The Master (The Game Maker #2) by Kresley Cole
You know how those billionaire-hero-and-bdsm-aficionado-because-he-has-a-traumatic-past erotic romance books got kinda old around 4 years ago? Well, let's reconsider that! In Kresley Cole's super sexy and oh so passionate tale 'The Master', Lucia meets Maksimilian, Maksimilian meets his match, and Maksimilian's chastity belt is met with delight.
'The Master' is the second book in the Game Maker series which marked Kresley Cole's first foray into erotica. And make no mistake, with a 'sex to plot'-ratio of probably 75/25 this is straight-up book porn. And delightful porn at that, with a dash of romance on top. It seems that Tanya and I will have to agree to disagree on Ms Cole's writing…
Maksimilian Sevastyan, whom we have met briefly in the previous book, is a Russian politician and Mafia boss. He is also tall, handsome and a call girl hobbiest, i.e. a frequent consumer of paid sex. Lucia on the other hand is on the run from her black widower husband and desperately trying to graduate college, which, and that makes sense, is not easy when you have to start anew every few month due to being a fugitive.
She meets Maksimilian after a possible sighting of her ex that left her in a panic and scrambling for money to skip town asap. A business major, she is no stranger to risk/reward analysis and that apparently translates straight into prostitution as a means of solving cash flow problems (I don't know, I only studied Computer Science). So they meet. And then they ignite.
To anyone who has read any of her 'Immortals After Dark' books it will come to no surprise that Kresley Cole can do sexy seriously well. But hell do those books pale in comparison to what Ms Cole will do when she commits to writing proper erotic fiction. 'The Master' truly is a masterclass on how to write erotic romance (no punny regrets!) featuring steamy and inventive sex that never gets repetitive. The passion Lucia and Maxim share is incredibly convincing and I am not sure I have ever read another romance book in which the protagonists' excitement was so well conveyed. The banter is fun and the dirty talk off the charts. In particular, I massively enjoyed that both just went for it in the sex department, both initiated and owned their desires.
Both protagonists are strong and lovely characters and I liked them a lot. Despite all their baggage, 'The Master' is actually a light read with lots of humour and fun and of course plenty of sizzle and chemistry between the couple. The romance, too, was satisfying, even though the transition from lust to love happened quite quickly - especially for Maksimilian, who for all intends and purposes was initially set out to be a cynical and aloof politician. But let's stop pretending that I cared much about plot development anyways, I was busy with the sex scenes...
I also would like to point out a little sub plot that I think deserves mentioning. Lucia is believed to be an illegal immigrant by a few people she comes across in the book and is exploited as such. I found it very commendable that Ms Cole chose to highlight the plight of those who are not protected by law due to their immigration status at a time when the legalisation of illegal immigrants is a hotly debated topic. With just a few sentences here and there she shows the reader what it means to not being able to get help in matters of economic and sexual exploitation.
All in all, I just really loved 'The Master' and can only really recommend it to those who are looking for some sensual and explicit reading!