Windy City Series – Measha Stone

This is a re-release of a series. Each book has been reworked, updated and improved.

Overall I would rate this series 4.25 stars.

This first and foremost is a love story of two people who chose to include a power exchange dynamic in their relationship. The BDSM element is fairly tame but still incredibly hot and very well written. In fact it was perfect for the story, their play was private and didn’t involve dungeons, clubs and other people – it was abut what was right for them. Which nicely leads me into how very real and honest the play felt, there was some negotiation but this wasn’t a Dom collaring his submissive, it was a guy who liked to be the dominant partner in a relationship but didn’t want a 24/7 thing.

I found Jessica to be an incredibly likeable character and very easy to both connect and sympathise with. She didn’t regard herself as a submissive and had never had any leanings towards a D/s relationship but found something in Royce that enabled her to explore things and give it a try. Now that leads me onto where I had one struggle with the story. Jessica and Royce had only just met when he ‘pulled’ some Dom moves on her. Nothing too extreme and all above board and consensual, so there was no issue there. However I really couldn’t understand Jessica’s actions and response at that point. I wasn’t totally convinced of her following his instructions as she did, it seemed to opposed to her frame of mind immediately before that. Later in the book we hear her musing on how she is ‘choosing’ to follow his instructions and see where things take them, to try new things. I guess I needed more of that in the first scene where her behaviour was totally out of character.

At times through the story I felt like Royce teetered on the edge of being overbearing. BUT at the end, when I reflected back, I could see how his actions could equally be interpreted as demonstrating his care of and concern for Jessica. He totally put her happiness and wellbeing before all else. Hindsight turned some of his ‘bombastic’ actions into nurturing and caring ones – clearly he wanted more control than I could have given up to him, lol! Jessica is also one closed off, stubborn woman who needed his less than gentle pushing, because that pushing was done with respect and love.

There is so much I want to say about the ‘hiccup’ and ending, but that would include spoilers. So what I will say is that their ‘reconnection’ (and that word is important) was perfect and since neither of them had behaved perfectly anything else would have felt unfair and left a bitter taste. Instead it was everything I could want and hope for.


BLURB

Royce Blandford follows a promotion to Chicago, because when he wants something- he gets it. He’s a man with determination.And after one evening with Jessica, he’s determined to claim her as his.

Jessica is perfectly content keeping relationships casual. She’d rather fall in lust than love. And one glance at Royce- she’s definitely in lust.

But Royce doesn’t kiss and bail. Jessica may try to hide behind a thick wall, but he senses the fires burning hot.

If he has to break through kiss by kiss, he will.

Having not read the original books I can’t comment on how they have been changed. What I am able to do is recommend the well written, steamy, emotion filled and action packed story that it now is. With each story Measha cleverly explores a new issue/concern/worry that faces those entering a long term power exchange relationship.

Kelly appeared as in book #1 as one of Jessica’s friends. From the representation of her in Hidden Heart I didn’t expect to like her very much, however we really get to know her in this book AND begin to understand that her friends may not really know the current Kelly as well as they thought. However she is very impulsive, which not only gets her into trouble but also causes her lots of heartache along the way.

Kendrick was really good at guiding Kelly into her submissive role. There were times, however, that I wanted to kick his butt or shake him. He demanded Kelly always give him her words, told her how important it was that she speak to him about her concerns. That was a plus, particularly since she was new to a PE relationship. However he didn’t always share HIS feelings with her. Communication is a two way street and for someone who insisted on complete honesty, he wasn’t so forthcoming with his own emotions and reasoning. I didn’t mind that he did this – no one’s perfect and I like my characters to have human flaws and foibles. It would just have put the cherry on the icing if he’d verbally acknowledged that he could have been more open with Kelly. The significance of the bracelet and the ‘cooling off’ period being two of the main events.

Ms Stone cleverly blends the BDSM relationship with both a contemporary romance feel and a swirl of suspense. The book does have ‘play’ scenes, though these are all fairly tame and are ideal for those newer to the genre, or those not wanting too heavy a BDSM element. The punishment/discipline scenes were wonderful, I loved that it wasn’t the overused spanking scenario!

To sum up this is a well written and engaging story with two main characters that are not only likeable but also very believable. The growth of the romantic relationship, alongside the power exchange, felt very natural and was very consensual. Kendrick never felt overbearing or determined to push Kelly to do more and more, his say was final but he never assumed he knew her better than she did herself. The last half dozen or so chapters were absolutely packed, filled to the brim with both action and emotion. I really enjoyed this and definitely recommend it to others.


BLURB

Kelly has been waiting for her knight in shining armor to ride in on his white horse and rescue her from her ordinary life. But he’s taking his sweet time. Taking matters into her own hands, she dives into a world she’s unprepared for.

Kendrick has never seen a woman more impulsive than Kelly. She wants everything, and she wants it now. And damn if he doesn’t want to be the one to give it to her.

But there’s more at play here than boy meets girl. Bad men linger in the shadows where fears are hidden and doubts hover.

Can they pull together to secure a future or will the darkness tear them apart?

