cover image Mercy


Sara Cate. Sourcebooks Casablanca, $17.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-72828-216-9

Cate’s steamy fourth Salacious Players Club erotic romance (after Give Me More) differentiates itself by exploring the dynamic between a dominatrix and a male submissive. Maggie, the only female co-owner of the sex club that gives the series its title, struggles to embrace her sexuality, a side effect of being raised in a conservative religious home. Unlike the other co-owners, she doesn’t think she has a kink—but the compatibility quiz built into the club’s dating app identifies her as a dom, a surprising twist for the meek, gentle Maggie. After a recent heartbreak, Beau Grant, the son of Maggie’s fellow co-owner Emerson, is determined to forget love and chase sex instead. As a lark, he fills out the quiz, is identified as a submissive, and matches with Maggie, though neither knows the other’s identity at first. Hot text exchanges lead to an even hotter first encounter, but Maggie has doubts upon learning that her perfect man is her colleague’s son, and 12 years her junior. Worse, after Beau is attacked by a religious fanatic protesting the club, Emerson learns about their relationship and it infuriates him. The idea that these characters were entirely unaware of their own kinks somewhat strains credulity, but Cate’s erotic scenes are as skillful as ever. Readers who value sensuality over plot will be well pleased. (Dec.)