Title: Loving the Master
Author: Lynn Kelling
Publisher: Fantastic Fiction
Pages/Word Count: 322 Pages
At a Glance: Loving the Master is a sexy and erotic and romantic and sometimes sweet Master/slave tale.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Billionaire Dominant David Davenport needs a break from the loveless isolation imposed by wealth, responsibility, and the stress of running the Manse, his private gay club. While at lunch with an old friend, David finds himself enchanted by the charming and submissive nature of Shea Whittier, their young waiter. David offers to help the young man out with his personal troubles, never suspecting the danger he’s putting them both in.
Review: Lynn Kelling’s Learning from the Master is a short prequel to Jenner Parrish’s full story, Bound By Lies. When I read “Learning” I wasn’t at all familiar with these characters, but really, I didn’t need to be, as the vignette is the erotic introduction to a then eighteen-year-old Jenner—who’s only beginning to learn what some of his yearnings foretell. That being that he’s a Dominant, and that in order to be a Master, he has to learn what it means, and the strength it takes, to submit.
In this scene, Master David Davenport and his slave, Shea Whittier, are introduced. David and Shea personify the beauty of what it means to love and trust someone, body and soul. David and Shea, it’s clear even in this short story, are two halves of a whole, their utter devotion to each other based in mutual respect and the desire to please—whatever that happens to entail. When I saw that Loving the Master was their prequel, then, there was no question as to whether or not I would read it because they’d already hooked me enough to want to know how they began.
And, well… there’s Shea.
This novel is set five years before Learning from the Master, and is an opposites attract story in every way—David is the wealthy Dom, Shea the disowned and just-this-side-of-homeless boy who has yet to define his need to submit. David is the twenty-five-year-old master of his domain, while Shea is the eighteen-year-old kid who barely has a grasp on what it means to exist on his own in the real world. Their meeting in the restaurant where Shea is waiting tables is a bit like a predator scenting a mate. David’s attraction to Shea is carnal and instinctive–he sees who Shea can become–and while the way the author draws the boy into David’s world is pretty dramatic and traumatic, in the “Murphy’s Law” of Shea’s life, it works.
David’s father is a particularly troublesome character (to say the least—I’m trying to keep it clean, here) whose behavior is Machiavellian in a batshit crazy (sorrynotsorry) sort of way for the sake of providing all the conflict in the storyline, but there’s just enough plausibility behind his actions and the reason he’d snapped that, again, it fit the dramatic arc of the story and I was able to go with it. His extreme methods of interference in David and Shea’s relationship in essence provides the catalyst for them to bond so quickly, so while Dorian Davenport is completely nuts, it worked for me.
Shea’s teenage self is every bit as endearing and adorable as when I met him at the ripe old age of twenty-three, though he’s obviously a lot less disciplined, and I couldn’t help but fall for his nervous monologues and shy lust for David—the man who would ultimately become his savior as well as his Master. But, Shea also has an inner strength apart from David, the soul and will of a survivor, which makes him that much more believable in his role as a submissive and the only man David Davenport has ever wanted to claim as his own. Shea is victim to a brutal attack and is violated in a completely heinous way, so word of warning, when I say Shea is a survivor, it’s not just a figure of speech. Having said that, though, the scene also serves its purpose in building the bond and trust between Shea and David–it’s not there just for the sake of being there–and if you have a single protective instinct in your body, I swear it will draw you to Shea even more.
Loving the Master is a sexy and erotic and romantic, sometimes sweet, sometimes harsh Master/slave tale. David and Shea are beautiful together, the way their bond strengthens as Shea’s gift of submission grows. This is the story of two men I liked a lot, who meet and discover they each fill a gap in the other’s life, like the missing pieces of a not-quite-complete puzzle. If you’re looking for a BDSM novel that manifests itself into a powerful story of trust and devotion—or you’re looking for a novel about an all-encompassing trust and faith that manifests itself into a powerful Master/slave story—this book is all of those things.
You can buy Loving the Master here: