By L.A. Witt
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Dr. Mikhail “Misha” Budnikov takes one look at fellow fencer Ryan O’Connor and instantly knows his type. The undisciplined hothead is all ego with no finesse and even less control. In short, Misha’s pet peeves personified. To put the arrogant kid in check, Misha challenges him to a sparring match, which he predictably wins.
Not so predictably, Ryan asks him to be a mentor and show him how to fence. Startled by the moment of humility, Misha agrees.
What begins as fencing lessons becomes something much hotter, and before they know it, Misha is giving Ryan an entirely different kind of education. Dominance, submission, pain, pleasure—at the hands of an older, experienced man, a whole new world is opening up for Ryan.
As the trust deepens and their bond strengthens, though, Ryan retreats because that sham called love left him jaded long ago. Cynical beyond his years, he’s not letting his guard down, least of all for a thrice-divorced man twice his age.
Now Misha has to find a way to crack through those defenses…or accept defeat and walk away from the submissive who might just be the love of his life.
Absolutely, completely, and breathtakingly amazing.
This was definitely one of the most mesmerizingly beautiful love stories I ever remember reading. I can’t fathom any reader rating this story below a 5+ star.
The completeness, depth, and follow-through of the storyline, the various plot angles, and appropriately timed integration of backstory elements (especially relating to Ryan) were masterfully executed. Simply put, the writing, storytelling, characterization, and plot development were brilliant. I cannot applaud this work sufficiently… in fact, truth be told, I’ve been listing names of people to whom I can recommend the book, whether it’s from the perspective of a must read for the genre, or its writing quality and style, or a number of other reasons.
Where do I start?
No, I didn’t get drawn in by the cover. It’s ok, but it didn’t trip my trigger… still doesn’t… but it’s not as if I’ve ever made the decision to read (or not read) a book based on a cover design anyway. The same can sort of be said about fencing: I knew next to nothing about it before I dove into this book, and I still don’t (nor do I care), aside from a basic list of new vocabulary words.
Perspective. This may have been a romance between an older man and a younger, less experienced man, but age simply had nothing to do with any of it. You don’t pick who you fall for or who you’re attracted to – it just is, regardless of whether you deny it or not. This sums everything up to me, and is one of the most compelling and beautiful things I’ve ever read.
We were as different as two men could be, and yet here we were – as compatible as if we’d been made for each other.
I wasn’t a believer in fate or any of that other nonsense, but I couldn’t help thinking the timing was flawless. If we’d crossed paths sooner, it wouldn’t have worked. I might’ve still been married, still with Gene, still been licking my wounds from another relationship gone bad. He might’ve not been ready to forge his own way and follow his own heart instead of a prescribed path from people who expected him to comply.
Now, though, it was almost as if the winding, obstacle-riddled road I’d traveled had been inevitably leading to him. That when we were ready for each other, there we’d be, and here we were. And now that we were, he was everything I had no business falling for, and everything I couldn’t help falling for.
Balance. The age gap was chronological, not defining. Though younger than Misha, Ryan was jaded beyond his years, and understandably so. Broken. Vulnerable. Lost. His family life was truly messed up, and tried to protect himself by not feeling true emotion. He could have been such an entitled brat, but he was as far from that as imaginable. Misha/Mikhail provided the balance Ryan needed, and in turn, Ryan fulfilled what had been missing from his life. Together they completed their puzzle.
Intensity. The emotional intimacy was nearly suffocating in how intoxicating, sensual, and erotic it was. There is sex, yes – steamy, hot, delicious sex – but it’s the depth of their mutual devotion and unconditional love that was simply awesome. And Mikhail’s commitment to making Ryan’s fantasy come true? If that doesn’t blow you away, nothing will.
And finally – FINALLY – I understand the draw, the emotionally powerful pull, of BDSM. It’s always been somewhat of a mystery to me. And that is what leads me to say, simply put, this is the best BDSM story I have read to date.
Simply spectacular. Five stars doesn’t come close to doing this story justice.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader’s Copy of The Master Will Appear.
Review originally posted on Amazon and Goodreads on June 6, 2017.