The Collar is my first book in the Submissive Series and my first Tara Sue book. This book is a part of a series but it’s a standalone and can be read out of order. This is Jeff and Dena’s story. Jeff and Dena are a second chance romance deal. They were together for three years before breaking up because neither of them knew how to deal with life’s inevitable bad sh!t. While together Dena wore Jeff’s “collar” and was his exclusive submissive. I’m not really that entrenched in the whole BDSM scene, all I know is being collared involved some feet kissing, candle wax dripping, rope and a whole lot of “yessir.” Even if you’re like me and you’re not a BDSM enthusiast, the depiction of the relationship in this book is much deeper than the trappings of the lifestyle practiced by the characters. When the book begins Dena is being stalked/harassed by some crazy creep and Jeff agrees to protect her despite the fact that they have unresolved issues the size of the Grand Canyon between them. As the book progresses Dena and Jeff travel down the road to understanding themselves and what went wrong in their relationship.
If you have a book called "The Collar" that is about BDSM relationships, there is a tendency to be biased into thinking the book is going to be one long kink fest. That is not the case here at all. I was totally shocked by how genuine and deep the depiction of the connection between Jeff and Dena was. This book is an emotional journey that describes what happens when people shut each other out in a relationship to protect themselves and to protect each other. The sex scenes, instead of being the central focus, serve only to further describe and enhance the connection between Jeff and Dena.
I'm not normally a fan of second chance romance but this is the second book I've read that is making me more of a believer. The history between Jeff and Dena provided a much richer foundation upon which the present day relationship was built. The past relationship is conveyed to the reader in a series of flashbacks that fit well in the context of the story. The book is told in the 3rd person POV but alternates between Jeff and Dena. I have grown to need dual POVs. I’m nosy and I want to know what everybody is thinking.
My only criticism of the book is regarding the mystery/suspense thread that is woven in the book. Throughout the book everyone is trying to figure out who is stalking and harassing Dena. I figured it out pretty easily and when everyone in the book discovered the truth, it was completely anticlimactic. First of all the stalkers intentions and motivations were absurd, and then the handling of the situation also fell really flat. For so much to be made of how serious the threat to Dena was, the resolution of that issue left me feeling very meh. The fact that the rest of the book was so emotionally excruciating made this one part of it seem particularly incongruous.
Beyond my one criticism, this book is well written and brilliantly executed, I highly recommend it.
**ARC provided by Publisher**