The Horse Master of Shanhasson by Joely Sue Burkhart
I found this to be a very strange story. It has a BDSM theme, but the premise for why the High Queen required this treatment was unbelievable to the point of ridiculousness, and the author’s choice for how the BDSM scenes should be executed bordered on the unpalatable. I love a good BDSM story, but this just wasn’t one. Those aspects of the story felt so awkwardly written that, to me, it came across as abusive.
What the author does do right, however, is the romance. If you look at this story from that angle alone, I thought the plot very well done. The horse master was a wonderful character, and the fantasy setting made for a very unique vehicle in which to tell this story. I really liked how he gentled and tamed the High Queen, bringing her down from that abused mindset and fleshing out the affection they had for one another until it budded into the beginnings of real love. Their romance was beautiful and touching and sexy as hell where and when it should be. The insertions of the BDSM scenes, I feel, were unnecessary and ruined what would otherwise have been a unique and enjoyable story. 3 Stars