Contemporary Erotica, 2008
Branded is a hardcore BDSM story, so you shouldn’t open this book expecting some of the tamer stuff found in more romance-focused erotic fiction currently in the market. The prologue has the heroine getting a burning brand applied to her rear end, so this is really not your grandmother’s favorite Aphrodisia or Ellora’s Cave story.
Our heroine, Sondra, is worried when she learns that her sister Melanie has taken up the submissive lifestyle and is now the plaything of one Master Demian. Sondra is concerned because she is supposed to be the wilder sister. She doesn’t know what to make of Mel quitting her job and selling her house so that Mel can be her master’s plaything 24/7. Sondra has a two-week vacation lined up, so she decides that it will be wise of her to go visit Mel and this Master Demian, if only to make sure that Mel is not being forced into her new lifestyle and that Mel is really happy like she claims she is. You can imagine what happens when Sondra meets Master Damien, I’m sure.
BDSM isn’t my cup of tea since I can never get into the fantasy. Therefore, a part of me still can’t get into Branded at the end of day, which actually says more about my preferences than the quality of the book. Nonetheless, despite that, I have to admit that I find Master Damien a seductive erotic figure in this story and I easily see why a skeptic like Sondra can fall under his spell. What really impresses me about this story is how the author takes meticulous care to describe not just the act but also the sensations and the emotions experienced by Sondra under she undergoes her training with Master Demian. The writing is vivid, evocative, and sensual. The author also goes into Sondra’s head, peeling away her defenses. I don’t know if the psychology of the submissive as depicted here is accurate or not, but I do know that the author manages to draw me inside Sondra’s head to the point that it is as if I am experiencing vicariously those sensations through her.
Oh, and maybe I should warn some readers that the two sisters get to be touchy-feely with each other, so those not into this kind of thing may want to stay clear.
Poor Branded is, in a way, at a disadvantage with me because the sexual fantasy it is selling is not one that I am particularly enamored of. However, even so I have to admit that I am impressed by the author’s sense of description. She really knows how to draw the reader into her character’s cornucopia of thoughts and erotic sensations. If Ms Lee writes something that doesn’t center so much around domination and submission, I suspect that I will like that one very much indeed. Which is to say, if you enjoy BDSM erotica, I suspect that you may very well have a much more enjoyable time here than I did.