Review: To Command and Collar by Cherise Sinclair
Another winner and must buy from the talented Ms. Sinclair. I adore Ms. Sinclair's BDSM books. I call them gateway to BDSM books. In TO COMMAND AND COLLAR, we delve deeper into the BDSM subculture -- the grittier side of it. Kimberly has been kidnapped off the streets and sold as a sex slave. What she previously enjoyed for fun, she's now traumatized by the sadistic and cruelty of sexual slavery. At wits' end, Kimberly only longs for death. Luckily, intervention via Master Raoul saves her sanity and life.
Raoul is working with the FBI to capture and close down a sex slavery ring. He never expected to be able to find his friend Gabi's missing friend, Kimberly. When the two are brought together, he can't help but save her. From there, the two are thrown together for more uncover work to help bust the sex slave ring. The uncover work nearly breaks Kimberly as she suffers from post traumatic stress syndrome.
In this book, we deal with the potential nastier side of BDSM. When consent is revoked and a human is treated worse than an animal, how does this break a woman? Because make no mistake, the goal is to break these women's spirit, minds and sexuality. They are purchased for sadistic sexual destruction. While this may be a fictional story, the material is valid and a concern in today's world. Human trafficking is an increasing market with high demands and profits. Ms. Sinclair does an excellent job of painting a gruesome picture. She glosses over the logistics of sexual slavery so the harsher details are left unsaid. The part I loved best about this story is that it doesn't vilify BDSM. Instead, it shows how people can make BDSM bad. It's the people, not the lifestyle. The contrasts between the Shadowland Dominants and the sex slavers are clear. Ms. Sinclair takes the same sex scenes and shows how the difference of choice and submission makes the BDSM whipping sensual rather than abuse. The added bonuses of some edge play I adore such as fire play caused me to ignite in passion.
Another tough topic Ms. Sinclair handled with grace was the difference between a slave and a submissive. Many use these terms synonymously when they are different. By writing a character that is struggling with the concepts and watching her gain enlightenment, I'm hoping this also helps others outside of the BDSM lifestyle to gain understanding. I applaud Ms. Sinclair's educational instructions hidden in her amazing story.
I'm also impressed that the characters were three dimensional with back history to make them how they are today. Raoul's experiences with his ex-wife define how he views relationships. Kimberly's childhood with her father's emotional withdrawal, neglect and abuse defines how she sees a wife in relation to a husband. These realistic hang-ups build a layer of complexity which I found both believable and necessary for the story to work.
Since this is a book in a series, revisiting previous characters felt like a lovely family reunion. I loved seeing characters I enjoyed and hope that ones who haven't had a story yet will soon have one written. I'd really like a BDSM ménage with Sally and the two FBI guys. I can only beg Ms. Sinclair to hear my plea and consider it. I recommend this to the all BDSM readers, from new to jaded. There is something in here for everyone.