Blue Ruin 3: Chains of Love by Katrina Strauss

As Blue’s master, Derek has plenty of toys and ingenuity at his disposal, but his high-priced loft isn’t the best environment for raising Blue’s BDSM training to the next level. If only he had a basement and the proper “hardware …”

Blue has other worries. Still conflicted between his love for Derek and his feelings for Cameron, he’s due to face a killer in court and the accompanying publicity storm once the press connects the star witness to his powerful father. On top of that, he’s waiting to be accepted into cosmetology school. Seeking a break from the real world, he expresses his darker fantasies to his master.

Blue should be careful what he wishes for. When Blue lands himself in the clutches of the Balkan mob, Derek must negotiate his freedom. The highly dangerous, very sexy Sasha offers the couple playtime in his private dungeon during Blue’s stay. The catch? In exchange for Blue’s release, Sasha gets to supervise. It’s a hot and wild ride as Derek becomes the trainee, while Blue faces off with a stern dominant determined to break him of his headstrong ways. But could it be that Sasha is in store for a lesson or two?

In Blue Ruin 3: Chains of Love the boys are back having survived yet another harrowing experience this time at the hands of the alleged Maple Street Killer. As Blue waits to testify at his would be killer’s trial, there is much going on in his life. He continues to deal with his conflicting feelings in respect of Derek and Cameron, and while there is no doubt that he loves Derek his feelings for Cameron linger. Blue is also looking at the prospects of cosmetology school with his friend Jodi. These things converge and Blue takes sanctuary in his relationship with Derek as he expresses a need to more deeply explore his sexual fantasies.

When Blue tries to help his friend and new owner of a refurbished Blue Ruin, Miss Doreena Dee Vine, he finds himself yet again smack in the middle of trouble and this time it’s face-to-face with the gay Balkan mafia. Blue offers himself up as a bargaining chip and Derek is once again forced to come to his brat’s rescue. But neither Blue or Derek expected to find themselves hostages to pain and pleasure as the drop dead gorgeous former Serb soldier turned mafia king, Lord Master Sasha, takes them under his tutelage.

The third installment of the Blue Ruin series Chains of Love by Katrina Strauss more deeply explores the BDSM aspects of Derek and Blue’s relationship while once again expanding their Blue Ruin world with new, intriguing and sexy characters.

Blue is interested in pushing the boundaries and testing the limits of their pain and pleasure sexual relationship. He wants Derek to take the pain further and yet Derek is hesitant. A good part of the beginning of the book is devoted to some extremely erotic and sensual scenes between the two that delve into both the physical and psychological needs of both characters.

In Blue Ruin 3, Katrina Strauss has once again written very strong secondary characters. There’s Lord Master Sasha the mafia leader that is all “Dom” alpha male but with a benevolent heart; Sasha’s loyal foot soldiers, the enigmatic brothers Drago and Luka; as well as Georgi and Yuri, Sasha’s entertaining but deadly enforcers. But both Derek and Blue are pleasantly surprised to find out that Master Sasha and his band of thugs are not what they appear to be. And while Derek and Blue’s encounter with the gay Balkan mafia was intense, albeit brief, the characters of Sasha, Drago and Luka are intriguing enough to offer possibilities for spin-off stories in the future.

As much as Blue Ruin 2 was dedicated in large part to the growth of Blue’s character, I felt that Blue Ruin 3 was very much Derek’s book. We get to know him a lot better as well as the origins of his foray as a seme into the BDSM life style. We also gain insight into his conflicting feelings of, on the one hand, not wanting to hurt Blue in their pain/pleasure play, and on the other fulfilling his own needs by testing both his and Blue’s limits. With the character of Sasha serving as both instigator and trainer, Derek and Blue come to a heightened understanding of their individual needs, both sexual and other. And while the BDSM aspect of their relationship will never become an all consuming way of life, their experiences in Blue Ruin 3 do deepen their feelings for one another, taking their relationship to another level.

Katrina Strauss’ rich descriptions and excellent characterization in this installment demonstrate a consistency in her writing throughout the Blue Ruin series, as she once again offers a sensual feast in Chains of Love. I found Blue Ruin 3 to be the most erotic and exotic of the three books in the series thus far, precisely because of Strauss’ visually enticing BDSM scenes between Derek and Blue, in particular their “shibari” rope play, and exotic because of her description and mood setting of the goth-dungeon backdrop of Sasha’s lair.

Blue Ruin 3: Chains of Love does not have the level of angst and violence of Blue Ruin 1 and 2, instead, Strauss brings us back to basics, back to Blue and Derek’s relationship within the context of an ever widening circle of friends. The central theme in Blue Ruin 3 remains the balancing of Derek and Blue’s private sexual relationship with real life. And owing to some clever foreshadowing in Chains of Love future installments in this series offer possibilities for new characters whose lives will intersect with Derek and Blue. Stay tuned!

Blue Ruin 3: Chains of Love by Katrina Strauss is available at Loose Id.

NOTE: This review was originally published online by Rainbow Reviews.

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