by Tawny Taylor, contemporary (2008)
Samhain Publishing, $2.50, ISBN 1-60504-138-6
Firstly, I have to get this off my chest: the masked guy on the cover is one of the dorkiest things I've ever seen, especially when it seems that he has merely glued the mask to his face.
Okay, on with the story. Kelly Bennett, our heroine, is thrilled to be invited to the Rogan Cayne’s annual Masquerade Weekend because she loves costume parties. She doesn't know how she managed to receive an invitation since she's not exactly a fashionable socialite, but she's going nonetheless. She is also a little nervous though to be stepping foot into the ballroom because this is also a BDSM party - our "bazillionaire" hero Rogan Cayne is "Detroit's most infamous Dom". Some cities have a powerful Don but Detroit has a powerful Dom, so ponder that, bitches. At any rate, Kelly intends to indulge her curiosity about the whole BDSM thing by merely watching rather than participating. Of course, things don't work out that way.
It turns out that Rogan remembers her from their first and only previous meeting from three years back when she accidentally spilled champagne on his suit during a charity event held by her now ex-fiancé's family. It looks like he intends to punish her for that misdeed, although by "punish", we are talking about love, BDSM-style. He even has a mask and a wardrobe full of dramatic vampire outfits for the occasion.
Behind The Mask is actually pretty mild when it comes to its BDSM stuff so I hope you aren't expecting more "serious" things like barbed floggers, studded gloves, and dripping hot wax to show up here. Despite its short story length, there is actually enough story here to balance the hot stuff, although limitations to characterization of course are still present. Kelly is a pretty good heroine who likes it hot. On the other hand, Rogan comes off too much like a bad groupie who has read way too many Anne Rice's vampire books. From his wardrobe to his mask, he is more hilarious than sexy.
Behind The Mask is, all things considered, a pretty entertaining short story.
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