I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Dungeon Royale by Lexi BlakeDungeon Royale Series: Masters & Mercenaries #6
Published by DLZ Entertainment LLC Genres: BDSM, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 411
Format: eBook
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An agent broken

MI6 agent Damon Knight prided himself on always being in control. His missions were executed with cold, calculating precision. His club, The Garden, was run with an equally ordered and detached decadence. But his perfect world was shattered by one bullet, fired from the gun of his former partner. That betrayal almost cost him his life and ruined his career. His handlers want him to retire, threatening to revoke his license to kill if he doesn’t drop his obsession with a shadowy organization called The Collective. To earn their trust, he has to prove himself on a unique assignment with an equally unusual partner.

A woman tempted

Penelope Cash has spent her whole life wanting more. More passion. More adventure. But duty has forced her to live a quiet life. Her only excitement is watching the agents of MI6 as they save England and the world. Despite her training, she’s only an analyst. The closest she is allowed to danger and intrigue is in her dreams, which are often filled with one Damon Knight. But everything changes when the woman assigned to pose as Damon’s submissive on his latest mission is incapacitated. Penny is suddenly faced with a decision. Stay in her safe little world or risk her life, and her heart, for Queen and country.

An enemy revealed

With the McKay-Taggart team at their side, Damon and Penny hunt an international terrorist across the great cities of Northern Europe. Playing the part of her Master, Damon begins to learn that under Penny’s mousy exterior is a passionate submissive, one who just might lay claim to his cold heart. But when Damon’s true enemy is brought out of the shadows, it might be Penny who pays the ultimate price.

Lexi Blake continues to wow and amaze me with each installment of her Masters and Mercenaries series. This time it was Damon Knight’s turn in Dungeon Royale and I just knew that I was in for a good time.

I wasn’t wrong. Once I started, I could not put Dungeon Royale down. Thank goodness for modern technology which allowed me to segue seamlessly from my e-reader, to my phone, to the cloud on my computer. If my boss knew what I was really doing at my desk . . . Dungeon Royale had everything I’ve come to expect from Ms. Blake – sizzling passion, sweet romance, action-packed suspense, and laugh out loud moments.

The story begins with a retelling of the moment that Damon is betrayed by his partner. Damon is shot and left for dead.  As he lay on the floor dying, Damon regrets never making a move on Penelope.  Fast forward seven months later and Damon and Penelope must work together to capture a suspected bioterrorist with ties to the man who shot Damon. The two must pose as a D/s couple as part of the mission and Damon is finally able to have Penelope right where he wants her.

I think I first fell in love with Damon when he came to Penelope’s rescue at her cousin’s wedding. The way that he defended her and then gave her a powerful orgasm, endeared him to me forever. Yet Damon is not perfect. After a lifetime of feeling abandoned and  unworthy of love, he doesn’t trust in his relationship with Penelope. He doesn’t know how to communicate how he is feeling, and as a result, he hurts Penelope with his words. I found myself yelling at my e-reader more than once.

Penelope is a heroine we can all relate to. She is smart, sweet and loving, but suffers from insecurities. She has put her whole life on hold while she cared for her dying mother. Penelope has had a crush on Damon for quite some time, but never thought he would look twice at her. Now that she has the opportunity to work with him, she has to find the courage to be who and what he needs.

Damon and Penelope were a perfect pairing. Penelope needed someone big and strong to love and protect her, even from her own doubts. Damon needed someone to love and care for him and not allow him to hide behind his own insecurities. The chemistry between the two is off the charts and practically burned up my e-reader.

Set in England, the book’s main characters are British and Ms. Blake made sure that every detail was authentic. Every article of clothing, every menu item, even endearments, conformed to British standards. All dialogue, including British slang, felt believable and contributed to the realism of the book.

Dungeon Royale also included several of our favorite characters. Ian Taggert has to be my favorite Dom of all time. Each time he speaks, he makes me smile with his wit and sarcasm. His wife Charlotte keeps him on his toes and provides Penelope with some much needed female companionship. Charlotte’s sister Chelsea and former agent Simon are featured and will be getting their own story later in the year. We were also introduced to hot Aussie Brody who will hopefully become a regular in the McKay-Taggert universe.

It’s this universe of amazing characters that keep me coming back time and time again. Each time I finish a Masters and Mercenaries novel, I think to myself this is Ms. Blake’s best one yet. With each new addition to the series, Ms. Blake improves her storytelling. She is a master at threading suspense throughout the story without sacrificing any emotion or romance. I’ll be counting down the days until her next installment.