Today, I’m hosting award-winning romance author P. Stormcrow’s latest series release The Playgrounds, an erotic romance. Be sure to check out my reviews for books one and two The Words to Bind and The Will to Serve. Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.
It all started with a munch, a meetup for the kink-minded. How was Luna supposed to know that it would change her life forever?
A play party.
A Dom that sets her passion aflame.
After a string of failed vanilla relationships leaves her feeling unfilled, Luna Weir decides to give the fetish scene one last shot. But with her one and only experience as a submissive leaving much to be desired, she has little hope that the lifestyle is her answer. So when she gives the local scene one final try in the form of a casual meetup for the kink-minded, the last thing she expects is to be pulled back into the world of ropes and commands.
But that is precisely where she meets Jacob Dakota—Mr. Tall, Dark and entirely Dominant. The experienced Dom commands respect from other Dominants and desire from the subs in the community who frequent The Playgrounds, a local fetish club. And when Jacob takes her under his wing, Luna senses he wants something more beyond the careful words and veiled glances.
Now she must figure out whether her feelings for Jacob are enough for her to take a leap of faith and relinquish control. Because a simple yes will bind her to him, heart and soul.
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On the platform, a tall Asian man, young with a slim, athletic build, stood in the center. Rather than fetish wear, the man wore a pair of black slacks and a crisp white shirt with the sleeves rolled up. Behind him, lengths of rope already trailed from the hooks above that Luna had seen above earlier. Next to him stood Erica,almost a full head shorter, despite the impossible stilettos she wore.
“Good evening, all. I hope you are enjoying the party so far. It’s my pleasure tonight to introduce my dear friend Elijah Lee, who’s an award-winning artist in the shibari arts. You may have seen his works featured in national exhibits and various publications. Tonight, he will show us live how he turns the human body into art, and he has also graciously offered to teach some basics. Without further ado, I’ll pass the stage to you, Elijah.”
A brief smattering of applause filled the air before dying away.
“Thank you, Erica, for that kind introduction.” The man offered a slight bow, clapping both of his hands together. “It’s always a pleasure to share my art with others and to introduce shibari. You know, the word ‘shibari’ means ‘to tie in Japanese and comes from a martial arts style used to restrain captives. The name of its erotic counterpart, as we know it in North America and much of the Western world today, is actually ‘kinbaku.’”
Luna found herself once more itching for a notebook and she made a mental note to do more research when she got home.
He smiled, almost sheepish in his mannerism. “But you aren’t here for a history lesson. So instead, let me welcome my assistant to the stage. I have to thank Erica for so graciously letting me borrow Dominique.”
Widening her eyes, Luna inhaled as the submissive strode across the stage in her full naked glory and with confidence that she envied. Dominique’s legs seemed unending and her proud, larger breasts swayed, along with her hips. Luna could only hunch a little and lean closer against Jacob.
Another round of applause filled the air but Elijah was already a blur of motion. With deft movements, he looped different strands of rope around her body in dizzying ways and a hushed, almost revered silence fell on the crowd. When he next stepped back, he beamed as he showed the intricate harness he had threaded around Dominique’s abdominal area in a crisscross pattern that framed her breasts. The sheer sensuality of it all made Luna’s own breasts ache with need.
“Now, a party like this is also a rare opportunity for me to push my limits as an artist into more of the performance art variety. This is not something I usually get to do in my studio…” Elijah trailed off as he working again, looping the rope around her limbs, creating a V that dipped between her legs. Once done, he began pulling the ropes dangling from the hooks in the ceiling to tie around Dominique before hoisting her. Her body hung horizontal, face-up, with her back arched, her hair cascading down toward the floor. The rope suspended one leg upward. The other was bent back while he tied her arms behind her back. He ran his hand along her body and, in response, Dominique moaned, closing her eyes in obvious pleasure.
“While the art form is a sensual display of the human body”—Elijah circled his thumb along each of Dominique’s hardening nipples, and Luna had to bite back a moan herself—“the act itself can be extremely arousing for the one being tied.”
Luna’s breathing grew shallow as he trailed his hand downward. Her gaze followed Elijah’s, toward Erica, who gave a perceptible nod, likely for some permission. He trailed his hand farther down as he spun Dominique around until he was displaying her pussy to the crowd, a particular knot nestled against her glistening folds. He crept his hand with agonizing slowness and it was as if the crowd collectively held their breath for one of the goddesses of The Playgrounds.
Without thinking, Luna’s own hand rose to cross her own chest, reaching to hold on to the one Jacob had laid on her shoulder.
“You see, the knot in the middle, along with the tension that the entire harness is under from the suspension, creates a particular friction. And with a simple move, I can provide the most intense reactions.”
