4.5 hot branded stars
"There's this theory, that when two people focus on the rhythm of their hearts, it synchronizes them. Brings the beats together."
What happens when a natural submissive falls in love with someone who is not wired for the D/s lifestyle?
Branded Sanctuary is the story of Brendan and Chloe. We know from Ice Queen that Brendan is a natural submissive. It's part of his nature. It is who he is. He accepts it. He embraces the whole D/s lifestyle.
Chloe was a whole different matter already. After a brutal attack that left her fearful and angry, Brendan became her anchor. The problem is Chloe wasn't into the culture at all. She wasn't a natural domme. In other words, she wasn't what Brendan needs but fortunately, she is what Brendan wants.
I loved this book. I loved the fact this wasn't your usual D/s story where a vanilla girl got seduced into the D/s lifestyle and embracing it without even blinking an eye. For one, the guy here wasn't a Dom. He's a submissive, so that definitely put an interesting twist there already.
I loved the fact that Chloe openly questioned the lifestyle. She wasn't judgmental although there were times when she came off as such, I attributed it more to her fear rather than condemnation to those who embraced such lifestyle. Her questions were genuine. I would imagine, as someone who wasn't used that lifestyle would question the psychology behind it. I liked that. It was believable to me.
I also liked the fact that JH was able to resolve their situation in a realistic manner. In a way, Brendan and Chloe didn't give up their identity just to be with each other. Brendan didn't shed his submissive nature, he even went deeper with and understood that by acknowledging his own wants and needs, he was making Chloe happy.
"Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength."
There were some heart-rending moments in the book. One of them was when Chloe found out Brendan used to be Marguerite's submissive and has in fact branded him as hers. I was a mess reading that. Thankfully, that part of the story didn't drag on and on. It was resolved and the confrontation between Marguerite and Chloe was simply awesome. It was intense.
Another favorite was of course, Tyler and Marguerite, whom we knew from Ice Queen and Mirror of My Soul. They figured prominently here both as a foil to Brendan and Chloe and I loved it. Getting a glimpse of Tyler's Southern gentleman charm and wicked sense of humor is always a treat.
Some Memorable Quotes
“There are many things that men don't do any more that they should. Particularly for women.”
“That's what he wants for you. When two people want each other to be happy so much they're willing to break their own heart to let the other go, it's kismet. Two idiots canceling one another out.”
“I've never wanted something as much as I want you, Chloe. I've never had someone I wasn't prepared to let go. Someone I wanted to keep, more than anything else. I was fine with that, until I met you that night at the wedding. I wanted to call you a hundred times, but I didn't, because I told myself it had to be about what you wanted, not what I wanted.”