30 Day Challenge

Day #16 – Scared You

I don’t watch horror films, ever since seeing The Omen at the age of 9 or maybe 10. I enjoy the mild anxiety that a good dark romance gives me but I’m really not, and never have been, into scary stories of any description.

However stories that could happen in real life, those are the ones that send shivers of apprehension down my spine. So today I’m choosing the True Series, by Willow Madison. It’s the story of a power exchange relationship that borders on control and abuse. The heroine fully chooses to participate, it is consensual BUT the heroes anger and enjoyment of punishing her severely really did make me uncomfortable at times. It made me question when consent wasn’t really consent, when kink and power exchange became abuse and harm. After all a battered spouse/partner can be so mentally worn down by the abuse that they truly believe they don’t deserve any better, that it is their fault. I found myself questioning (a) if the author was portraying a SANE relationship and (b) should I actually be enjoying reading it as much as I did. And that is why I am choosing these books. Not because they scared me in the jump out of your skin and shriek way, but because I could see how this could happen IRL. Which led to the questions of would I dare interfere and did I have the right to judge anybody else’s relationship in that way?

Review //\\ True Control 4.1 & 4.2








The True series, by Willow Madison, is one that very much polarises readers. I’m obviously in the ‘loved them’ camp since I don’t usually post reviews on here of books I didn’t like or books I DNF’d.


The series has been out quite a while now, I know the author and reviews mention editing issues but I can’t say this was a problem for me, which means I was either so caught up in the story I missed them, there weren’t actually that many for it to cause an issue or the books have been polished up at some point. I have no idea which of the three it is, and quite frankly it doesn’t matter. I just wanted to to let people know that the editing wasn’t atrocious.


Following reader reaction as she released the first three books, Willow decided to write two alternate endings to Max and Lucy’s story, thus allowing readers to choose their own conclusion to it. Personally I’m glad I chose True Control 4.1, Willow’s original ending, to read first. It’s a very dark story that finally opened my eyes to the true consensuality of the relationship that Max and Lucy are in. It is full of triggers, so I strongly advise readers to proceed with caution. However it is also the most perfectly imperfect ending and fits so well with what BOTH Max and Lucy want and need.


I read True Control 4.2 a couple of weeks after reading 4.1 and whilst the writing was top notch, with a story so full of incredible feels it left my emotions reeling, I was still left with a slight feeling of unease. It felt like the ending was a bit of a cop out, as though somehow Max and Lucy’s relationship was wrong, was unacceptable, that Max needed to change. It’s definitely the “morally easier” story to read, and if Willow Madison ever decides to write an angsty contemporary romance I’ll be buying shares in Kleenex tissues because boy did it pack an emotional punch to the feels. But without having read 4.1, which will forever by MY ending to the story, I think I would have felt robbed. The whole point of the True series was to push buttons and boundaries, have you questioning your beliefs and judgement and 4.2, whilst a brilliant book, felt like a sop to the unease of readers. It felt like an easy out, a get-out-of-jail-free card, it felt like a travesty of the truth.









TRUE CONTROL 4.1 by Willow Madison





So addictive I read all 4 books over 2 days – and nights *ahem*. Good job it was the weekend!



The beating I gave her once would be nothing in comparison to this amount of rage. It wouldn’t just be once. I’d have her black and blue for weeks for what she’s done.
I stop pacing though.


It’s no use to imagine. She’s not here. God help me, she may never be here again.

Max, True Control 4.1, True Series



Having taken the chance on the original, darker ending to Max and Lucy’s story, I’m not sure if I want to read the alternative. Though I am super curious as to what happens in that book, having bought 4 books one after the other I’m not sure my pocket can take the financial hit. If I had any sense I would have saved myself a few quid and signed up to KU for the month – ain’t hindsight a bitch?


Anyway, back to the important thing – my review of this dark beauty. So it’s difficult to truly do this book justice in a review without scattering it with too many spoilers. And you need to go into this book as blind as I did, because that allows you to truly understand the TPE dynamic that Lucy and Max share.




I know my girl. Lucy didn’t know her submissive side when I met her. I saw it in her. I recognized the signs, saw what she could be for me.
I broke her and made her mine quickly. I forced her to submit to me completely. I gave her only one choice, one chance to back away from her destiny with me. I smile thinking about that night.
She was so scared. And so yielding.


