Commanded (Club Sin #6) by Stacey Kennedy
Stacey Kennedy’s Commanded is the sixth installment in her Club Sin series.
Commanded opens with a brief, teasing scene inside of Club Sin, but pulls back all too quickly to start immersing the reader in the drama at hand: Sawyer, a handsome, dedicated cop and Master at the club, finds out that his baby sister has been attacked. While he’s too late to prevent the violence, Sawyer is determined to track down the man responsible. Luckily, when the police hit dead ends trying to hunt down his sister’s deadbeat boyfriend, Sawyer knows just who to call--Chloe Nash, a beautiful and talented Private Investigator. The sparks fly immediately, of course, and hijinks ensue, as they are wont to do.
The first thing you’ll notice is that, for a kink novel, Commanded is dishearteningly lacking in actual kink! Look. If you first scene is IN a BDSM club, I expect, you know, ropes, whips, what have you--kink. In fact, the boner to drama ratio is a little off in a general sense. We get a couple of decent scenes, but it left me feeling a little wanting. I have no issue with novels that are sex-heavy and light on plot, or straight romances, that sidestep hardcore sex entirely, but Commanded seems to be trying to have the best of both worlds; unfortunately, the result is a plot that’s scattered and distracting punctuated by largely forgettable sex scenes.
Chloe and Sawyer’s relationship isn’t sold terribly well, either. The attraction between these two characters is supposed to be mind-bendingly magnetic, but Kennedy struggles to make it believable. Yes, we all meet people who cause our genitals to malfunction and take over our brains. That lust can, in turn, gradually become a deep, meaningful romance. That’s how falling in love works! If that happens here, though, I think I missed it (was my copy missing a chapter? One where they get to know each other, beyond “I am into bondage.” “I am not so sure about this bondage thing.” “Let’s make out, that will solve everything.”?) I think all the meth-fueled drama was supposed to be their emotional peak, but that’s not what I got from it.
A lot of the tension (besides the distracting methy/kidnappy side plot) comes from Sawyer’s concern that Chloe is too innocent for the “lifestyle.” The whole sentiment rings sort of false, to be honest. Yes, she’s sexually inexperienced in a general sense, but she is also an adult woman who has been working as a Private Investigator for years. She’s not exactly a blushing teenager. Plus, after hinging so much of the plot on the idea that Chloe might not be up to it, the whole concept is resolved abruptly, and somewhat dissatisfyingly, by declaring that Chloe is a “natural submissive,” and then, in the same breath, deciding that all that kink stuff isn’t that important anyway, because sometimes plots are difficult to plan out, you guys.
This isn’t to say that Commanded is completely without merit. Chloe, when she’s not being underestimated or over-protected, has some good moments, and Sawyer comes off as sexy and caring. The side characters (who have all had their own novels) are compelling. It’s a short, relatively fun little jaunt, and certainly not the worst way to burn through an afternoon, cheesy dialogue and overwrought plotlines aside. There’s even one good scene at the end that actually provides some decent wank material, which is always lovely. But if you’re into kink, I think you’ll be sorely disappointed; and if you’re after straight up romance, there are probably better options out there.
All in all, Commanded is simply trying to do too many things. Is this the ingenue being introduced to a world of sexuality she’s never dreamed of? Is it the ultra-masculine SWAT guy saving his tough but vulnerable girlfriend from danger? Or is it the discovery of twue wuuuv between two people who are really great in bed together? By throwing all of these plot elements into such a short novel, Kennedy winds up doing none of them justice, and at a certain point they just distract from one another. While I would absolutely recommend checking out some of the other Club Sin offerings, Commanded just falls shy of the mark.