Author: Tara Sue Me
My Copy: ARC via NetGalley
Add to: Goodreads
Synopsis: Nathaniel West doesn’t lose control.
As the playboy CEO of West Industries, he governs the boardroom during the day; as a strict dominant with exacting rules, he commands the bedroom at night. He never takes on inexperienced submissives, but when Abigail King’s application comes across his desk, he breaks his own restrictions and decides to test her limits.
Abby’s combination of innocence and willingness is intoxicating, and Nathaniel is soon determined to collar her as his own. As long as she follows his orders and surrenders herself fully to him, no one will get hurt.
But when Nathaniel begins falling for Abby on a deeper level, he realizes that the trust must go both ways—and he has secrets which could bring the foundations of their entire relationship crashing down.
If Tara Sue Me’s The Dominant sounds awfully familiar to Fifty shades of Grey, it’s because this is the fan fiction that EL James borrowed from as she wrote Fifty Shades (according to the research I did). To be truthful, as I read I did get undertones of Fifty especially with Nathaniel owning his own financial firm to outlining when Abby will eat and exercise. The Dominant is also the second book in The Submissive series.
Narration is first person and told via Nathaniel’s point of view. I liked Nathaniel and it’s clear he’s a good guy. The financial market is down and he’s opted to forgo his own personal salary so his employees get paid. He’s helpful and even helps a child by donating his own bone marrow. Despite his good deeds, he’s filled with angst that he can’t have a normal relationship with plain vanilla sex and craves the BDSM lifestyle and hence the reason he’s “a dominant.” At first it’s hinted that something happened with Melanie, the woman he had the vanilla relationship with and it makes is sound more sinister than it really is. Enter Abby King, a librarian he’s been in lust with since his university days. Abby has never been a submissive, much less done anything on Nathaniel’s application (yes, Nathaniel has submissives apply and from there he picks his choice). He rethinks his stance when she comes on the radar, despite being unsure if he wants to train a submissive. He changes his mind and decides to test drive her by giving her a test weekend hoping to scare her away. There he outlines which portions of the house are off limits to where she’ll sleep and where she can speak freely. Abby takes what Nathaniel introduces to her in stride, but never questions it. I’m not sure if she does in The Submissive, but it didn’t feel right in The Dominant. Abby comes off a doormat because it seems to me she only applied to get near Nathaniel. I dislike the message of, change to get your man!
As far as character development goes, it’s pretty weak. I believe the reason for it is because this is the second book in the series and pretty much mirrors the first book, The Submissive, minus a few scenes. I haven’t read The Submissivd, but did skim it and found it similar. I dislike books that do this. I often feel that third person narrative would be better utilized or a dual POV. In the end, the BDSM aspects didn’t work for me. Nathaniel only introduces a safe word that would sever the relationship if Abby utters it. Safe words are put in place by both parties as a means to protect the submissive and inform the dominant they are going too far or someone’s comfort zone has been reached. Nathaniel, after a session, also disregards aftercare. Aftercare is often used to reassure and comfort participants (both submissive and dominant) after a BSDM session. Instead Nathaniel sends Abby to her room and he proceeds to torment himself over what he’s done to Abby.
If you’re a fan of Fifty Shades Grey you might like this book. Otherwise I can’t recommended this and truth be told it was also Twilight fan fiction and from the research, not many scenes were changed from the initial manuscript to the newly published. From what I’ve seen, both The Submissive and Dominant mirror each other. Pick one to read before proceeding to the third book, The Training.