THE MASTER (The Game Maker Series #2)
by Kresley Cole
Publisher: Simon and Schulster (UK) / Gallery (USA)
Publication Date: 17th February 2015(UK) / (US)
Format: Paperback (416 pages)
Source: Review Copy
Everyone fears the Master…
Rich, irresistible politician/Mafiya boss Maksimilian Sevastyan prefers tall, obedient blondes to fulfill his…complicated desires. That is, until the icy Russian encounters a disobedient brunette whose exquisite little body threatens his legendary restraint.
Catarina Marín was a well-off young wife until her world fell apart. Now she’s hiding out, forced to start working as an escort in Miami. Her very first client is beyond gorgeous, but when he tells her what he plans to do to her, Cat almost walks out of the door.
If pleasure is a game, play to win.
After their mind-blowing encounter burns out of control, the lovers crave more. If they escape the deadly threats surrounding them, can Maksim overcome his past – to offer Cat his future? Only then will she tempt him with what he really wants: her, all tied up with a bow. (Goodreads)
I’m going to be perfectly honest, the main attraction for me in reading this book was the fact that the model on the front cover looked very much like Michael Fassbender. Thankfully The Master is more than just a pretty cover and once I started the book I couldn’t put it down.
The Master is very much in the vein of a modern day fairy tale. Maksimillian Sevastyan is no traditional White Knight. In fact he comes across more like the Beast from Beauty and the Beast, his intent to keep Catarina for himself. Though he protests at the begin and general acts like a right douchebag to Catarina for a good chunk of the book. Yet, it seems that this is his form of endearment towards her. As the two give way to the attraction they have between them, Catarina begins to melt the ice that is around Maksim’s heart.
In most books, the female lead usually achieves this by being the sweet, innocent and sometime naïve flower that needs this alpha male to help awaken her sexuality. Catarina is not that type of heroine and this was what I found really refreshing about the book. She has a spirit in her that showcases the Latin temperament. Yes, she at times is all bravado and quite a few times you can see her barely holding on to this tough as nails attitude she want Maksim to see. Catarina is a fractured soul and when I found out her backstory, my heart went out to her, yet I know she would have scoffed at my sympathy for she is a fighter and she fights for what she believes in. Throughout all her ordeals, she keeps fighting and proves that she is a survivor, even when the odds are against her.
The interesting thing about the dynamic between Maksim and Catarina, is the fact that they both try to use the client/escort to keep it each other at arms length. Both wield this relationship to hurt the other person, when it looks like Catarina or Maksim is getting that bit too close. Though both have justifiable reasons to use this, twice in the book, I found myself really wanting to knee Maksim in the family jewels for the way he treated Catarina. I won’t spoil what actually happens, but the incidents bookend the story.
As this is a romance, you know that they will reconcile before the closure of the book, but that doesn’t mean that Catarina makes it easy for Maksim.
It would be difficult to write a review, without talking about the more steamy scenes of the book. Though there are a lot of them, they do seem pretty natural and fit the tone of the book. Cole knows how to right a scene that is sensual yet erotic and more than once I felt that I needed to fan myself, they were so hot.
This book has a lot going for it, but it wasn’t without its flaws for me. After Maksim’s huge “foot in mouth” incident near the end of the book, I could see the catalyst that would bring them back together as soon as Catarina’s teacher spoke about “the mysterious man who was asking about her”. The signs were all there and though Cole had sprinkled little breadcrumbs throughout the book, it still seemed a little forced. I understood why this had to happen, but it felt a bit rushed. Thankfully it wasn’t enough to really diminish my enjoyment of the overall book and by the time I closed the book, I wanted to read about Maksim’s other brothers, the mysterious Dmitri and the elder Aleksander. Though there is no conformation on Dmitri’s book, I do have Aleksanders sitting on my TBR shelf.
Sometimes all you need is a book that takes you away from the humdrum of your normal day, only to take you to a world where that Russian Mafioso is really the knight in shining Armour. All the while our “damsel in distress” is a smart mouthed, sassy Hispanic firecracker, who is more than a match for the hero.
The Master is such a book with various familiar elements from fairy tales (here’s looking at you Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast and Sleeping beauty) with that more recent “Fairy Tale” style film of Pretty Woman and the sexual chemistry between Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt in Mr & Mrs Smith.
BOOKS IN SERIES ORDER
1 The Professional
2 The Master