Another well written instalment in this group of friends lives

Alex and Alyssa are both strong and determined characters who have one heck of a battle to find their form of a D/s relationship, as well as to overcome the baggage life throws at them. I very much enjoyed their story, especially the fact that Alex wasn’t all perfect and infallible, though personally I might have made him grovel a LOT more than Alyssa did. However that might just have led to cutting my nose of to spite my face!

I love how these books blend ‘real life’ alongside both the developing relationship of the couple AND the BDSM relationship. You end up feeling as though you should be out with the group of friends each Friday night, being an emotional support when needed and offering advice. Whilst each book is stand alone, I would advice reading them in order just to gain the maximum understanding and enjoyment.

The BDSM is fairly low key and only in the bedroom, so this is suitable for those new to the genre, those who don’t like too much BDSM play or those who enjoy any level of kink in their books. It’s well written, with great characters and an engaging plot and I’m more than happy to recommend it.

BLURB

Alyssa Sanders spent her childhood raising her mother, but that’s all behind her now. She’s on her way to Chicago for a fresh start. No stranger to bad luck, she’s keeping her expectations low.What she’s not expecting is to find her severely dominant, extremely attractive boss is also the son of a close friend.

Alex Trebelli would do anything for his father, so when he’s asked to escort an old friend’s daughter to dinner he doesn’t hesitate to agree. Except she isn’t the small town, young woman his father described. She’s all grown up, full of beauty and curves, with a submissive nature begging his dominant side to emerge.

Alyssa’s never been good at relationships. But Alex is easy to be with, even when he’s being overprotective and bossy. So when he tells her he wants more than friendship can she put aside her fears of failures and give them a real try?

My favourite of the series yet. (These books have been rewritten/updated and re-released in October 2019)

After all the rules she’d broken, all the things she’d done wrong that day, he was trying to soothe her worries? Where had this man come from?
Despite being a real hard ass, strict and ‘mean’ Dom, I think Bradley came across as the most caring, patient and committed of the men in this series so far. So many times his words and actions not only supported Erin but reassured both her and the reader of just how consensual the relationship was, and how Erin held all the power via her safe words.

The next half hour would be trying for her, but she wouldn’t be alone, he would be with her every step of the way
I even loved that we were told his stern voice and demeanour was not anger but rather his way to elicit and facilitate Erin’s submissive mind set. It made a character, who could easily have been unpleasant and overbearing, an absolutely divine man who you couldn’t help but warm too.

Whilst I didn’t mind that Erin made mistakes – particularly since she is a newbie sub – I did get a little exasperated that it seemed to be the same ‘not talking’ mistake again and again. However without it we (a) wouldn’t have had a story and it (b) felt very ‘real’ and natural, particularly given the ‘dynamic’ of her only other serious relationship.

Whilst there are several detailed BDSM scenes, including a couple of punishment scenes, there was plenty of story to balance these out. I never felt like there was an excess of sex scenes and didn’t find myself skimming them either. The chemistry between Erin and Bradley was palpable, they had an intensity to their relationship that was easy to believe in.

I very much recommend this book to those who enjoy a well written BDSM romance.

BLURB

As a devoted fiance with a house in the ‘burbs and friends she trusts with her life, Erin Stamper is living the dream. Until she finds the dream was just that, when her fiance announces he’s in love with another woman, shattering her entire world.

Just when she’s about to be crushed beneath the weight of the pain, she’s delivered another blow. A new BDSM club has opened in the city- and one of her own friends is the owner.

With so much sudden turmoil in her life, Erin decides to stop being the practical, dependable, and vanilla person she has always been and looks to explore this new world.

Dominant Bradley Sorenson promises to show her everything she wants to see, and more. But just as she begins to find contentment in her true self, she receives a letter which starts a chain of blackmail that could ultimately end her new relationship.

Can Erin fight the urge to retreat into the safety of her old life and work to liberate her heart?

Ryder and Samantha’s story is a wonderful read. The DD/lg element is written in a way that not only makes it accessible to those not into the kink but I found it opened my eyes to the thoughts and needs behind that type of relationship. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed reading about their style of relationship, Ms Stone portrayed it very sensitively and with great respect.

As with many of her books, there is an element of romantic suspense in Daddy’s Heart. It certainly added an edge to the story that was a nice counterpoint to the rather sweet and warm relationship developing between Ryder and Samantha.

Plot, pace, prose and characterisation are all executed to a high standard in the book. You can’t help but fall for these characters, as you fall into their world. A great conclusion to a wonderful series.

BLURB

Samantha is starting over, this time in Chicago, and she needs a place to crash when she gets there. Luckily a family friend is hooking her up with a spare room.

The catch? The room is in the apartment of an insanely hot guy. To make matters worse, he has every mannerism of a Daddy Dom that sets her imagination ablaze.

Ryder doesn’t mind giving up his spare room to help out a friend. But, his friend didn’t explain how attractive Samantha was, or how easily Ryder would become consumed with her.

She’s a friend of a friend- making her completely off limits.

But Samantha crosses the line and pulls him with her, sending them both down a new path. There’s a past catching up to her, and he’s going to be certain she stays safe.

He’ll take care of Sammy and give her everything she needs. More importantly, with his stern ways, he’ll give her everything she deserves.

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