Max, True Control 4.1, True Series




So all those debates we’ve had over whether this pairs relationship was healthy, was consensual, was a TPE or abuse, were blown wide apart in this book. Because the author took us down a pitch black path of genuine abuse. There are some very traumatic and possibly triggering events in this book and it really is a proceed with caution read. However if you appreciated the first three books (I’m not sure enjoyed properly describes the experience 😉) then hopefully you are someone who is used to the difficult and troubling journey a truly dark read can take us on.


Lucy suffers in new ways, ways that make clear her true feelings, needs and desires. Suddenly we see that she isn’t the weak, doormat we all assumed her to be. We discover that her quietness is just her truth, her willingness to bend in order to please Max was her choice and her subservience was her pleasure. I owe the girl a massive apology, she is the strong one of the pair, the cement that secures their foundations.


I haven’t mentioned it before, which is very remiss of me “Sorry, Sir.” but Max had a very traumatic and difficult start to life. He suffered physical, emotional and mental abuse. It powers his need for control, and may well be the source of his anger. And I think it’s the author’s portrayal of that anger, constantly bubbling below the surface, that has concerned me most throughout this series. It wasn’t until this book that I truly believed in Max. Truly understood the depth of his feelings for Lucy and accepted his ability to control his anger.




I’ve never felt helpless before, powerless. I always had choices. And I know that it’s choices that give a person control.
That’s why I don’t give Lucy any. I am in control. Of her. Of me.
But … not now.

Max, True Control 4.1, True Series



Within the first few chapters it became glaringly obvious that, however much Max’s behaviour pushed our buttons, however much it made us uncomfortable, made us frown and judge (and oh boy does this book make that judgement so very apparent) Lucy fully agreed, participated and welcomed it. And yes, he does love her. Not in a way many of us could understand, not in a way many of us would probably want, but he loved her with every fibre of his being. It’s a crazy way of caring, but it’s what they both want and need.




She tries to stall, talk back. Bad move, little girl. I slap her. Not her left side, this is still too hurt.

Max, True Control 4.1, True Series



Whilst this isn’t a conventional love story, whilst it isn’t a typical romance, IMO it does deserve both labels. Each couple are entitled to live and love in the way that best suits them, and that’s what Max and Lucy do.


Even that final chapter, where it could be assumed that Max took away every last scrap of Lucy’s ability to choose and decide. I was just getting angry at Max for not respecting Lucy’s wishes when I realised that he was doing exactly what Lucy wanted. If she truly hadn’t wanted that reaction from him she could have made some very different decisions earlier in the day.




I am a monster. And she just loves me. Always.

Max, True Control 4.1, True Series
















WAIT! YOU HAVE A DECISION TO MAKE BEFORE BUYING THIS BOOK!


Note from the author:

I’ve written two completely different, alternative endings to this series. See for yourself why fans are saying this makes all the other dark romances look like greyed out shades of fairytales.


This is the end one way or another.
~Willow


ONE OR TWO
There was only ever one ending for Max and Lucy, but I aim to please—or torture—however you wish to look at it. I believe in true choices, so I give you control of their fate to pick which ending you prefer.


LOST OR FOUND
This is the darker ending for Max and Lucy. The monster gets the girl. When love is lost, it may be impossible to find a way back to True Control.



NOTE: All the books in this series are available for purchase/download now, so you won’t be left wanting or waiting. This series involves a combination of Domestic Discipline, D/s, and Sm
Now available in paperback too!


Excerpts:
I know my girl. She didn’t know her submissive side when I met her. I saw it in her. I recognized the signs, saw what she could be for me. I didn’t go slow. I didn’t have patience. I didn’t ease her into anything.

I broke her and made her mine quickly. I forced her to submit to me completely. I gave her only one choice. One chance to back away from her destiny with me.

She can’t be lost. I need her. Here with me. I’m lost without her.

…..


He’ll kill me eventually. In a rage, he’ll do it without thinking. I start to cry again, but shout at myself to stop.

I look in the mirror again…I’m only getting more broken by the day…mentally and physically. I try to stand up, to take a deep breath. But I wince at my reflection.