Elijah gave a hard tap on the knot. Immediately, Dominique’s body tensed and her face scrunched up. Encouraged by her reactions, he kept tapping, alternating in rhythm. As she began to writhe, he pressed the knot against her. Her lips parted in a wordless scream and her body spasmed in climax, causing all the ropes and Dominique herself to swing wildly.
Flushing now for a different reason, Luna tried to squeeze her legs together without drawing attention to herself. When Jacob turned his hand to engulf hers, giving it a reassuring squeeze, her stomach clenched and her core turned to a molten mess.
This is exactly what I love erotic romance to be—growing through sexual exploration. And the author more than delivers.
Luna is unsure where she fits… sexually and emotionally. Vanilla relationships do nothing for her, but she’s very leery of BDSM because of a previous bad experience. However, her low sex drive (she’s not happy about), and her loss of where she belongs in the world, coupled by her sexual core pushing her, compels Luna to try BDSM one more time, so she attends another “scene” but only as an observer.
I really loved the crossroads Luna’s at. With her job, she’s confident, but on a personal level, she’s lost. She also possesses many fears, the biggest one being loss. These issues are tackled in the novel through a wonderful Dom named Jacob, who also trains subs.
The author did a great job creating a three-dimensional character in Luna. She also did the same with Jacob, the Dom, and the supporting cast of characters, such as Lani, August, Ted, etc. Luna’s current friends and new friends she makes say a lot about her. She is a woman comfortable with all lifestyles and she’s a supportive and caring person.
Since I don’t know much about BDSM, the author did a great job introducing a newb like me to the lifestyle. And this was done not by exposition, but through the eyes of the characters. Well done, author. By the time I closed the novel, I had more than a good understanding of BDSM and the lifestyle.
The scenery is also rich in detail, and observed through the eyes of the characters, along with the emotions the characters are feeling about the scenery in each scene. Again, well done, author. I was truly a part of this novel.
The dialogue is true to each character and addresses the many problems, sexual encounters, and questions going on. The same for the sexual scenes. Nothing’s gratuitous. Each sexual experience for Luna is a new awakening to her true self.
By the time I closed the novel, I really knew Luna, and Luna had a good understanding of herself, along with her wants and needs. She also had to tackle something very big when it came to a love triangle, and she did so without regret. I loved how she stood firm with her pick.
I highly recommend you give this novel a read. You won’t be disappointed. The author did a great job bringing erotic romance to life through Luna.
When her contract with her Dom is about to expire and her past comes knocking, Luna must make the right moves or risk losing her heart and her soul.
On the surface, Luna Weir leads a perfectly normal life, but behind closed doors, she surrenders control to someone else—Jacob Dakota, who is sexy, charming and entirely dominant. The problem is that they only agreed to this power dynamic for a limited time.
Jacob has never taken on training a submissive for more than three years at a time. However, as their end date draws near, he finds himself more reluctant to let go of Luna than he’d expected. To make matters worse, Luna’s past returns in the form of the charismatic Bryan Walsh, her original Dom, who offers her another choice—to become his after her contract with Jacob expires. But there are secrets between the two of them that not even she can explain.
With the future of their relationship unknown and a suspicious Dom waiting in the shadows, Luna’s will to submit and Jacob’s ability to lead are both tested like never before. Now they must decide if what they feel for each other is strong enough to hold them together beyond their contractual terms—for the measure of a Dominant is how willing their submissive is to serve.
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It was inevitable. They had teased each other all day with texts back and forth that whetted each other’s appetite—but not enough, never enough. How many times did she zone out at work with blank stares and thoughts of things he would do?
The anticipation throughout the day was excruciating, but in some ways, the drive back to his place was worse. Silence filled the car, so much that at first she feared she had crossed some line and it would be punishment, not pleasure, that awaited But a tiny, barely perceptible steady increase in speed gave her the courage to steal small glances at him. The tightened jaw, the intense focus on the road, the grip on the wheel… Her breathing hitched. The signs were easy to miss, but she had known him for a long time. And now she wondered if she had pushed him too far in other ways.
Well, too far was…one way of putting it.
As soon as they stepped through the threshold of his apartment, he was on her. He pinned her to the door with one large hand holding both of her tiny wrists above her head. A button had flown off somewhere, her shirt half ripped open in haste to expose the bare skin—skin that he proceeded to first bite, hard enough to mark. Then came the lazy licks as his control exerted itself once more. He swept his tongue across to ease the pulsing pain. She squirmed and moaned as he nibbled with his lips and the occasional graze of his teeth down along the edge of her bra. But that was all. It was all teasing, drawing out the anticipation.
