Every passion has its price . . .
Journalist Sophie Ryder has been following Emery Lockwood’s story since she was a little girl. There has always been something in his haunted eyes that she couldn’t resist and now, when she’s certain he holds the key to solving a string of kidnappings, she’ll do anything to speak to him. Even if it means venturing deep into the seductive world of the Gilded Cuff, a luxurious BDSM club on Long Island’s Gold Coast and Emery’s personal playground. From the moment Sophie enters his shadowy, sensual domain, Emery Lockwood knows this tantalizing new little sub was meant to belong to him. However, Sophie wants more from Emery than just pleasure . . . she wants his past. And that is something he isn’t willing to give—no matter who is asking. But every moment he spends with Sophie, Emery feels his control slipping and he knows it’s only a matter of time before he surrenders to her heart, body, and soul.
Emery Lockwood is a millionaire a few times over, he is a man with very particular sexual interests and, he is a man who has all but removed himself from the world. Only when it is absolutely necessary does Emery venture out into the world and when he does go out, he does so with the bodyguard that has been with him since he was a child. At age eight, Emery’s world was turned inside out when he and his twin brother, Fenn were kidnapped from their family home and held hostage for more than three months. Emery made it home, his twin did not.
As a small child, Sophie Ryder was helpless in the moment her best friend, Rachel was kidnapped. Though she was able to provide the police with a few clues, Sophie wasn’t able to provide enough information to bring her best friend back. As an adult and an experienced investigative reporter, Sophie has helped the police solve numerous cold kidnapping cases but the one she is most interested in and the one that has consumed her for years is the Lockwood case. She has studied the case for years, knows every scrap of information that has been made public and, as of late is convinced that the person responsible for the Lockwood kidnapping is coming back to finish the job. If Sophie can get to Emery Lockwood and warn him maybe he will share his story with her.
Emery is notoriously reclusive and the only shot Sophie has at getting to him is to encounter him at the Gilded Cuff, the ultra-exclusive BDSM club Emery has long been a member of. Knowing she is well out of her depth, Sophie is surprised when she catches Emery’s attention and he invites her home with him. From the beginning, Sophie is up front and honest with Emery about her desires. She wants his story and if Emery agrees to help her, she may be able to bring the person responsible for Emery’s pain to justice.
From the moment he meets Sophie, Emery is certain she is a submissive waiting to happen and Emery is a Dom who wants to play. Emery’s experience with women has always been limited to the club but he instantly sees something more in Sophie and wants desperately to trust her, to train her and, to help her. Though Sophie is frightened by the things she desires, Emery is sure he can bring her out of her shell. All he has to do is confront his fears, accept that Sophie isn’t out to exploit him and, for the first time in a very long time, trust someone. Once the deal is struck, Emery and Sophie embark on an adventure that is laced with fear, intense drama, sexual experimentation and release and, more danger than either bargained for. Emery’s past has truly come back to haunt him, Sophie’s hunches are spot on and, before everything is said and done there is going to be a lot of pain on a lot of levels.
The Bottom Line: For the most part, I liked this read but there is one huge issue worth mentioning. My issue with this read is how little the BDSM and the Gilded Cuff actually factor into the read. No, I don’t need kinky sex on every page but the sex that does occur doesn’t happen at the club and what Emery and Sophia engage in is on the very, very light end of BDSM. I’ve read Tiffany Reisz and Jeffe Kennedy, I know that of which I speak. Based on the synopsis and how Emery and Sophia meet, I really expected more on this front and got very little. Given how intense the rest of the read is (characters, plot, etc.) more intense sexual encounters would have certainly enhanced and made sense to the overall read. Am I done with this series because of this issue? Nope! Even though Emery and Sophia’s story is mostly tied up by the end of the read there are some other loose ends (one ginormous loose end!) that I really want to see settled.
He slid his hands up to her wrists then connected his palms to hers. She responded, lacing her fingers through his, squeezing gently. His throat tightened and his eyes burned.
The simple connection—so sweet, so innocent—bound him to her, like a shimmering web spun between them, unbreakable and inescapable. He lifted his head a few inches, needing to see her eyes.
They were luminous, her lashes at half-mast. He was lost. A world of unimaginable beauty existed in the crescent silver of her dreamy gaze. He felt like a man from the ancient world, gazing north at the distant star Polaris, finding his way home by the loyal light that shone there. She saw him, every part of her, her light penetrating the shadows stretching out from his soul. He was open, laid bare before her, a man prostrate before a goddess.
Completely and totally vulnerable.
A tremble racked his shoulders, his muscles clenching and tensing. Then pleasure swept through him. He was in control of this luscious, precious woman. He could take her, give her such ecstasy she’d never recover.
Sophie licked her lips, her breath slightly uneven.
“You have to stop doing that,” she whispered in all seriousness, her nose wrinkling just a little.
He cocked a brow. “Doing what?”
“Kissing me like that.”
“You don’t like the way I kiss?” Her body told him otherwise as he shifted above her, the movement pressing his groin into hers. She raised her hips, seeking him, but the sheet and their clothes kept them worlds apart.
“I like it too much. That’s the problem.”
He rolled his hips again, reveling in the little hiss of frustration she made.
“What else do you like too much?” He dropped his head to her neck and nibbled on the underside of her throat. She shook slightly, her pulse leaping beneath his tongue. She was incredibly responsive and her inexperience made her reactions raw and pure. It was perfect. She was perfect.
“That. That’s definitely too good.” Her response was barely more than a breathless rush of words.
“Good. My sub has pleased me with her honest responses. You’ve earned a reward.” He eased off her and lay down beside her on the bed.
Sophie’s hands fluttered to her wrists, making contact with the gold cuffs.
“What are these?”
Sophie’s lips twitched, even as she narrowed her eyes. “Yeah, I can see that. Why’d you put them on me?”
He propped himself up on one elbow and drew a finger along the sensitive skin of her inner right wrist by the cuff.
“It’s part of our bargain. The cuffs remind you that you are mine.”
“Okay, so what’s my reward for allowing this?”
“You didn’t allow it, Sophie. You surrendered to it. Never think being a submissive is about allowing your dom to do something. You surrender. You give me your power.” Emery cupped her face and held her gaze, forcing her to confront his domination and accept it.
Her eyes—still wild, still free—darkened like a waning moon. “I surrender.”
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