I hear him shouting at me and I turn away from the girl in the mirror…I can’t be her today. I can’t be strong when I’m this weak.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~







True Control 4.2 by Willow Madison




I really enjoyed this, with all it’s emotional intensity, but I would still recommend 4.1 for the true dark romance lover.


I wasn’t sure if I would read this alternative ending because for me True Control 4.1 was the perfect ending to Lucy and Max’s story. This one I both loved and hated. I definitely loved the amazing story telling of the author, my word did she make me feel . So many emotions, so much pain, such sweet love. These more subtle emotions had been masked by the anger, fear and total domination in previous books. This book is worth reading just to recognise how incredibly skilled this author is at crafting complex characters and situations. Because I wasn’t distracted by my Lucy’s struggles with submitting to Max, my focus was less on being shocked, irritated, angry, surprised, horrified, awed and bemused and more on the beautiful nuances of the story.


On the other hand I hated it too. I won’t say what caused that feeling, because that would be a spoiler, though if you read the other reviews many of them allude to just why this made me feel both hurt and let down. I didn’t like the suggestion, or impression, that Max was somehow wrong. Max was never wrong, he quite happily told us that on many an occasion. Whilst his brand of domination wouldn’t be for many, he wasn’t wrong or bad, he was just a different sort of hero.


On the surface we see a much stronger Lucy in this story, however I still firmly believe that her true strength lay in her decision, her choice, to submit to everything Max demanded of her. Her ability to let go and acquiesce with every fibre of her being. There is a very judgemental part of me that believes if you needed this book as the ending of the story you should hand your “dark romance reader” card in right now. For chunks of this I felt as though I was reading an angsty contemporary romance. An amazing and well written one but one that wasn’t true to the rest of the series. A bit like putting a sticking plaster on deep gash, this was fantastic but not suited to the job of being the conclusion of a dark romance.


Thank you to the author for kindly gifting me a copy of this book, because my curiosity had me desperate to know what the alternative ending was. I don’t regret reading it but I’m really, really glad I read the other one first. If this is the ending you prefer that’s fine because we all enjoy and need different things from our reads.
















ONE OR TWO
There was only ever one ending for Max and Lucy, but I aim to please—or torture—however you wish to look at it. I believe in true choices, so I give you control of their fate to pick which ending you prefer.


LOST OR FOUND
This is the lighter ending for Max and Lucy. When destiny gets in the way, love may have trouble finding a way back to True Control.



NOTE: All the books in this series are available for purchase/download now, so you won’t be left wanting or waiting. This series involves a combination of Domestic Discipline, D/s, and Sm
Now available in paperback too!



Excerpts:
I try to be still in Max’s arms. I’m too chilled by his words. So calm. So clear. “What if…what if that’s not what I want…what I need…?” I say this as almost a whisper, too afraid to say it…to afraid to keep it in.

He doesn’t say anything for a long time. I almost think he didn’t hear me until his voice answers in a whisper too, “You gave up having a choice when you became my wife, Lucy. What you want…what you need…I decide. You’ll take whatever I do to you.”

Even in a whisper, I know his final tone when I hear it. There’s no point in talking more. I swallow and still only speak in a cracked whisper, “What…what are you going to do to me, Max?”

And he waits to answer me again. His voice slides across the words, like he’s enjoying hearing the fear in my voice, feeling the shiver in my body. “Do you really want to know, little girl?”


…..


I don’t really want to be cruel to her. I like hurting her, sometimes just for my pleasure…but I want to be loving and kind to her too. And most of the time, I am.

I give her all of my love. I deny her nothing. Within reason anyway. I’m not a fool though. I know what I demand isn’t for everyone. I’ve had enough girlfriends throw modern feminism and equal rights crap in my face to know that Lucy isn’t like any other girl.

She understands that she needs my guidance. She gets that all of my rules, demands, punishments are meant to help her, to help us. To be happy.

I know I’m a monster. I’ve come to terms with this. I don’t care what anyone thinks of me. I only care about Lucy. About her obeying and submitting to me.











True Control 4.1
Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00S9YNP7O/
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00S9YNP7O/
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24517063-true-control



True Control 4.2
Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00S9YNMBS/
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00S9YNMBS/
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24516154-true-control




Ratings
5 stars – This is a book I will not forget and would definitely read again.


4 stars – I really enjoyed this book, I might not read it again but I would definitely recommend it to others.