Almost against her will, she thrust her hips forward in an attempt to seek some relief as she ground against him and tried to entice him for more. A groan of frustration spilled from her and he smiled against her skin in response. She shifted her weight to try another tactic, sliding her leg up, rubbing her inner thigh along his hip while she mentally cursed the layers of clothing in between that undermined the effectiveness of the move.
“Eager, aren’t we?”
She flushed and squirmed again as he glided his free hand down her side and hooked it underneath her thigh.
His command startled her a little, but her body obeyed before she could register his words. Hazy fog clouded her mind. As he released her hands, she wrapped her arms around his neck and swung her other leg up, marveling still at how easily he could pick her up. She buried her face against the crook of his neck and inhaled, his scent faint with apple and cinnamon. The man had been baking again. Sweets, however, were very far from her mind at the moment.
It didn’t take long before she felt the softness of his bed against her rear. She settled and released her legs to let them drape with languid grace over the bed. But she remained reluctant to let go and kept her arms around his neck.
That was all it took. With a soft sigh, she released her grip and leaned back on her elbows while her gaze followed his every move as he straightened. With a boyish, crooked grin, he undid one button, then another until his white shirt parted to reveal the lines of toned muscles beneath it. In her head, she cursed the man’s ability to frame himself in the best light, always tempting her. She already knew she could never deny him anything, but when he was in that mood, she was helpless against his whims—and they both knew it.
He chuckled as he leaned forward and smoothed the pad of his thumb over her lower lip. “No biting yourself. That’s my job.”
In the second book of The Playgrounds series, Jacob and Luna are enjoying their contract a little too much. The book opens with their three-year contract coming to an end, and both are confused.
Jacob hasn’t had any problems in the past serving as a Dom, nor sending off the sub he’s trained to another Dom. So he has to take a good look at why Luna’s different and what he truly wants out of their master/sub relationship.
As for Luna, her confidence is growing in leaps and bounds. She knows why she doesn’t want their contract to cease. She cares too deeply for Jacob and wants more than a contract between them, but she’s unsure how to make her feelings known, since she’s aware Jacob has spent the last ten years training subs.
Then there is the man who put the fear into Luna who makes an appearance in her professional life, and also begins showing up in her personal life at The Playgrounds.
There’s a lot going on, and the author handled most of it wonderfully. For one thing, I enjoyed Jason’s character arc. In the first novel, he didn’t really have one because he was quite content where he was at in his life both professionally and personally. But with Luna as his sub, life is changing big-time for him, and he’s at a crossroads.
I must say I really like Jacob’s confidence. He’s a perfect Dom. And he’s not afraid to express his feelings when it comes to sharing with the people he trusts most. Communication is key in a Dom/Sub relationship, and Jason’s training to become a master is a big part of him, and it shows in his actions. Well done, author.
Luna is still doing her best to reach the point in her personal life where she can openly communicate her true feelings, but she is still having some fumbles and stumbles, especially when something horrible happens to her that she must address.
The plot did take the turn I hoped it wouldn’t, because I really enjoyed Luna and Jacob’s relationship in the first novel that was very personal and quite internal. But this plot becomes external with the past master showing up in town. Although I will say the author did fool me, and I’m glad she did because what she presented wasn’t what I expected. Great job! The author took a usual trope and turned it into something else, and this made me very happy as a reader.
I will say there is one character who I found a little bit too moustache-twirling ala Snidley Whiplash. I wish this character could have been presented better instead of used as a plot device because he could have really challenged the two leads more than what was presented (something I was hoping for).
Still, with that caveat, I closed the book quite satisfied with Luna and Jacob’s journey together. All questions were answered. The arcs were complete.
If you have the chance to read The Playground series, do so. It is so much more than erotic romance and BDSM. It’s a deep look into the personal and professional lives of two people who are exploring who they truly are and what they truly desire. You don’t be disappointed.
P. Stormcrow grew up with a love for love and somehow that turned into authoring contemporary and paranormal BDSM romances. Fierce women and sensitive men fill her stories while she examines social norms and challenges conventional tropes of the genre through her craft. She is the recipient of the 2021 inaugural Good Sex Awards in the category of Erotic Touch. Born in Hong Kong and raised in Canada, she enjoys writing about both cultures.
In addition to being an author, she is also a techie, a graphic designer, a mother, a lover, a fighter and a little bit of everything else in between. When she’s not typing away madly on her phone and running into poles, she enjoys copious amounts of tea, way too many sugary treats and as many sci-fi / fantasy / paranormal TV shows as she can sneak in time to watch.
– $20 Amazon giftcard – 1 winner;
– Signed copy of The Words To Bind + Swag Pack – 1 winner;
– Swag Pack – 2 winners!
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