Dear Ms. Sinclair:
The very first FemDom the story I have ever read was Natural Law by Joey Hill. Up until that time, I had only read maledom stories and I was unsure how I feel about a romance featuring a male submissive.
In one of Joey Hills books she describes a male submissive as a palace guard. That imagery was very evocative. In Servicing the Target, there is similar language. Mistress Anne refers to Ben as guard dog. He’s a brawny male, a former army ranger, and the complete physical opposite of her former “slaves” who were slender, muscled, model-types. Ben is one of the security personnel at the Shadowlands, a sex club that caters to the BDSM community. He’s watched Mistress Anne for some while and has developed a yearning for her. He doesn’t believe he’s submissive, but he’d like to be under her at some point.
Anne’s tastes in sex and men have been changing prior to the start of the book. She no longer gets off on inflicting serious pain. In fact, she broke up with her most recent slave because he was too much of a pain slut and wanted more than she was willing to give.
Even though Anne likes Ben and their one scene together is wonderful, Anne is reluctant to commit to Ben or to anyone for that matter. (For the uninitiated “scening” is what the BDSM community refers to as a session together). She doesn’t believe that she’s built that way. Having moved around all of her life as a military brat, Anne believes she is unable to form attachments without getting hurt because during her formatives years by the time she had developed a closeness with someone, it would be time to move.
Anne’s explanation for moving away from being a true sadist is that she no longer hated men and thus didn’t feel the need to hurt them anymore. I’m not a practitioner and my only exposure to this world is through books. I don’t know if that is an offensive thing for BDSM practitioners. It didn’t read offensive to me, but I did feel like it was a softening of the BDSM, particularly the femdom, to make it a more palatable story. BUT it did fit in with both characters’ over all story arc.
One thing that was challenging in the story and that presented an impediment for me fully buying into their happy ever after was that I felt both of them settled when it came to their sex life. For both of them to be a couple they each had to make large scale sacrifices and it wasn’t a compromise of where someone would work or live or handle money but an intrinsic part of who they were before they met each other.
Both characters are great individually and they both cared deeply for each other, but Ben is never really comfortable with being a true sub. Anne loves being a dominant. The HEA depends a lot on the readers willingness to buy into the compromise.
The pacing of the book is rather slow. There is a domestic abuse subplot unrelated to the development of the romance and it’s dropped toward the end. The interpersonal struggles Anne had with her father made a lot more sense and I wish the domestic abuse subplot hadn’t been given so much page space. I think it was to set up a future book.
There were also scenes (including sex scenes) involving previous characters of the Shadowlands series. Long time readers probably appreciate these scenes but for me, again, I felt that they were an unnecessary deviation from an already slow storyline. C+