Dom is an absolute ‘force of nature’. He is handsome, brilliant, driven and has an innate ability to comprehend people’s motivations and to predict how they would act in a certain set of circumstances. This is one strong, enticing hero and I can say without hesitation that I fell in love with him. Dom is soon to be married to Clarissa, a smart and successful financial analyst, who has been extremely patient with his long hours and obsession with the investigation. Dom, however, is having second thoughts about his marriage to Clarissa who, in the short glimpse we are given of her, is a lovely woman.
When Dom was in his twenties he was involved in a short, very intense relationship with Laura Vasquez, a beautiful, very reserved and brilliant artist. Dom had been besotted, head over heels in love with Laura, however it ended in betrayal when she suddenly married Huey Mays, a cop and creepy slimeball ten years her senior. Laura never explained to Dom why she did it. He only knew she left him devastated. He tried hard over the years to extinguish the torch he carried for Laura. However, it continued to smolder and at times burn brightly.
Ironically, Huey was the linchpin for the FBI’s continued investigation into the corruption at the Chicago Police Department. He was arrested, jailed and then makes bail. He subsequently commits suicide leaving a note. It is in these unlikely circumstances that Laura and Shane meet again and their explosive passion is rekindled. As a side note, she is one of only three people on the planet that call Dom, ‘Shane’.
Here is a short sample of the passionate erotic prose that permeates the narrative of this novel. Shane has rescued Laura from a crush of press at the hospital following Huey’s death. At her insistence he takes her to her home instead of somewhere he feels would be safer. After Shane makes a surprising and powerful admission with respect to his knowledge of Laura’s intimate relationship with her disgusting husband (details that he learned through FBI wire-tapping) an angry, bitter exchange of words turns fiery.
“He saw her eyes go wide but he didn’t give her a chance to respond to his totally irrational proclamation before he covered her mouth with his own.
He drank from her furiously. Pain vibrated through his flesh. Not the discomfort of a wound or an injury, but the raw, searing pain that came from exposing a desire that had long been denied.
At that moment he needed Laura Vasquez just like he needed to breathe.
Later he wouldn’t be able to say at what point she stopped struggling, precisely when her tongue began to tangle with his, or when her hands rose to caress his neck and her fingers delved through his hair. She pressed against him almost frantically, the abrupt appearance of her need shocking him. . .and nearly blinding him with lust.”
Sweet Restraint © Beth Kery
After 13 years of pent up desire detonates between them resulting in an intense scene of spontaneous lovemaking, Laura refuses to talk or meet with Shane. He then devises and institutes an unorthodox plan to force her to acknowledge her desire for him, trust him and finally divulge her secrets. Shane knows in his bones Laura is a natural sexual submissive. Shane is a sexual dominant who has found satisfaction practicing a BDSM lifestyle over the years.
Needless to say, Shane calls off his marriage to Clarissa.
Risking all, Shane handcuffs Laura and takes her against her will to a remote cabin in northern Illinois. There, he nurtures her desire for him by making love to her. The scenes at the cabin are emotional, tender and sexually explicit. There is bondage and submission including spanking and paddling and Laura does respond to Shane in this context. IMHO, the character development in this novel is exemplary; I got to know these two people, felt the pain of their lost love, their frustration and their joy at finally being able to touch and become reacquainted with one another. There is one particularly powerful scene where Laura’s pent up anger bubbles to the surface with such fury she lashes out at Shane. He, in turn, feels remorse and questions his belief that he has done the right thing in essentially kidnapping her.
Laura is a very stubborn and private woman. She has dark secrets that she keeps locked deep inside because she feels she must. There were times where I, along with Shane, was very frustrated with this heroine because she cannot give him her trust and refuses to confide in him. However, as the story progresses to its riveting conclusion, I came to understand and respect why she felt she had to keep her secrets so close, literally bricking up a thick wall around herself.
Readers are also introduced to Elizabeth and Alex Dominic, Shane’s kind and understanding parents. There is a particularly poignant exchange between Laura and Elizabeth when they are reacquainted after so many years that brought tears to my eyes.
Laura’s only living relative is her brother Joey, also a policeman on the force, who plays a pivotal role in the story’s suspense subplot.
The antagonist in this story is a cruel, powerful man with a Machiavellian complex who has 35 years of tenure on the Chicago Police Department. Nothing happens in the city without Randall Moody knowing and he manipulates Shane, Laura and the secondary characters of this story, in surprising plot twists and turns.
The path to Shane and Laura’s HEA is not an easy one but if you are willing to ride the bumpy road with them, I hope you will find reading their story as emotional and special as I did. I will say, I think if you enjoyed “Wicked Burn”, you will find “Sweet Restraint” equally gratifying.
“This time, he'll never let her go.” As a reader, I was relieved he didn’t.