Beth is running from her husband, a sadistic Dom, who left her physically and mentally scarred. She can't escape her desires. Her refusal to give up control hinders any ability to become aroused. Her fears also limit her to the more docile Doms at Shadowlands. The ever observant Master Z picks up on this odd behavior and gives her an ultimatum: accept a more powerful Dom or lose her membership. She doesn't think she can handle a powerful, overpowering Dom but sees little choice in the matter, so she accepts Master Z's terms.
Master Nolan takes on the detached Sub at Master Z's request. He's an intimidating presence, and doesn't tolerate lying or disobedience. He notices immediately that her lack of responsiveness isn't anything physical but mental. He knows little about Beth's past and only what she was willing to let him know, which wasn't much. Rather than push her for answers or calling her out on her omissions, he uses gentler tactics to draw her out of her shell. Surprising both of them, he's the only Dom able to illicit any response to his ministrations. What does that mean for her?
As time goes by, they develop a true Dom/Sub relationship, and her trust in him grows steadily until her past catches up with her leaving Nolan devastated at her deception and Beth fearing for her life.
This was a heartbreaking read. Beth seemed so lost and so down trodden that I instantly felt for her. I couldn't wait to see her get the parts of herself back that that bastard husband of hers had taken from her. The descriptions of what had been done to her were chilling.
There was a part that was quite amusing – the private party held at Nolan's house. A Dom's idea of a private party is bound to be naughty, very very naughty.
The ending was deeply satisfying. Again, I'm amazed that the scenes aren't recycled from book to book. She always finds something new to make my jaw drop, or make me laugh out loud. Brilliant.