Review //\\ Black Light: Valentine Roulette

Black Light: Valentine Roulette

This is an anthology of short stories, all based around one event at the BDSM club featured in the Black Light series. I read the book back in 2018 but didn’t review it back then, and since I seem to be an a re-read streak I indulged myself by reading individual stories in between arc reads and other reads. Even though I have a mountainous TBR list of unread books.

Photo by Ellen Araujo on Pexels.com

Broken by Renee Rose – 4 stars

Slave to pain (aka Jennifer) and Master D scene together at Black Light each week. But that’s all Jennifer will ever allow them to be, ships that pass in the night, no attachment, no emotion, no connection, despite the fact that his brand of sadism is a perfect fit for her mile wide masochistic streak. Jennifer has barriers so high Master D will need a miracle to break them down but first he needs to win her on a spin of the wheel.

They spin three kinks, age-play, whipping and anal-intercourse. Don’t be put of by the age play, it isn’t really any more than her using the word Daddy, and if you skip this one you will miss a wonderfully intimate portrait of a man using dominance to release a sub from years of unhappiness and pain.
I liked that Jennifer and Master D already had a connection, it made the scenes more intense and I found I easily believed in the depth of their feelings. I remember first time round finding the level of sado-masochism in this hard to handle, but I’ve now read so much more that it no longer makes me cringe. It’s not my kink but I understand the beauty of the dynamic. This is one scorching hot read, and a great opening story.

Revealed by Livia Grant – 3.5 stars

I love Khloe and Ryder, and have read all their stories though I’d actually forgotten this one where they first met. I really felt a huge emotional connection to Khloe, reading about her pain and loneliness was like hearing it from a friend. The girl who seems to have it all has nothing at all. Her emotions were heartbreaking to read about.

There is some intense medical play, plus two other spins that gave us some scorching hot scenes to observe. My only issue at the end was that Ryder’s play felt far too hard core for a total newbie to the scene to handle. It was addressed at one point, and yes this is fiction, so perhaps others found it easier to let go. Personally it felt that, along with boundaries being severely pushed, believability was also being pushed too.

However this was more than made up for with the intensity of the connection between Khloe and Ryder. He went from zero to hero during the story, with the way he saw the true Khloe and what she needed. Though that ending is quite tough. If I hadn’t been aware of what the future had in store for this pair it would really have been a bitter pill to swallow. Thankfully it’s very much a sugar-coated one.

Wet by Jennifer Bene – 5 stars

Sienna so beautifully portrayed the lack of worth those of us with self esteem issues can suffer from. A sub willing to forego aftercare and any real affection because she wasn’t worthy of it. Alexander, of course, was the uber confident and in charge Dom with a liking to be called Daddy and a craving to push his sub’s buttons. Written so well, he induced shivers down my spine.

Ms Bene pushes our boundaries, and poor Sienna’s, with a terror inducing scene of water-based breath play. As someone who struggles to get their face wet in the shower, this both horrified and thrilled me in equal measure. It was certainly hot. Communication is vital to any BDSM scenes, so Alexander was determined to push until the very tongue tied and shy Sienna let go and talked. I can totally empathise with her when she struggled with answering his questions

There was no script for this interaction, no easy answers, she had to fucking talk to him, and that was the problem.

You either know, or you don’t know, that terrifying hot-cold feeling of opening your mouth and having a totally blank, panic filled mind. Because whatever you could say they will obviously find boring and not be interested in. It was both hard to read Sienna in those moments and uplifting too. I love that the author gives her characters real flaws that resonate with many readers.

Given that the majority of this scene wasn’t overtly sexual in nature I was amazed by how incredibly intimate it felt. A part of me did feel that Alexander overstepped the boundaries in demanding personal information from someone who he had no long term commitment with, but without it we wouldn’t have had such an amazing story.

Unmasked by Lee Savino – 2.5 stars

Whilst this story didn’t have quite the emotional or ‘kink’ impact of other stories in the book, I appreciated how it examined the feminists dilemma of submitting to a man. Chessie and Kane were both easy to like characters, though neither really captured my heart if I’m being honest.

