Claimed by Stacey Kennedy (Club Sin #1)

Synopsis:

17609863Presley Flynn is ripe to experience her secret fantasies . . . and Dmitri Pratt wants nothing more than to fulfill them. Once inside the elite Club Sin in Las Vegas, Presley is nervous but excited—and determined to surrender to her every desire. Dmitri is her Master, and his touch is like fire. With each careful, calculated caress, he unleashes her wildest inhibitions, giving her unimagined pleasure.

Presley is different than the other submissives Dmitri has mastered. The BDSM lifestyle is new to her, and so are the games they play at Club Sin. From the start, Presley stirs emotions in him far beyond the raw purity between a dom and the perfect sub. For the ecstasy they share goes beyond the dungeon igniting a passion that claims the very depths of the heart.

Review:

Claimed starts off with a disclaimer saying that this series of books is “not intended to be an actual portrayal of the BDSM lifestyle; nor [is it] meant to be a real representation of a BDSM club”. Kennedy could have just said, “This club is too good to be true and could never exist. Please don’t leave your husband and job to find it no matter how bad you want to kthx bye.”

Casino president Dmitri is a “true” ~eyeroll~ dominant. Without a fix in the bedroom his professional life goes to hell so he built a mansion with Club Sin in the basement. Membership is free (of course) as Dmitri is looking to help others with a love of dominance and submission while fulfilling his own need. Help is a big theme here – our heroine Presley needs help getting into the lifestyle and breaking free from her controlling ex, Demitri needs help so he can allow himself to love, someone else needs help moving on after her husband dies.

BDSM as healing or therapy or whatever isn’t new but it always strikes me as… odd. It’s like like saying writing is therapy – it can have a therapeutic effect but I’m not sure it replaces someone with a Ph.D and a funky couch. It seems to me that getting into the lifestyle can help you work through things, but maybe not in the “have this powerful/troubling scene, become enlightened, be ‘cured'” way Claimed and other BDSM erotica sets forth.

Anywho, the story follows Presley’s introduction to submission, from a trial period and contracts to finding her perfect dom. I found her journey to be believable – while she’s primed to be a sub she still has reasonable doubts and fears that have to be worked through. Sure, she landed in Club Amazing with Mr. Perfect, but the internal challenges are all there.

For external difficulties we have Presley’s cheating ex-boyfriend with stalker tenancies. Maybe I’m just sensitive because I’ve read two books with this type of character back to back but the ex as stalker/enemy/evil dude trope is starting to get to me. Perhaps this is why I read paranormal – it’s so much easier to write evil dudes when they can be devils or vampires or shapeshifters.

The oft-covered “submissive does not equal doormat” topic is done well here, with examples of women happy as bedroom submissives and sex slaves both.

When it comes down to it Claimed is a light, fun tale of wish/fantasy fulfillment. If you’ve been neck deep in depressing literary fiction or just want everything to go right for once you’ll enjoy this fast read.