On Her Master's Secret Service (Masters and Mercenaries)

On Her Master's Secret Service - Lexi Blake Note to self: Put in reviews and ratings for the previous books in this series!This book is the story of Alex and Eve - what really happened to drive them apart, but keep them bonded through a contract. We know that they were married... that Alex was in the FBI... that while Alex was SAIC of a big case, the mad man/perp (Evans) captured, raped, and tortured Eve. In the aftermath, the marriage dissolved; but Alex was still Eve's Dom at Sanctum - with very specific rules about what was and wasn't allowed. The rules bound Alex tighter than Eve. Both were obviously miserable... both haven't moved on. Alex still claims to be in love with Eve. So what will it take?It takes the events in this story... an investigative reporter named Kristen contacts Alex with news about Evans. He's sponsoring small BDSM clubs (or what Evans thinks is BDSM) in Florida. The clubs, of course, are covers for money laundering and possible drug smuggling. The backers probably include terrorists on watch lists. Except there's very little proof, and less proof that ties it all back to Evans. Kristen has managed to dig up just enough information to whet Alex's revenge appetite again. Alex still blames himself for not paying attention to Eve's profile on Evans; he thinks that because he baited Evans, Evans went after Eve instead of Alex, as Alex expected Evans to do. Alex blames the break up of his marriage on Evans, and he wants vengeance for Eve's sake.Kristen is very mysterious and very particular about whom she trusts. She makes Alex agree to allow her to vet any and all team members he uses on this op. She's after the big story, and she doesn't want anything standing in her way. But the girl has mad skills - breaking & entering... guns... the way she moves so silently... and her ability to get information from copy machine memory cards and just about anywhere on the 'net rivals Adam's skills. Who is this woman? Can she be trusted?The set up is that Kristen is tending bar at one of Evans' clubs. A wanna-be mobster, Chazz, is running it; he's got the muscle behind him, but he's not too smart. Kristen's convinced him that she's off limits, because she's a lesbian who just lost her long time partner. Alex is coming in to as the Master Dom in Charge, to train all the would-be Doms and get the club going. He's planned to bring in Amanda/Mandy from Sanctum as his sub, because she's a cop. But Mandy's got too big a mouth and doesn't share well, especially with other women; besides, Eve doesn't want Alex being anyone else's Dom but hers. So she arranges a switch. Sean is going in as the chef for the kitchens. And Adam is in the shadows, as their computer guy.Alex busts a gut when Eve shows up. But what to do? Can they work together as a smooth Dom/sub in this op without tearing one another apart? Can they break the other's heart any more? Can Alex set aside his obsession with getting Evans to see what's important? Can Eve realize her own strengths and stand up for what she wants?======================There was a lot of twists to this book. No one is quite who they seem to be. Is Kristen more than a reporter? Could she be working for Evans? Who is it that she wants to "do good" for? What's Jesse Murdoch's story? Did the terrorists turn him on his last military op? What role does Alex's old FBI partner play in any of this? And what is Evans after this time?While I enjoyed the book, and I was glad to get Eve's and Alex's story, some of it just didn't seem to ring true. I didn't go back and re-read the 3 books leading up to this one, so perhaps I'm just not remembering the little that we knew from before correctly. But the way that Eve and Alex have been treating one another, I was surprised that they could have such a break-through in such a short time. Surely, during their BDSM sessions at Sanctum, something would have come through by now?But I guess the point is that they both shut the other out. Alex couldn't focus on Eve or truly being her Dom and taking control, because he felt so guilty - as if it was all his fault that Eve was taken and tortured. Eve can't seem to speak out for herself - she passively-aggressively enforced the strange contracts between them, essentially topping Alex through them. She wouldn't allow herself to feel or speak about the events, despite her psychological training. I guess it's the old "Physician, heal thyself" syndrome. But I was engrossed in the book quickly. And while it did seem like the issues were quickly discovered and resolved in the relationship, in the op they're on, it's anything but quick. The layers of who's really whom and who's on which side and what's really going on take awhile to get through.And the CLIFFHANGER! I knew, of course, that the person wasn't all that he/she seemed and had my suspicions. But to leave us there, knowing that we've got a full year or so before the next book. ARGH!