3 stars – This story was good but either forgettable or just very typical of its genre.


2 stars – Whilst the book was readable I either didn’t enjoy parts of the plot or just could not connect to the main characters.


1 star – This is a book I simply could not finish for reasons listed in the review.

Review //\\ True #3

True Choices
(True #3)
by Willow Madison










Am I ever going to actually like Max for more than a few pages at a time?


This was the book where for me the relationship between Lucy and Max seemed to slide slowly from consensual DD to abuse. MY boundaries were overstepped in the previous books, but that doesn’t mean it was wrong for Lucy and Max. However the more I read this the more I truly worried for Lucy. The way she took all the blame for his anger, his disappointment, even when she wasn’t really at fault. He criticises her parents for “not having raised her properly” (ie subservient to the man of the house) and reacts badly when this unsurprisingly upsets her.


Yet as with the previous two books, two things shine through. Max does deeply care for Lucy, even though he is a selfish bastard, and Lucy craves the dominance that Max wields. Whatever one thinks about this relationship, however one feels about these characters, there is no denying the skill with which the author had written the book.






I want to please Max. I want to give him everything that he demands. I want to bend to his will.

Lucy, True Choices, True #3




You find yourself questioning if this IS abuse or not, you realise that you DON’T have the right to judge how anyone else chooses to conduct their relationship (as long as it is consensual), and if you’re like me you will see-saw back and forth on whether this IS a consensual relationship or not. He forces her into jogging and keep fit (so she can run with him) but also joins an Art Institute, which is Lucy’s favourite museum. Lucy has a desperate need to please Max and it’s hard to know if he is taking advantage of that or filling a need in her.


I still don’t like Max, I admire that he is driven, he is single-minded in his focus and he does what he says. My issue is that it is all about him. He is very narcissistic when all is said and done. He may do nice things for Lucy, but often it’s only because it suits him to. He enjoys hurting her too much, especially during sex. He revels in inflicting pain and in giving punishments, and whilst I’m not experienced in the M/s world, I’ve chatted with enough Dom’s to know that most of them don’t get this type of pleasure out of punishing their submissives. They don’t enjoy seeing them in true pain. A sadist might enjoy inflicting sensual pain that ultimately brings the masochist pleasure, but that wasn’t quite the vibe I was getting here. He gets hard seeing her bruises, his marks on her body.






“I know my cruelty excites her.”


“I want to take my time hurting her.”


“I need to see her tears. I need to hear her screams.”


“Something about how embarrassed Lucy is acting makes me want to embarrass her even more.”

Max, True Choices, True #3









There were many occasions when I questioned the validity of Max’s feelings for Lucy. Does he truly love her, or does he love her submission? Her willingness to go along with everything he demands? Her desire to please and do as he tells her regardless of her own needs and wishes?


I’d rather be wearing jeans and a sweatshirt on the water, but I don’t have a choice.
….
“You look great…but you’re still going to freeze. I’ll get a scarf and gloves for you from Mom.”

Whilst it’s nice that Max is concerned about Lucy being cold, it’s his insistence on her wearing girly dresses and skirts that puts her in that position.


And yet there ARE times he is very solicitous of her wellbeing.
“Lucy, are you cold?” Max saw me shudder and is raising the car windows.
“No, I’m fine.” I smile at his attentiveness. He always notices everything. “Thank you.”



Despite rushing her to get married, and not allowing her a say in it, he DOES want to know her wedding day dreams and plans. He arranges for her friend to be a support and shoulder to cry on when she packs up her apartment before they get married. He reassures her that she will still see her friends once they are married and he uses ice packs and gives her pain killers after a very severe punishment. To top it all off, Lucy gets turned on by his actions and reactions – so is it wrong?


But then the author reminds us of how on edge Lucy is.




“Her bright blue eyes, so telling. Fear.”


“She know’s she’s angered me. Her fear is electric.”


“I just smile up at him, hoing this won’t turn into an angry night.”


“I’ve never been more scared of him.”

Lucy and Max, True Choices, True #3





Then there is how quick to anger Max is, he “goes ballistic”, his “temper flares so quickly with her”, “anger is flaring back up”


Followed by just how very controlling Max is.





