A copy of this book was provided to me by the author for an honest review at The Romance Evangelist.
Joely Sue Burkhart is one of the writers I wish would release more books each year because I enjoy reading them so much. Her Connaghers series is one of my favorites in contemporary BDSM romance, so I was thrilled to hear that she was starting a new Billionaires in Bondage series with this first title, THE BILLIONAIRE SUBMISSIVE. Sure, it’s an overplayed trope, but who better to breathe new life into it than someone who has already established her credentials in the BDSM romance field? After reading this book, I can say without hesitation that Ms. Burkhart has more than validated my confidence in her ability to make the BDSM Billionaire trope her own, with a story that’s as beautiful and touching as any romance I’ve read in a long time.
The premise of THE BILLIONAIRE SUBMISSIVE is as simple as its title, and as complex as its hero and heroine. Donovan Morgan has learned the hard way that only money and power can get you what you want, and even then, they aren’t always enough. He has employees all over the world at his beck and call, but what he really needs is to serve at the feet of a woman worthy of his submission. As a public figure, Donovan can’t just wander into any BDSM club, or show up at a local munch, so he asks his trusted private investigator to find the best and most trustworthy Domme in the immediate vicinity. But when his ace PI uncovers a woman who could be more than just the perfect Mistress, Donovan will soon discover that true submission is only part of what he needs, and just the start of what he wants to give her.
Lilly Harrison is a stained glass artist by day, Dominatrix for hire by night. Both feed her soul, but only one pays the bills. When she first meets Donovan under his pretext of hiring her for an elaborate window design project, Lilly senses the submissive inside the bossy billionaire. But when she realizes why she’s really there, it’s only against her better judgment that Lilly decides to take a chance with Donovan and all the possibilities he brings. Their sexual connection is instant and undeniable, but a happy ending is far from certain, and the road there could break them both as easily as the stained glass in Lilly’s window. It will take everything they’ve got before all the delicate and jagged pieces come together for their hard-won Happy Ever After.
I’ve read dozens of billionaire BDSM romances, and more than a few with a FemDom theme, but THE BILLIONAIRE SUBMISSIVE is currently the only one where every aspect has clicked perfectly into place for me all the way from the first page to the last. Both Donovan and Lilly are fully realized individuals who aren’t forced together by external events, but who agree to an exclusive D/s relationship in spite of Donovan’s initial heavy-handed tactics and Lilly’s reluctance to make him her sole client. As their story unfolds, we get both points of view without ever being bogged down in superfluous descriptions, or confused by excessive head-hopping. Best of all, their romance is shown as an ongoing work-in-progress throughout the book, with the natural give and take that any two people with reasonable boundaries and expectations would experience, albeit one where the woman is dominant in the bedroom and the man is dominant outside it. Lilly is never awed by Donovan’s wealth or status, but learns to accept that he will never allow her to jeopardize her own safety and well-being. In turn, Donovan learns that you can’t force love and trust; you can only show yourself worthy by giving it without question in return. And when some terrible misunderstanding threatens to derail everything near the end, Joely Sue Burkhart once again avoids manufactured drama, instead giving us the ultimate scene of trust between Donovan and Lilly that demonstrates all they’ve learned from each other and proving their love and trust is both genuine and mutual. Their HEA is as real and as beautiful as the glass window Lilly has created for Donovan’s office building, only infinitely more precious. That ending and the journey to it is why THE BILLIONAIRE SUBMISSIVE is now officially the best FemDom romance I’ve ever read, and my best romance for this year so far. I absolutely cannot wait for the next book in this series.