Length: 120,000 words
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.
I've reached a point where when I read a blurb or an excerpt from a book where I take it for what it is (an enticement to read the story), but then go into the story with only a vague expectation based on that, because when I think I'm going to get one thing...sometimes what I end up with winds up being miles beyond what I expect. What starts off as an older/younger matchup to teach and learn evolves into so much more-actually, exponentially more-in The Master Will Appear...and in the process this story throws the doors to deep emotion wide open.
Misha is the experienced older man-he's intelligent and sure of himself, but has had a mostly patchwork love life. He craves a submissive who matches his needs as a Dom, but never expects to find that person. No one is more surprised than he is at what life is about to toss his way. When Ryan is first introduced to the story, my view of him was almost colored by Misha's assumption that Ryan is an ego-led, strong-arm aggressive young man. My perception of him was thrown for a loop with Ryan's request that Misha coach him, just as Misha's was. The dynamic between them from that point on becomes so complementary that it's plain to see from a reader's standpoint how the two men fit perfectly together...even if it's not so obvious to them at the start.
The moment their relationship goes from coach/student to Dom/sub, the injection of the emotional component begins to flourish and eventually it digs so deep between the two of them that barriers are dropping left and right. Unfortunately, Ryan's home life before this has so thoroughly tainted his view of love and relationships that as soon as his and Misha's connection becomes something more, Ryan's doubts start floating to the surface and introducing turmoil into their previously harmonious link.
For me, this story is driven by Misha and Ryan's characters. They both grow as people and as a couple, and the sheer sensuality of not just their D/s scenes but also their lovemaking is just breathtaking. Add to that the drama of Ryan's family from so many years of his ingrained intolerance to love and what results is a story that is emotionally powerful and blatantly erotic.
The Master Will Appear is definitely worth every one of the five stars I've given it, and I highly recommend this story to any M/M romance fan-and in particular those who love the emotional side of BDSM in their stories. This book is only for readers 18+ due to adult language and explicit M/M sexual content. Oh, and as a bit of a tease... the last couple of paragraphs of the main story and the epilogue made me incredibly happy, and were the perfect end to this book.
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