4 out of 5 Stars
Private Investigator Karina Mills is a widowed submissive with an unsavory past. She’s hired to find the killer of a young submissive, but she’s pulled into an official investigation by Derek Brighton and his team when it becomes clear it’s the work of a serial killer. Even worse, the killer has designated his next target—and it’s Karina.
Derek is an experienced Dom who has been dying to play with Karina, even though she’s not his type. He’s looking for “the perfect submissive,” which headstrong Karina definitely is not. Karina is also interested in playing the part of Derek’s submissive, and this case gives them the perfect opportunity to play together for a short time before they have to go back to their regular lives. But danger is out there, and Derek and Karina need to keep their focus on finding the killer.
The two grow closer during their play time, but Karina is still hiding secrets from her past and Derek has his mind set on an ideal submissive. With the help of their friends, they realize their wants and needs in a lover might not be all that far off. Derek just needs to save Karina from the serial killer in time.
Dungeon Games is a standalone novella in the Masters and Mercenaries series. I had mixed feelings about the story. Writing a standalone in a series takes some finesse, which I found this story to be lacking. In the beginning, the reader is introduced to a lot of characters and given their backgrounds—even characters who ended up not being part of this novella. This was distracting. Certainly it’s important to get the reader interested in whoever might be featured in other books, but it made it difficult to determine who was important to this story. I found myself trying to keep up with unnecessary information.
The start of the story was a little too cliché for me as well. Of course the assembled team would include many of their friends, and of course Derek’s ex-wife would be thrown into the mix to cause trouble. And worst of all, of course Derek and Karina were already privately lusting after each other. It was a little overdone. I would have preferred to not hear as much internal narration about how much Derek wanted Karina and vice versa. If the story had started with neither of them having any thoughts about the other and then growing closer as they worked and played together, I would have enjoyed it more.
Playing together was another point of contention for me. They needed to perform scenes together in public to get Karina on the killer’s radar while the team made sure they were safe, but I didn’t understand why they needed to play together privately. Both were experienced in their roles, so a discussion or two about how their scenes would go should have sufficed. It didn’t make any sense to me why they were sleeping together behind closed doors.
All that said, once I got into the meat of the story and suspended disbelief a bit, I did enjoy it. The writer’s style was enjoyable, the play time scenes were hot, and the suspense kept me turning the page. I was able to put the pieces together before the killer was revealed, but that didn’t stop me from wanting to read more and find out how everything was going to go down.
I struggled with rating this because of my previous points. In the end I went with 4 stars instead of 3 because the book really did hold my interest once I got past the beginning.