“We’re getting married next month and that’s final.” He turns and walks away. I wait before following him downstairs.
I know Max likes being in control, but… but this is our wedding. This is the rest of our lives together. Maybe I’ll try to talk to him again when we’re back in the city. We really need to make some decisions together.
But I know I’m kidding myself. Max doesn’t just 
like being in control. Max is in control.

“This ring means that you are no longer in control of 
anything. So when I tell you that we’re getting married next month…that is what we’re doing.”

Lucy and Max, True Choices, True #3









Whilst Max acknowledges Lucy’s feelings, he doesn’t seem to be bothered by them. As though Lucy’s emotions really, really don’t matter to him. Yet later he tell’s Lucy –
“I will always try to take into consideration how you feel about something. But you need to understand that in our marriage, I will make all the decisions.


He tells her that if she really doesn’t like one of his decisions she may ask him to reconsider it. Though he won’t (and doesn’t) allow her to express her thoughts/reasons/opinions on it because it is “tantamount with arguing.”


I think one of the most disturbing aspects is how Lucy is unquestioning in most of this, how she readily accepts the blame for the pain he inflicts. Though there are some doubts.


It all seemed to happen so fast. But that look…I didn’t know him.
I remember what I thought when I turned away from the terrace…that I had to get away from him.

Lucy, True Choices, True #3












A DARK ROMANCE
True Choices is the third book in a series that includes two alternative endings. See for yourself why fans are saying this makes all the other dark romances look like greyed out shades of fairytales.

WIN OR LOSE
Max leads; Lucy follows. How far he’s willing to push her may test both their limits though. With his prize in sight, Max can’t afford to relinquish control now.

DO OR DON’T
Lucy embraces all that Max offers, giving exactly what is demanded of her. How far she’s willing to go in order to please him may have her facing the ultimate True Choices.

NOTE: All the books in this series are available for purchase/download now, so you won’t be left wanting or waiting. This series involves a combination of Domestic Discipline, D/s, and Sm
Now available in paperbook too!

Excerpts:

“Lucy, I understand that you’re trying. I know you want to be respectful and you’re figuring out your limits. And I want to help you.” His hand moves my chin gently back to look at him, but his voice is edgier. “Look at me when I’m talking to you.”

He drops his hand and I keep my eyes on him while he continues. “You may ask me to reconsider a decision, but giving me your reasons for wanting me to is tantamount with arguing. Try again.”

…..

What if I couldn’t give him something that he demanded? What if he couldn’t control everything about me? What would happen to us if I couldn’t bend to his will no matter how hard I would try?

I shudder and put my arms around my middle, hugging myself. I’m not ready to face a possible darkened future. A day that I couldn’t give in to Max’s needs.

I shake my head a final time, close my eyes and breathe in normally. I let go of my waist and square my shoulders. But I keep my head down. I’ll do whatever it takes to make Max happy. Whatever is in my power to do.









Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00R3W9TD2/
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00R3W9TD2/






Ratings
5 stars – This is a book I will not forget and would definitely read again.


4 stars – I really enjoyed this book, I might not read it again but I would definitely recommend it to others.


3 stars – This story was good but either forgettable or just very typical of its genre.


2 stars – Whilst the book was readable I either didn’t enjoy parts of the plot or just could not connect to the main characters.


1 star – This is a book I simply could not finish for reasons listed in the review.

Review //\\ True #2

True Beginnings
(True #2)
by Willow Madison

I finished book 1, bought book 2, started it immediately and then read it straight through.


So many things to say. So many. I still doubt that this relationship is totally safe. But then I don’t doubt either that it is what Lucy wants, or at least thinks she wants. And I’m pretty sure anyone in a M/s relationship will find me a judgemental a-hole. Whilst Lucy and Max don’t define their relationship in that way he DOES want to control her even down to her thoughts. He doesn’t want her to have any free will other than the will to please and live for him. That scares me half to death and is what makes this both and uncomfortable AND a gripping read.




“I crave your love, Max. I need your love. The pain… is part of your love and I crave it.”


It’s all my fault! If I hadn’t been indecent, if I hadn’t let those men touch me, if I hadn’t gone out to lunch {this is a WORK event} without his permission…none of this would have happened. I berate myself in silence.

