Review: The Master Will Appear by L.A. Witt

Dr. Mikhail “Misha” Budnikov takes one look at fellow fencer Ryan O’Connor and instantly knows his type. The undisciplined hothead is all ego with no finesse and even less control. In short, Misha’s pet peeves personified. To put the arrogant kid in check, Misha challenges him to a sparring match, which he predictably wins.

Not so predictably, Ryan asks him to be a mentor and show him how to fence. Startled by the moment of humility, Misha agrees.

What begins as fencing lessons becomes something much hotter, and before they know it, Misha is giving Ryan an entirely different kind of education. Dominance, submission, pain, pleasure—at the hands of an older, experienced man, a whole new world is opening up for Ryan.

As the trust deepens and their bond strengthens, though, Ryan retreats because that sham called love left him jaded long ago. Cynical beyond his years, he’s not letting his guard down, least of all for a thrice-divorced man twice his age.

Now Misha has to find a way to crack through those defenses…or accept defeat and walk away from the submissive who might just be the love of his life.

Confession. I did something with this review that I've never done since I began reviewing. I sat on it. I sat on it for SIX DAYS. Yeah, I'm not a procrastinator when it comes to reviewing. Everything else is fair game. My rationale was I wanted to see what I remembered, see if my feels changed at all with time. They didn't. I'm still circling between 3-3.5 Hearts.

I liked this book. I didn't love this book mostly because it felt like a draft. Maybe not a first draft, maybe a second or third, but a draft nonetheless. Witt's editor did her a disservice by not acting like my college philosophy prof, in my opinion. That mofo returned papers to me that looked like his pen Hulked out all over my writes. It was like something died on that paper. Fuck, I hated that class. Anywhat. I'm digressing.

Up and down. Up and down. That's precisely how this read went for me. Moments of brilliance like the phone call scene when I simultaneously respected the hell out of Misha while feeling their connection paired with redundancy and repetition like the lotion and water. Times when I felt I was being told rather than shown and vice versa. I also feel like this was two books. The first half was sex heavy. Every time I turned around they were gearing up again like they were freebasing Viagra. I was looking for some relationship development but all I got was sexual chemistry. Then the second half was like the flip side of the coin. It focused more on them as a couple and growing closer. I would've liked a better overall balance.

Ryan's characterization was heavy on the angst and pain having much to do with his dysfunctional family and the toll that's taken on him. Sometimes I felt like the angst and pain was relevant and other times gratuitous. Misha's characterization was simpler, as it should be with all Ryan had going on, so I did appreciate the lack of drama on his end and the fact that we were shown how he's retained his sense of optimism and romanticism through numerous failed marriages and relationships. I think their difference in age (19 yrs) was handled well and shouldn't squick anyone out.

This is Witt so the sex was hot as was the kink. I do like pain, though, so if that's not in your comfort zone you may want to exercise caution. I didn't think it was overly explicit but it's been established I'm not the best barometer for these things so... Ryan also has a bit of an exhibitionist streak and wants to be the star in a gang bang, which Misha arranges and IT WAS HOOOOTTTT!!!!!!! Scorching hot. My favorite part was how Ryan kept looking for Misha though like he was his protector and touchstone. That was a thoughtful touch.

I've been watching a lot of Iron Chef lately, because THE GAUNTLET (((***echoes***))) so I'm about to Alton Brown this review.

We have two primo ingredients here-age difference and kink, which I'll liken to steak and lobster. Both are capable of carrying the show even if you do little with them they're still stellar ingredients and that's what Witt did. Both are prepared well but not transformed in any way. Steak and lobster are a good dish that anyone would pay good money for in any restaurant around the world, but it's not a composed dish and thus, not Iron Chef worthy.

Still worth a read if you like steak or lobster, though.

An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review.

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