For some reason, I have been consumed by military romances this Summer, especially those that seem to hit close to home. These stories feature men and women who have left active duty military service, returned to the US and reintegrated into civilian life. The majority of the characters are suffering the effects of PTSD, and other physical, mental, and/or emotional trauma. Perhaps this has been my way of working through some of my issues, as the wife of a former serviceman with PTSD. Or maybe I just like spicy, erotica featuring former military members and the people love them. Either way, anything that brings more attention to men and women who served, and continue to serve, is ok by me.
The latest story I read was Ann Mayburn’s “Still.” TEAR-JERKING SCORCHER.
On the surface Michelle Sapphire was not a female character I would typically like, as she was the typical beautiful, tall, blonde, rich, smart doctor. (Meh). However, she quickly established herself as a multifaceted woman I would want to know, as a professional (Doctor) and as a friend. While she was deployed to Afghanistan as a Navy doctor, she met Gunnery Sergeant Wyatt Callahan and they established a strong “brothers-in-arms” bond.
Upon returning to the U.S. Michelle and Wyatt were reunited suddenly when she bailed him out of jail, following an event triggered by his PTSD. She gave Wyatt two options: go home and never speak to her again, or agree to live with her for a month, as her submissive.
Wyatt accepted the challenge, and together they worked through their relationship, survivor’s guilt and commitment issues. Wyatt learned how to trust Michelle and their connection. Michelle, a Domme, learned to embrace another submissive into her heart and life. She dominated their scenes, but always ensured that Wyatt felt safe and cared for. The more they opened up to each other, the hotter the action got, and the deeper their emotions ran.
This was one of the most realistic depictions of PTSD, in men and women, I have read. Wyatt already respected Michelle, as a higher ranking Officer, so stepping into the role of her sub was a logical transition. By using the D/s relationship, Ms. Mayburn fully incorporated Michelle and Wyatt’s existing (non-physical or emotional) Officer/NCO connection to help each other through the realities of PTSD. It only helped to strengthen their D/s bond because they already trusted each other.
At the end of the book, Ms. Mayburn included a list of resources for service members and their families/friends that provided support services for everything from PTSD and other health concerns, to relocation, and homelessness. This was already an emotional read for me, and seeing the list at the end (in addition to Ms. Mayburn’s note to her readers at the beginning of the book) made me cry. She absolutely understood.
I hope Ms. Mayburn writes Yuki and James’ story, soon!
After reading so many books, some good, some bad, some great, about D/s relationships, I was looking for a novella that featured a Domme (Fem-Dom). I wanted to delve into the mind of a woman, who was a exploring, or discovering, her dominant nature. I was not interested in reading about a stiletto boot-wearing, riding crop-wielding, man-hater interested in cuckolding men, or a switch, or another ménage `n friends, etc. It was a short list. A very short list. I was happy to find Charming Carmen (Incognito 6).
Carmen’s friend Olivia (from Seducing Olivia [Incognito 1]) shared some of her experiences as a sub and Carmen was intrigued. Olivia (and her two husbands) invited Carmen to Incognito, their BSDM club, to see and learn more about the lifestyle. When she was introduced to some of the members, it was clear that Carmen was a Domme. She just had not learned how to express it. When Carmen saw Carl, she knew he was the sub for her. There was only one issue: Carl belonged to Kat, Domme and owner of Incognito. Oops? Awkward.
Carmen “won” a weekend with Carl (as her sub) as part of a fundraiser. They were both surprised to discover the connection they felt when the first met, was intensifying and could become deeper. Carl, an experienced sub, became her teacher. As they began to trust each other, emotions they sublimated also began to surface.
Their scenes were deeply personal and the writing really did Carmen’s character development, and growth into her Domme nature, justice. The scene where Carl finally submits fully, was beautifully constructed, and moves slowly and seductively. The sex was hot, and the connection between Carmen and Carl was palpable.
I did not read this series in order. In fact, as of writing this review, I have only read Charming Carmen (Incognito 6). The story stands alone, even though characters appear throughout the series in each other’s stories. I downloaded Collaring Kat (Incognito 5) and will likely read it next. I may work my way backwards, through the series, as most of the novellas feature more “traditional” D/s relationship with male Dom(s) and/or ménage.