Lucy, True Beginnings, True #2





I’ve never really ‘felt’ any romance in either book so far, but this to me is a psychological mind-f**k of a read anyway. One that has you questioning Lucy, Max, the author and your own sanity at times. I’m determined to finish this series over the weekend, as for the first time in a long time I am TOTALLY DESPERATE to know how a story ends.


He enjoys seeing bruises he has made on her – ok I could go with that, but these bruises are on HER FACE. Conversely this means he isn’t ashamed of what he does and therefore in his mind at least it isn’t abuse. It’s part of his control over Lucy. Though at times I got the impression all he wants is a doll who dresses, acts, thinks, speaks and poses exactly to his design. He doesn’t want Lucy. THAT is where my struggle is with Max. And yet I’m still fixated and enthralled by the story – kudos to the author for such great writing.





“…I want to get you to a point that your thoughts are automatically centered on me. And nothing else. And that your behaviour is second nature.”

She’ll make a good wife… with a few more lessons.


Max, True Beginnings, True #2









So there I am hating on Max when he says
“But I don’t want you to be afraid of me truly hurting you. I will never do anything to you.. that can’t heal without damage.” I want to reassure her not frighten her this morning.


So just as I step back from the edge he then tells me
I expect her not to close any doors to me. She doesn’t have the right to privacy anymore.
aaaannnnndddd I’m right back at wanting to suffocate him.





“You don’t have the right to decide what you do, what we do, anymore. I expect you not to make plans again, Lucy. You get my permission first.”

I’ve been controlling and demanding.

“I’ve never lied to her. Lucy knows her place.”

“You belong to me, Lucy. You are mine. And I want you dependent on me.”

There may be times when she is unable to leave the bed after a spanking, legs and ass too swollen or sore.

She knows she can’t argue with me.

Her cries only drive me to want to hurt her more. I stop and take a few deep breaths, she keeps her eyes closed still.

Max, True Beginnings, True #2




Lucy doesn’t help matters either. She has me questioning her sanity on more than one occasion. I never could have imagined him slapping me, let alone me accepting it as punishment for breaking one of his rules. But he did… and I did. And now I’m forever changed somehow. I think and feel differently. It’s all about Max, pleasing him, not disappointing him… not angering him..


It’s those last three words that bother me. So often it’s all about Max but then just when I’m back to hating him he does something thoughtful for Lucy. I turn to Max and give him a kiss on the cheek, “Thank you for thinking of this.” I know it’s really his doing. His attentiveness to me, his caring nature, is what I fell in love with first.

No, my old self didn’t have someone who cares so much about me, loves me as much as I love him.



The number of times she flinches when he raises his hand – woah. She is on edge, she is jumpy, she is scared to upset or disappoint him. That is why this doesn’t really sound a healthy relationship. 




I’m afraid to move or speak.

And he told me the next day that was the only chance he was ever going to give me to make a decision for myself. I no longer had a choice of leaving him.
And I knew he was right. My heart no longer had a choice. I’d given in to him…to his anger…to his control…to his love.

Lucy, True Beginnings, True #2




description




Seriously girl? I’m torn between wanting her to just get the heck out of there and respecting her right to choose that relationship. Particularly as there are times Max’s control really does feel more like abuse. He frequently slaps, pinches and grabs at her. He seems to enjoy thrusting deep enough to hurt her during sex, he twists her wrist at one point, he controls what she is able to wear – even when this leaves her too hot or too cold. How is any of that showing care for her welfare and wellbeing? He gets angry that she “let guy’s touch her” as though she can control the actions of others.


And yet again there are times when he DOES seem to value, care for and put her needs first.




I’m glad that I’m still in control of my anger enough to stop from slapping her as hard as I want to.

My anger is only slightly spent. I am hurt by her betrayals. My anger keeps heating up and I have to breathe deeply to get it under control again.

“But I can’t punish you more… not tonight. You are too swollen already.” Knowing that he’s putting my safety and care ahead of his anger, even in his darkness, tortures me more.

I take aspirin out and walk back to the bed. When she returns I make her take these with the water. We have a long drive today and I don’t want her too stiff to go.

“I want to make everything perfect for you, Lucy”

Max, True Beginnings, True #2



I still like Jake better 


“I don’t want you to get hurt, Lucy, because he thinks it’s the only way to love.” He adds, softly, “You deserve better than that….”