Kane did seem to take extra care with Chessie since she was yet another “totally new to the scene and never tried it before” submissive. However I would have liked him to remind Chessie of her safeword/signal given that very fact. I also felt the ‘nasty/jealous sub’ moment was not only cliched but fed into that cliche of having to have a rival and bitchy female in the story.

Unraveled by Addison Cain – 2 stars

This was one of those books that I enjoyed well enough as I read it, but mental cogitations after the fact saw it mimic the title and unravel somewhat. The ‘hero’ of the story not only isn’t the Dom that the heroine plays Valentine Roulette with, but their relationship prior to the night had been toxic. So it made believing that they had any sort of feelings for one another very difficult. All three characters also had personality defects, and not in a good way.

Klara was brilliant in that she had taken on huge responsibilities at a very young age. She was so tough and strong, when life kicked her in the lady balls she pulled up her big girl pants and kicked it back twice as hard. So it made my wonder why she would burn her bridges by not giving adequate notice to her employer. Nor did I believe that employer held enough sway to get her blacklisted by his competitors.

For an ex-military man, Spencer was a childish, whiney bottom-hole whose behaviour was as far from professional as it was possible to get. Self-centred to the nth degree he didn’t deserve Klara in any way shape or form.

And Will, I kind of liked him until their last scene where he deliberately pushed Klara beyond her breaking point, despite knowing she was totally inexperienced and that she was unlikely to safe word until he took things to the extreme. He even acknowledge that the play wasn’t ‘sane’ because Klara had felt forced into taking part. He knew that and still continued. He also knew, from the previous scene, where her breaking point was and he stomped right over it. At that point I wasn’t sure who was the most despicable male, him or Spencer. The only way either man would ever get any sympathy from me was if I threw a dictionary at their conceited, idiotic heads.

Unbroken by Maren Smith – 3 stars

This story is less about the BDSM play and much more about the two protagonists, Abby and Newton, connecting. This really left me in a quandary because I loved the depth it gave the story, and you could really see not only the characters grow but also the fledgling connection start to bloom. However it meant, for me, that it lacked that sizzle that I want from a BlackLight book but overall the pros and cons are balanced.

I did like both characters and enjoyed the story, it was also a nice change of pace to give the book some balance. Extra points were earned for the pair NOT being madly in love with one another at the end of the story!

Bared by Measha Stone – 4 stars

I’m a real sucker for second chance, so this was already going well with me. Add into the mix a heroine who hid her vulnerabilities behind a hard as nails exterior and an amazing Dom who was determined not to let her run away a second time, and you’ve got yourself a winner.

They spin humiliation, but don’t worry, it never felt too much or too over the top. In fact it was very gentle in those terms. However Dane does lay bare all of Riley’s insecurities and fears, pushing her to truly accept her submissive nature. Yes he pushes her, and pushes her hard, but he is there every single step of the way, ready to catch her should she fall and always, always giving her the strength and support she needs.

When Dane got Riley to wash the word she wrote about herself off of her arm, I wasn’t sure whether to sob or swoon.

Stripped by Sophie Kisker – 3.5 stars

I really enjoyed this story, though it did stir a bit of conflict inside me. I admired that Sari made the decision she did (in the bathroom) though I could equally understand why Adam was upset by it. I didn’t agree with his “special” comment, that’s a very male perpetuation of a problem that has been around for a long time.

I felt we spent more time in Sari’s mind during the story, which was great because the author really showed us what some peoples submission looked like. I found her thought process and decisions to be fascinating and enlightening. It wasn’t the steamiest offering in the book but it was a well written and very entertaining story.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Title – Black Light Valentine Roulette
Author – Various
Genre – BDSM Erotica/Romance
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34209488-valentine-roulette

Three hours. Four hard limits. Eight sexy stories.
Are you brave enough to spin the wheel?

Black Light is the most exclusive BDSM club in Washington, D.C. and for one night they’re changing the rules of play to entertain their members with a game of chance – Valentine Roulette. Challenge and adventure awaits as these sexy dominants spin to win their submissives, and the subs spin to choose how they will play. Their prize if they last the night? One free month at Black Light, and for some of our daring participants… even a chance at love.

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