Unfair Advantage

Bryce Halsey is the obvious person to take over the family business, Halsey Unlimited, Incorporated when his father, Jacob retires in 5 weeks. So when Bryce is called into a meeting and told that the board was considering hiring someone else unless Bryce straightened up his act immediately, he was shocked. Even more shocking was part of that straightening up his act was to either get engaged or get married! Though Bryce is in his fourth decade of life, he’s not sure he’s ready to get married. However, after thinking, Bryce decides that asking his assistant, Mattie Lawrence.

Mattie has worked for Bryce for the last 8 years, since she was 22 years old. She’s dependable and extremely capable, willing to work hard in the office and able to plan dinner parties for over 100. Mattie came into the office a scared young woman but is now able to face down Bryce and argue for what she thinks is right. She’s watched Bryce go through women for years so while she loves him, she doesn’t trust him for the long term.

It is also well known that the Halsey family owns and participates in Diablo Blanco Club, a BDSM club in San Diablo. Bryce is an accomplished Dom there, even training new Doms and Dommes. Mattie has never experienced the lifestyle and doesn’t know if she can. She doesn’t know that Bryce has been patiently waiting for her for 8years. His control is put to the test when Mattie wants a week to try being Bryce’s submissive with the agreement of no sex. Can she do it or will Bryce have to learn to leave his dominant tendencies behind?

This is the first book in Qwillia Rain’s Diablo Blanco Club series. I have to be honest, I’ve read two of the future books prior to reading this first book. However, I have found that all of these books can be read independently from the others. This first book introduced characters that will have their own books later and gave some great background for the entire series.

This story has a big BDSM element in it. I connected with Mattie and her sister, Lyssa quickly as they sat outside Diablo Blanco Club wanting to see if what they had read about BDSM clubs was true but scared to take such a step, even though they had been invited to the club several times. This wanting to know about something but scared to actually do it, especially with something like this, should connect with most people. It made Mattie and Lyssa feel more like me which had them both endearing themselves to me. While learning about BDSM, Mattie is exposed to several safety factors. Some would be the not serving of alcohol to people not having experienced this lifestyle so they can make decisions sober and knowledgeable as well as having a safe word that would stop all play. Mattie also makes a point that she could not have done many of the things requested of her without trusting Bryce. This was a trust that took years to develop, not a few minutes. Also, it is brought out that not everyone is ready to experience everything and that is okay.

The character of Mattie was one that was easy to understand. She expressed her feelings well and even when she knew she was being unreasonable she acknowledged that. She wanted Bryce to know she wanted to be collared without telling him and couldn’t understand why he didn’t know but wasn’t going to discuss it with him. This sounds like many relationships about many topics. Bryce was a bit harder to understand yet he was done just as well. He was fighting falling in love because he didn’t want the hurt of when that person would leave. He also wanted children and was willing to fight dirty to get them. He showed Mattie love, yet also held back. He was complex and confusing but extremely likeable.

There was more than just a romance going on. There were those board members that wanted Bryce gone. Their manipulations were seen throughout the story. In some ways they were very stereotypical bad guys and I never really understood all the motivations behind the actions. Still, this was the catalyst for the story and it worked well.

Much of this story revolves around sexual scenes that may or may not include BDSM elements. They are graphic and explicit. Some include bondage, spanking and even a threesome. If this type of thing is not your idea of interesting reading, don’t try to read this story. While there is a plot and more than sex, sex is a big part of this relationship and sharing it a natural result.

I am really glad I got the opportunity to read this first book in Ms Rain’s Diablo Blanco Club series. I have thoroughly enjoyed the other books I’ve read in the series and wondered how it started. I should have known that it would start with an absolutely awesome story and it did.

While this seems to play with the old story the secretary in love with her boss, this story brings much more than a tired storyline to table. It takes that storyline, tweaks it into something more and adds a few twists. When Ms Rain is through, it’s a story which draws your emotions and gives a wonderful view of a family’s lifestyle.

Thanks Ms Rain for such a wonderful introduction into a terrific series.

Book Blurb for Unfair Advantage

Master and part owner of the Diablo Blanco Club, C. Brysson "Bryce" Halsey is used to being in control and making important decisions. When a long-time enemy threatens to destroy the family business, he turns to his best friend for help.

Mattilda "Mattie" Lawrence knows her boss (and best buddy) well. Well enough to worry if her curiosity about submission could turn his proposed "marriage of convenience" into long, steamy sessions under his Dominant hand.

After demanding a week-long trial period before saying "yes" to tying the knot, this sassy sub knows that the spankings, the toys, and the promise of a ménage aren't the only things tempting her. It may take breaking a few of his rules to win her Master's heart...but what's a little flogging between friends?

Night Owl Reviews Jan, 2011 5.00