Jake. True Beginnings, True #2
















A DARK EROTIC ROMANCE
True Beginnings is the second book in a series that includes two alternative endings. See for yourself why fans are saying this makes all the other dark romances look like greyed out shades of fairytales.

MORE OR ENOUGH
Max is all about being in control. It’s the only way he knows how to be. There’s never been a question in his mind about what he wants. Lucy may accept all that he demands, but his true nature could get in the way of their happy-ever-after.

GIVE OR TAKE
Lucy is head-over-heels in love, but she’s starting to figure out that this relationship may demand more than just the surrender of her heart to make it work. With a man as dominant as Max, nothing less than her absolute submission will suffice. She may not be ready for True Beginnings.

NOTE: All the books in this series are available for purchase/download now, so you won’t be left wanting or waiting. This series involves a combination of Domestic Discipline, D/s, and Sm
Now available in paperback too!




Excerpts:

Max has been more attentive than any other guy I’ve dated. He notices everything, keeps an eye on me at all times when we’re together, and always does little things to show me how special I am to him. But his attentiveness also means he has a lot of these pet-peeves. A long list of things he does or doesn’t want me to do. I don’t have to guess how to make him happy. He tells, shows me.

And I have surprised myself with how much I like it this way. He’s in control. I’ve wanted to please him from the beginning. I’ve wanted to follow his little rules and old-fashion-ness to show him how much he means to me. I’ve been proud of being able to do every little thing he’s asked. Since he slapped me, though, there’s also been this element of fear of not pleasing him.

And the depth of my response to that has been the hardest for me to understand. Just looking at the darkened look he still wears now… I know that I can give into these feelings…that I’m safe…to be turned on by his anger, his control.

…..

I put my hand in her hair, give a slight tug, but mostly rub her softness. She’s so small, so soft, so yielding. “I like hurting you, Lucy.” She rubs her head against my hand, the obedient puppy. “I like that you give yourself to me completely. That I can cause you pain and fear…I can make you my good girl again with my belt or my hand…” I lower my hand to her butt. Still a little warm, the pinkness not quite faded. I pinch her lower cheek, not hard, but it’s still tender enough to squeeze the breath out of her. “That’s what punishment does…it makes you my good girl again. You want that, don’t you?”

“Yes, Sir!” Her whole body answers, trying to sway closer to me, but not moving from her spot, arms still held tight against her back. 

















Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QJISVDA/
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00QJISVDA/





Ratings
5 stars – This is a book I will not forget and would definitely read again.


4 stars – I really enjoyed this book, I might not read it again but I would definitely recommend it to others.


3 stars – This story was good but either forgettable or just very typical of its genre.


2 stars – Whilst the book was readable I either didn’t enjoy parts of the plot or just could not connect to the main characters.


1 star – This is a book I simply could not finish for reasons listed in the review.

REVIEW //\\ True Nature



TRUE NATURE (True #1)
by Willow Madison














Now I know how my friends felt after reading this. I’m not quite sure just what I want/need to say.


So I’ve seen rave reviews and scathing reviews, for this book, and I can see how both have merit, because this deals with a D/s relationship that verges on the abusive. The deciding factor for me was that Lucy chose Max, even knowing what might be instore for her (more on this later). There are a lot of things about Max to dislike, but none of that is due to bad writing or bad characterisation. In fact I’m pretty certain this is a deliberate move by the author and it certainly had me questioning both his morals AND my morals at times. You don’t have to like Max to enjoy this story, in fact I’m firmly in camp “toss his ass to the kerb” at the moment. I’m looking forward to seeing how this story unfolds and experiencing the journey it takes me on.


I liked Lucy, she was sometimes confused by her reactions, and struggled with her unexpected responses to Max. To quote her directly 




“My brain said to run, my body said to stay, my heart… my heart was afraid to decide.” 


There were times she felt a little weak BUT that’s from my perspective of knowing I could never be that submissive in a relationship. It was what Lucy craved, so if it was OK for her, who am I to judge? Between SSC, RACK and mind-your-own-goddamn-business, no one decides on someone else’s relationship.


Max knew exactly what type of relationship he wanted, it verged on a Master/slave one. He pretty much wanted to dictate Lucy’s entire life, at times it felt almost to the point of what she thought. And however much my modern, liberated woman brain screams against that, if it is what works for the couple involved it is no-one else’s business. We did get an insight into why he feels the way he does, and whilst it doesn’t excuse some of his behaviour, it does explain it and allow us to understand his motivations.


