Are you a submissive or do you just want to play a bit? Stella isn't new to BDSM yet in some ways she appears new. Others have accused her of being a painslut, and not in a good way. Stella is a doctor of physical therapy who enjoys impact play, specifically flogging. Le Petit Mort is the local BDSM club where Stella enjoys bottoming. She rarely repeats with Dom/mes because she doesn't enjoy the submission part.
Stella is interesting to me. Not everyone has to be a submissive to enjoy impact play. I like how Ms. van Yssel shows a different side of BDSM with just the SM side of it. It does start out with SM focus and morphs into a D/s relationship. This doesn't always happen like this, but when it does, it is so satisfying.
Evan is new to town. He is a Dom with friends at Le Petit Mort. He's not actively looking, but if he finds a submissive, he is willing to play. He finds Stella aka Starlight to be of interest. His pursuit amusingly causes the strong willed doctor to shy away in stutters. Personally, I find a strong Dominant sometimes has the same effect on me.
I enjoyed this story because once again Ms. van Yssel demonstrates the realities of BDSM. Just because it's a group of BDSM people doesn't mean that everyone gets along and there are no petty swipes. I also appreciated the introduction of kink friendly professionals. Ms. van Yssel doesn't go into length about what kink friendly means; she shows it in a way that the reader can pick it up quickly. There are professionals - specifically doctors, lawyers and law enforcement agents who are known in the BDSM community as kink friendly. They do not advertise, but when a BDSM situation occurs and requires BDSM knowledge, it's always preferable for a kink friendly person handling the situation.
Ms. van Yssel's contemporary romance is sweet. I enjoyed the journey she guides us through Starlight's eyes. While I could understand some of Starlight's dilemma, I couldn't empathize. Some of Starlight's internal struggles with submission just didn't work for me. It felt as though she argued semantics with herself constantly. I do understand that this is a conflict some strong independent women deal with when they want to submit yet find that it may be "wrong". I guess since my struggle with this concept happened well over a decade ago, I barely remember it.
I recommend this book for new to BDSM readers. It provides great insight on the difference between a SM and D/s relationship. It also shows how one can have both. Who doesn't want to have their cake and eat it too?