She’s his heaven and his hell…
Muriel Stewart has spent the past year grieving the loss of her husband. Now that time has passed, her inner submissive demands Muriel find a new relationship to fulfill her need to love and serve. But there’s only one man who makes Muriel yearn for the intimate Dom/submissive connection the way her husband did, and that’s his best friend, Mathew Galinda … a man who can barely tolerate being in her presence. Matthew Galinda buried his own heart and needs the day Muriel Stewart married his best friend and business partner. He’s spent the last eleven years keeping Muriel at a distance, tortured by his love for a woman he could never have, and filled with shame for coveting what wasn’t and would never be his. Not even his best friend’s unexpected death could change that fact. Until Muriel decides she’s ready for a new Dom and she wants Matthew to fill that role. Having Muriel in his life is all Mathew has ever wanted. She’s his heaven and his hell, and could be his salvation if he can get beyond his past, his shame, and the guilt he feels for not having saved Ian’s life.
My Rating: 5/5 stars
For the past year, Muriel Stewart has denied one very important aspect of herself, her sexual nature and intense desire to submit to her Dom. The denial is in no way a punishment but because her Dom, who was also her husband has been gone for that length of time. In the past year, Muriel has done her best to reclaim parts of her life and her identity and that means going back to Pandora’s Playground.
Pandora’s Playground wasn’t just a safe place for Muriel and her husband to explore their sexual preferences, it was also a place where many of their inner circle and most trusted friends are members. Going back to Pandora’s is always something Muriel has intended to do but it is an incredibly emotional event that she is, quite frankly terrified of going through. Putting off going to Pandora’s is no longer an option when Muriel’s friend, Lucas Steel calls and requests her presence. Though she is nervous, Muriel also knows Lucas has her best interests at heart and would never push her to do something she wasn’t completely ready for. Lucas has prepared not just a welcome back party for Muriel but also some light play with him and their mutual friend, Matthew Galinda.
For years, Matthew Galinda has shelved his own feelings and only indulged his sexual needs with woman who understand there will never be anything beyond a sexual relationship. Matthew isn’t a cold-hearted bastard but a man who has loved one woman, and one woman only for many years, Muriel Stewart. When Muriel chose Ian, Matthew’s best-friend Matthew knew he could never reveal his feelings for her. In an effort to protect his friend and their friendship, Matthew has spent years either avoid Muriel or having as little contact with her as possible. Since the death of her husband, Matthew has done his best to help Muriel (even if she doesn’t know it!) and still protect himself. Time alone with Muriel would be his absolute undoing and if it didn’t mean revealing his true feelings, Matthew would have outright refused to help Lucas with Muriel’s night of play.
Muriel’s night with Lucas and Matthew isn’t just about reintroducing Muriel to the lifestyle she so richly deserves but also about putting her and Matthew together. Lucas has long suspected Matthew carries a torch for Muriel and if he’s right, the two of them together would provide both with a sense of peace they have both desperately been searching for. The night is enjoyable but leaves Matthew and Muriel totally confused about their feelings. Muriel’s response to Matthew was wholly unexpected and she definitely wants more but Matthew is certain he isn’t the right man for Muriel. Oh, he is willing to help her ease her way back into the lifestyle but long term, he is convinced he is no good for her. If Muriel is going to get her way, she is going to have to do some serious work with Matthew. She puts her plan into motion the night Matthew shows up at her office and allows her to care for him. The experience is both healing and sensual and is the first step toward becoming not only a real couple but a true Dom and sub.
The Bottom Line: Lynne hinted at this new story line in the last book of her Heat Wave series and man, did she deliver in this first installment. Muriel and Matthew are such a good introduction to the series with their long yet troubled relationship. Turns out, the troubled part of Matthew and Muriel’s relationship wasn’t trouble at all but the intense desire on Matthew’s part to see his best-friend happy and fulfilled in his life. It’s hard to dislike a man for that J Muriel is such a sweet woman and though you know she is still grieving over the loss of her husband, she is also strong and the one who has to step up and take control of her life if she wants Matthew in it. While the sex is certainly hot in this read and does delve into the Dom/sub lifestyle, the sex is really secondary to the story of two people who are finding their way toward a happily ever after in the wake of intense loss and sadness. As with the Heat Wave series, Coveted is well-written and populated with a group of interesting and fully-developed characters that will all get their day to play in Pandora’s Playground.
About the author and where to find her:
Alannah believes there’s nothing more magical than finding the other half of your soul, experiencing fiery passion, and knowing you’ve found happily-ever-after. She loves going to work each day (in sweats and a T-shirt) and writing about hot heroes and feisty heroines who torment each other in the most delicious ways before finding their happy ending. She lives in the coastal region of North Carolina with her husband, who also happens to be her best friend and biggest fan. They have two sons, a dog, and two cats.