**Please note, you must be 18+ to purchase/read this book. It contains things that might be triggers for some people. In other words, this book contains HEAVY adult content and some events/actions that may be offensive to some. If you are easily offended, walk away man. ***
Okay, so most of you know me and I don’t do BDSM. I mean, after trying to read book one of 50 Shades, I had a bad taste left in my mouth on the whole BDSM genre. I may not be a part of the BDSM community but I have researched it a lot when I was thinking of writing an erotic novel set in that world. I wound up not doing it because, well, I’m weird. Anyway, when it was offered for me to read two of the three books, I was hesitant. Even after I was sent the codes to get free copies of these books in Audio format because I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about it. I mean most times people who write BDSM has no clue and you spend the whole time cringing. And, I like female characters who talk back, who can tell you to go f*&k yourself and struts out with their middle fingers in the air, so this submission thing isn’t really may jam. But, a review needs to be written.
Catherine O’Chancey is a reserved, demure, and graceful submissive. All traits she trained hard to enhance when she discovered the world of Dominance and submission in college. In an attempt to start fresh after the unexpected death of her last Dom, Catherine moves to Dallas, TX to escape the shroud of darkness he left behind in her life. She has tried to fight the need that resides deep within her to submit, but finally has to admit she can’t for it is not a choice, but part of who she truly is.
After months of mental preparation, she ventures back into the lifestyle by attending a coveted open-night event at Dungeons and Dreams, an exclusive BDSM club. Is it fate or coincidence that Catherine garners the attention of one of the club’s board members who happens to be on the hunt for the perfect sub – a partner who enjoys receiving pain and pleasure as much as he enjoys doling it out?
Jayden Masterson is many things: a firm Dom, a shrewd businessman, and a gentleman. What he isn’t, is someone who partakes in relationships outside of contractual ones with his multiple, uncollared, regular submissives. While he likes rough sex, he is not an animal, and can find pleasure only if it is consensual. What his harem is missing is a pain slut; could there be one in his future? Upon meeting Catherine, Jayden feels an instantaneous spark inside him that has him wanting to know not just her body, but her mind. He wants to unravel her mysteries and discover her secrets. Through pain can they find the pleasure they seek? Can part-time pain lovers find full-time fulfillment when it’s not in their contract?
When I was thinking of reviewing this book, I had to mentally prepare myself for it. Like I said, BDSM isn’t my thing and it was right around the time when I was feeling particularly down on the romance genre because, let’s face it, romance isn’t romance anymore do I had just gone on a whole tangent to a friend of mine about how depressing that is to me.
BUT – surprisingly, I really enjoyed this story. Let me explain – While this books has HEAVY BDSM elements, because it is ROOTED into the BDSM world, there is also a romance that is true and strong that’s weaved very well throughout the story – I really appreciated that. Another thing that is quite evident is that RE Hargrave knows her stuff. The story as thoroughly researched and that knowledge is peppered throughout the table in a way that is palatable to the reader. Some books you read and the author just throws things in to show how smart they are and that is quite annoying.
Lets talk the narrator – To be honest, I expected a man to read this story. I don’t know why, but when I realize it was a woman, I was a little skeptical but holy smokes Holly Jackson! Her Irish and Texan accents were spot on and so amazing! The tone in her voice the way she read the love scenes – Lord have mercy! I kept looking around to make sure my volume wasn’t too high and that no one around me couldn’t hear. Holly is amazing.
The characters in To Serve is Divine are wholesome and true to the way of life in the BDSM. But they also have an added little quirk that had me smiling sometimes or laughing out loud during other time.
Jayden is just sexy as hell. From the authority he uses throughout his life, to the way he treats Catherine inside and outside the play room or when they are in a scene. From the contract he designs for Catherine to the way he talks to her, the way he looks at her, I could tell this guy is a good one. He’s all tough and DOM sexy but when it comes to his Jewel, he’d burn the world to the ground. I felt Jayden’s concern for Catherine, his slow turmoil about if he can actually be good for her.
Catherine-oh lawd-what can I say about her? First her Irish accent is darling. She is one of those females who has have to learn her worth the hard way. Though she is a submissive, she is strangely independent but knows when she needs to draw strength from her DOM.
The secondary characters all had purpose. I am a HUGE fan of secondary characters because they lend some realness to the main characters. In this story, they all lend a brilliant air of authenticity to the tale.
Yes, there are a couple of things that made me cringe – because well, it’s BDSM and there are toys and actions within these pages that aren’t things I would actually participate in – But I understand why they were necessary for the story and the genre to make it real.
Bottom line is this (And I swear I never thought I’d say this about any BDSM story but here it is) RE Hargrave has a winner on her hands. To Serve is Divine is a love story about two people trying to find their place in a world that can often time turn ugly. It is lesson of being careful who you trust and knowing when to extend trust. It is a tale of crashing and burning then being strong enough to stand up and give the world two middle fingers way up. But most importantly, it is a well spun tale that is enjoyable to read or in this case, listen to.