A really, really well done story in this series. As a 40+er, I LOVED that both Sam and Linda are over 40. It isn't often we get 40+ers as the main MCs and I want more. Because of their ages, we got a story that had family history and past experiences impacting them both because they had both lived life.
Sam was gruff and wonderful. My heart broke for how he had managed in his past relationship to keep things together for his daughter. The tough dom made his share of mistakes with Linda but I appreciated that he was honest about it and when he realized he screwed up, he admitted it. He was such a caring soul under that gruff exterior and sexy as all hell in his 50s. Also nice to see that Z doesn't just analyze the subs :) Sam needed that little push.
Linda is in her 40s and had gone through extensive trauma and was having to cope. I thought the vandilizer was a bit over the top to have occur but didn't doubt that the gossip queens could have happened in RL. She handled both very well. She was a great mom to her kids and such a strong character trying to re-find her way. She still reached out to Sam even when he pushed her away and that likely saved the relationship.
This book could be read as a standalone without missing too much but might be best to at least read the book or two before this one in the series. My other 5 star in the series is Breaking Free.
The kids and Con were great side characters. We also got to see some old characters. And - Uzuri - I like that girl's mischieveousness! I'm hoping she eventually gets a story. Great scene at the end with Linda and Sam's families coming together. Linda fought for Sam and Nicole and I loved it - yet, she still left the door open for Nicole if her mom changed.
I really liked the BDSM which was some of the heaviest in this series. This was the story of a sadist and submissive masochist and it felt about right as to how the scenes would go. They were sexy, at times creative, and hot.
What I also liked about this story was that the emphasis was really on the relationship. The story with the spotter was a side story that weaved in and out as part of the larger story but it was clearly a side story. Linda and Sam were the true story and I wanted that. Now...someone tell me where I can find a Sam!