I think Ms. Blake needs to do more novellas! The plot for this little novella is all emotion / misunderstanding (no danger subplot) and it's a twist that I've never seen in a BDSM novel before.
Ryan, who now works for Ian at Sanctum, previously gave up his submissive Jill when he realized he could no longer fulfill the terms of the contract that they'd signed. His contract had promised to care for her in all ways, including financially, and his CFO had just embezzled tons of money and put Ryan in danger of going to jail. Unfortunately he didn't talk to her about this because he was, again, trying to take care of her. And she didn't tell him that being given over to a friend (only her care was arranged for, not sex) made her feel like he didn't care about her at all but that she loved him.
A year and a half later, they meet again at Sanctum where he's the Dom-in-Residence and she's applying for a job.
Their story is what happens when two people hold onto pride and stubborness rather than communicating. The miscommunications are all too believable, although watching them go through them is painful.
The things about this book that make it worth buying even if you don't care about Ryan and Jill and their awesome little story:
* Adam in the Dom class that he has to take to be a true master to Serena inside of Sanctum (and poor Ryan has to train him) * Ian's idea of a pep-talk to his Dom-in-Residence when he realizes that Ryan isn't having any kind of sexual relationship with any of the subs * Ian's idea of playing fairy godmother to try and bring Ryan and Jill together * Jill's sister Ashley who is 1. hilarious and 2. totally needs a little novella (or maybe even a full length novel) about her and Simon because I now seriously want them to get together... he needs some shaking up and I love her personality
If you haven't read the other Masters and Mercenaries books I think you'll still enjoy it as a stand alone, but it won't be AS enjoyable as if you were already familiar with the other characters and their side stories. This might be a good way to check out Lexie Blake and see if you like her writing style before trying out her full length novels.
My only complaint - I REALLY wanted the last scene of the book to continue so that I could read about all the Doms making fun of Adam... I'm not going to say anything more except that it involves a toilet. And that I love how these guys joke around with each other. Also, getting to see a bit more of Ian in this was awesome, especially because I think it's a really great way to whet our appetite for his book (as if mine needed any more whetting).