal blow that not only stole his breath, but decimated his ability to trust. Turning him cold and cynical. The TKO he never saw coming.
Love. A mistake Max won’t ever make again.
Meaning no more relationships—not exactly a hardship. Just the thought of dating makes him queasy, and one of the reasons he doms for a living. To sexually engage without the poison of intimacy. The other reason? To keep his demons sated. With whips and chains, and scandalous kink. A fiery mix that always hits the spot.
That is, until a bright-eyed beauty walks into his life and refuses to leave.
Sean Matthews. College senior and flirt extraordinaire. Max’s newest—and greenest—client sub. Man, is he delicious; able to push Max’s buttons, able to make him crave the things he knows he shouldn’t. Sound the alarm, this can only mean trouble. Unfortunately, deterring Sean proves virtually impossible, and now Max finds himself at a crossroads.
Man up and kick his favorite sub to the curb… or succumb to his own caged desires.
Review: Yes, this can be read on its own, but you would really miss out on the anticipation of sort of getting to know Max from the previous series. If you’ve already read that, then you are probably chomping at the bit to get Max’s story. I know I was! He is Scott’s broody and mysterious roommate and fellow dom-for-hire. He comes across as cold and a bit heartless, but I just knew that if Scott was such good friends with him, there had to be explanations or reasons for his behavior. I was right again!
This story has a very different feel to it from Scott and Tad right off the bat. It has a more serious feel as it shows us Max early in life and what happened to him, how he met Scott (whom I would never have recognized from the Scott we know today) and really takes the time to show us the ins and outs of the Max we see today. It isn’t until the middle of the book that things start to catch up to the intensity we felt with Scott and Tad. There is some overlap to things that happened in their books, which I was actually looking for to see from a different POV. I was a tiny bit disappointed we didn’t get more of that, but this is Max’s story after all.
We know Sean started seeing Max from before, but again, now we get all the juicy details and how exactly Sean started chipping through Max’s icy exterior. I loved Sean! He was totally clueless about the BDSM, but he was such a trooper taking the chances to experience what Max had to offer. He struggles a bit with only getting so much of Max yet wanting so much more, but who wouldn’t? And he’s been handling things pretty well, IMO. Their scenes together as Max introduces Sean to the various aspects, instruments and resulting pain and pleasure are right on par with Scott and Tad. It is difficult not to compare Max and Sean to them, but they set the bar pretty high, so it was basically inevitable. Suffice to say, I was not disappointed.
Those of you who prefer closure in your stories might want to wait for the next installment to be finished, because while these guys are still on track and on a somewhat clear path, things end with them still in the dom/client stage, even though it is pretty obvious that bubble is about ready to burst open. I’m sure it won’t be that easy though, and I can’t wait to see what Ms. Knight has in store for them before they (cough*Max*cough) give in.
This is a bit longer, but was very well written and had me turning pages quickly. It was another winner for me, as I enjoyed this Scott/Tad-esque tale that had a bit more story to it. Bravo, Ms. Knight!
Overall Impression: I loved it
*I received a copy of this book from the author in return for a fair and honest review.*