Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Like her prior stories in the Masters and Mercenaries universe, Lexi Blake flexes her universe and character building muscles in her newest story, The Dom Identity. Her stories are whirlwinds of characters. In fact, I often wonder how she keeps track of various characters in a variety of series, and The Dom Identity is no different.
Michael Malone has been a fixture in the past few books of this universe. Having a broken engagement has led him to a life of work and some play, but a lot of loneliness. In this story, he finds himself investigating a former movie star, Vanessa, who has fallen under the scrutiny of Julian Lodge. Michael is tasked with acting as Vanessa’s dom at The Club so that he can investigate the movement of money within Julian’s wife’s business and the attempted hacking of her systems. Julian suspects Vanessa is up to no good; however, much of his suspicion lies with the way she has been written about in the news. Michael too has preconceived notions of her which sway him before he meets her. At their meet-cute, Michael finds himself attracted to her, and he vacillates between his duty and his feelings for her. As their story progresses, Vanessa works to protect herself from her own feelings for Michael, and he falls more and more in attraction to her. However, his investigation is bound to become an issue. Is Vanessa guilty of the actions Julian accuses her of, or will she and Michael find a happy ending, even after she finds out about his investigation of her?
There is much to The Dom Identity. One of the most profound parts of Lexi Blake’s book lies in Acknowledgements. She talks of the challenge by a reader over judgments made by writers about women with fake breasts. This causes her to reconsider the way that we prejudge people on perceptions. As her story spins, Lexi Blake, over and over again, magnifies our willingness to judge people before knowing them. With Vanessa’s characterization, Blake illustrates the way that the media influences our understanding of people, something that is oftentimes skewed. Her fight to live her life on her own terms compels you further into her story. I love how the double-standards of women and men in power is also highlighted.
Now, Michael is a fair hero. Here’s the thing. He underwhelmed me because he makes choices that seem contrary to his characterization. His unwillingness to tell Vanessa about his investigation feels like a choice he wouldn’t normally make. However, as a Lexi Blake story goes, Michael falls hard and fast for his heroine, and he must make amends when their relationship falls apart.
Besides the unevenness of Michael’s characterization, I also became weary of Michael and Vanessa’s fight towards vulnerability. It seemed redundant as they played tug-a-war with their feelings. And as a standard of a Blake romance in this series, it takes a life or death situation to place perspective on their situation.
And yes…there is lots of steam in this book and the characters from other series and stories find purchase in The Dom Identity.
If you love romantic suspense with a little BDSM on the side, then Lexi Blake’s newest book is exactly what you need right now.
In love and romance,