The Master is part of the erotic Submissive Series, it's the story of Sasha and Cole. Prior to this installment, I read two other books in the series which focuses on a group of play partners. I really liked one of the books, The Collar, but this book reminded me more of the The Exhibitionist which I did not like as much.
Tara Sue Me is an incredibly talented writer in the erotic genre. She really excels at character building and conveying the connection between the main couple.In this book, Sasha (who appears in other books in the series) has suffered a serious trauma during a play session that got out of hand. Sasha's prior incident put her in the hospital and left her with acute PTSD. Despite her history, Sasha still desires sexual domination and wants to veer back into a Dominant/submissive relationship. Enter Cole. Cole is the "bad ass" Dom who knows how to deliver both pain and pleasure on levels that have become the stuff of legends in the play group. Cole is more than just a Dom, he is accustomed to a Master-Slave relationship.
The play group decides that Cole is the perfect person to transition Sasha from the traumatized sub who had a bad experience back into the proud submissive that she was on the road to becoming. I'm not entirely sure why the group thought that Cole was the best match for Sasha but hey, I just kind of went with it. My issue with the book is that because of Sasha's trauma, Cole decides that he can't have sex with her. So a lot of the book is Cole teaching Sasha how to be a submissive and how to trust a Dom. And that's ok but it got to be kind of tedious and went on for just too long. A subtext develops between Sasha and Cole as Sasha gets to know Cole more and their relationship moves past physical training to something more emotional. Sasha decides that she wants to try being Cole's slave and a new training process starts (lucky for us, that one involves sex).
My problem with the whole book is that it is very very mid-tempo. It's not fast or slow, it just kind of goes along somewhere in between. The issue is that there isn't any real extrinsic conflict in the plot. All of the conflict is internal to the characters. It is about their mental struggle to accept their relationship beyond the time boundary they put on it. This is a book that it would be really hard to spoil because not a whole lot happens beyond what you could read in the synopsis. The weird thing is, I'm not saying the book is bad, it wasn't. It just wasn't compelling and I was disappointed because both Cole and Sasha had the capacity to give us so much more. Despite the fact that these books continue to be a little low energy for me, I will keep up with the series just because the writing and erotic content is so good.
**ARC provided by Publisher**