Keys to Submission by Jennifer August
Publisher: Red Sage Publishing
Length: Full Length (274 pgs)
Other: M/F, BDSM, Spanking
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Plumeria
Sophie Turner, once the most scandalous debutante in Regency London, has only a few weeks to decipher the secrets of a mysterious journal and gain a treasure or lose her isolated country house forever. She never expected the lord next door and an unknown assailant to throw all her plans into chaos, never thought she might lose either her heart or her life.
Lord Ryder Ashford has decided the time is now for him to wed. He knows he’ll need a woman of elegance, refinement and purity. Having resigned himself to a life of vanilla sex and boring conversations, he’s shocked to find the scandalous Sophie Turner catching his eye … and his heart. Together, they will uncover secrets best left alone, embark on a quest for treasure and create a bond steeped in sensual love-making, daring forays into the world of dominance and submission and a love that will defy Society.
Who likes a two for one? Or should I say who doesn’t?
I, for one, love getting two things for the price of one. Which is one of the reasons I highly enjoyed this book by Jennifer August. While this book is a historical romance it's also a suspense and BDSM novel. Each part was brought to the table by one of central characters of the story making it work beautifully.
Keys to Submission starts off with Sophie Turner elbow deep in a riddle which will lead her to treasure. Something which will hopefully set Sophie’s life on a course of easy living for the rest of her days. After making a mistake during her first season, she waves her independence like a flag during war instead of waving a white flag and doing what would’ve been right. Now an outcast, the lost treasure is Sophie’s last chance to better her position. But first she must engage the help of her handsome neighbor.
Enter the earl, Ryder Ashford. He, of course, thinks she's the loveliest creature ever. She’s spunky, flirty and smart. What’s not to like? Deciding he can’t keep his hands off her, he decides to follow his gut and show Sophie she's a submissive at heart. Making an agreement that would allow him to assist her with her treasure hunt, it also allows him to show her the dynamics of a Dom/sub relationship.
The BDSM portion of this book was light by todays standards, and even a little light compared to other historical BDSM books. However, I think that's what made this story so charming. Ryder loses all his good intentions for training whenever she's around because she enjoys whatever it is he teaches. Sophie shamefully teases him to distraction whenever she can.
I thought the two of them were just adorable. I loved how the historical factor wrapped around them both. Her suspense and his BDSM really let them be who they needed to be instead of suffocating the story with rights and wrongs of society. Ryder never really changed who he was as a Dom, yet grew better. And Sophie’s sassy charm kept her independence right up front. I just adored the book from beginning to end.
This is the sequel to Her Dark Master which is about Ryder’s sister, Victoria. While several characters from the book appear here in Keys to Submission, this can be read alone and the reader won't feel completely lost.
I advise anyone who likes strong heroines and sweet loving heroes to pick up this book and its prequel.