What did cause problems for me is that in that particular dynamic the welfare of the sub/slave should be paramount to the Dom/Master. Her needs should be met and her safety, both physical and mental, taken care of. Max was sometimes a thoughtless, selfish, ignorant ass and I severely wanted to kick his behind on more than one occasion.  If he wants total control of her he has a responsibility for her welfare, ones that he frequently seems to shirk. For example, despite knowing how overwhelmed Lucy is at meeting his parents for the first time, despite knowing she needs his support, he sends her to help in the kitchen and later on orders her around like his skivvie, despite her not having agreed to a “dynamic” style of relationship at that point. He also ignores her distress “I stand up and Lucy gives me a pleading look.” and her pain “I can’t… I’m too sore.” (for more sex). He is either totally responsible for Lucy or he isn’t, but it shouldn’t only be when it suits him.


I also struggled with how he revelled in her fear. She should fear a punishment but not because of the pain it causes but because of the disturbance to their dynamic. And should Max really enjoy her fear in those situations? Hmmmm……..


So getting back to the “might” from earlier. I did feel that at the end this did stray into the area of dubious consent, when Max punished Lucy before he had discussed consequences of her actions – particularly when she hadn’t been punished for it previously.  However when given the choice she DID decide to stay. Whether she is staying in a consensual relationship or an abusive one remains to be seen in the next book. Which I bought and read the moment I’d finished this one.











DARK ROMANCE
A warning comes with this book. It’s not a typical hearts and flowers romance. There are thorns and it’s not for the faint-of-heart.

LOVE OR LEAVE
Max, true to his nature, takes control right from the start. Lucy has no choice but to give in. As she fights to understand her willingness to give him everything, he pushes her for more.

STAY OR GO
Theirs is a journey with many a twist and turn, but isn’t love always? It’s the slow build that happens when sweet and shy meets determined and dominant.

In the end, the choice is clear. Stay or go. Love or leave. Be what is needed or turn away from True Nature.

This is the start of something darker. True Nature is the first book in a series that includes two alternative endings. See for yourself why fans are saying this makes all the other dark romances look like greyed out shades of fairytales.

NOTE: All the books in this series are available for purchase/download now, so you won’t be left wanting or waiting. This series involves a combination of Domestic Discipline, D/s, and Sm
Now Available in Paperback too!


Excerpts:
Max is a gentleman. A very old fashioned guy. He explained to me. That previous girlfriends had claimed he was chauvinistic, misogynistic, a bully, possessive, antiquated, abusive. He used those words.

And he said he didn’t care if that’s how today’s world would view him. He only cared about being true to himself…and about how I viewed him.

Therein lies the problem…how do I view him? How do I reconcile the loving, gentle man who takes such attentive care of me, to the one who makes me wet ordering me around, to the one who scares me with how much he demands?! I don’t know what to think!

…..

I lift Lucy’s chin to my face. She slowly raises her eyes. The most beautiful light blue, the lids a little red from crying. “Let me see you.”

She blinks the last of her tears away as I turn her face to the right. “You’ll have a mark.” She tries to jerk her head away, but I hold her in place. Only her eyes dart to me, the fear back in an instant. “You can look in a minute.” I let go of her face, putting my hand back around her waist. She’s still shaking a little. She sniffs and starts to lower her face again.

“You have one more thing to do before you can wipe your face and nose.” Her head jerks back up. I love how responsive she is…how open she is. Her eyes tell me so much…fear, hope, and that beautiful look of shame again. “You have to say you’re sorry for misbehaving.” 








Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00Q2AVXG2
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00Q2AVXG2
Amazon AU – https://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B00Q2AVXG2
Amazon CA – https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00Q2AVXG2



Ratings
5 stars – This is a book I will not forget and would definitely read again.


4 stars – I really enjoyed this book, I might not read it again but I would definitely recommend it to others.


3 stars – This story was good but either forgettable or just very typical of its genre.


2 stars – Whilst the book was readable I either didn’t enjoy parts of the plot or just could not connect to the main characters.


1 star – This is a book I simply could not finish for reasons listed in the review.