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Holding Hannah: Masters of the Castle Book 1

By: Maren Smith
Published By: Blushing Press
Copyright: � 2013 by Blushing Books and Maren Smith
6 Chapters / 20,600 Words
Heat Level:
4.5 Out Of 5 (4.5 on 17)   |  Write a review

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Welcome to The Castle.

Hannah Alder used to know who she was. She used to be strong, have confidence... then the thing happened, and suddenly Hannah seems to have lost everything... including herself.

Freshly-released from her father's hospital, she is banished from home, sent to live with an uncle who puts her to work for the summer, interning under the chief building inspector in a small Ohio town. No one knows her, yet - somehow - everyone seems to know exactly why she's there.

It's while on the job that Hannah first discovers The Castle, a massive stone structure set in the wheat fields of Ohio. It's soon-to-be THE vacation destination for the kink-inclined... if the Doms who run it can ever get it properly permitted and licensed, but Hannah's nasty boss is determined that that will never happen. While on an inspection visit, one Dom in particular catches Hannah's eye: Master Sam--strong, dark, wickedly-attractive, every inch of him the very last thing someone like Hannah needs in her life.

Sam Cooper sees Hannah coming a mile away, tripping on her high-heels in a poorly-fitted business suit, Girl Friday to the building inspector who's determined to shut them down before they even open. Sam is experienced in the BDSM world, a partner in a major kink-friendly resort... definitely not his first rodeo. Yet what he sees in Hannah's astonished eyes as he gives her a private tour of The Castle makes him do something he can't believe: he slips her his business card.

Will Hannah call? Of course not. Not when she's working so hard to get back everything she's lost. She's getting better after all...

Sometimes what you fight the hardest, is what you need the most.

�Shit,� Sam said as soon as he was close enough for Marshall to hear him over the cacophony of hammers, saws, coordinated shouting and all the cursing that went along with sixty workers and a fully operational re-construction site. �It�s Goodson again.�

�Yeah, I recognized the car.� Passing the building plans to his foreman, Marshall turned to watch the car park. Sam looked up at the castle�their castle�a fifteenth century monstrosity of cool gray stone, lovingly shipped block by block from its native Scottish soil on three different boats before finally meandering its way, first by train and then by truck, into this long-abandoned Ohio wheat field. The outside was almost complete. Only the outer walls and towers (and a smattering of outbuildings, but they�d get to those when they could) were still under construction. The interior renovations had started, but there was still a lot left to do. The stairs had gone up just last night and over half the marble had yet to be laid, but give it another month�just one more month of sixty hard-working men, most of them future guests and volunteers�and the Castle, Marshall�s life-long ambition and Sam�s fondest daydream (first, at age six because he was just nerdy enough to want to be a knight when he grew up, and then later on in early manhood, when his kink had grown in and all he could think about was wanton maidens being spanked and deflowered in the most deliciously depraved ways) would be ready for play.

That is�if they could somehow convince Inspector Goodson to sign their remaining operating licenses and permits.

Zoning and construction had been embarrassingly easy to get by comparison. Those inspectors were all business, making their tours of the site, checking off all concerns on their clipboards with minimal interest in the end game. Hell, not only had the Fire Marshall passed them, but he and his wife had already quietly signed on as guests during the Castle�s opening weekend.

But not Goodson. Oh no. Not Goodson.

This was his third visit to the partially completed Castle and their first appeal. Apparently, Goodson had a problem with BDSM and now, if Marshall couldn�t convince the county inspector to grant all their licensing and use permits, the Castle would not be opening for business.

Sam took a deep and calming breath, swallowed back the urge just to walk out there and punch the sanctimonious prick. Instead, he let Marshall walk out ahead of him to greet the man who had made it his single-minded goal to destroy not only the two of them, but every one of the six core members who had risked their entire financial futures to make this dream a reality.

Having parked, Goodson was just getting out of his car. Noticing he was being watched, the inspector smiled broadly�a crocodile smile if Sam ever saw one�and raised his hand in greeting.

�Who�s that with him?� Sam asked, suddenly noticing the woman trailing along in Goodson�s shadow.

�I don�t know.� Marshall raised his hand in turn. He even managed to smile, albeit through gritted teeth (something Goodson wouldn�t be able to see from there) and his sharp blue gaze drifted past the inspector to the slender brunette. She was small, barely coming to the top of Goodson�s shoulder. She must be familiar with job sites. Although she wore a dress suit (pants would have been better), at least she had the sense to wear flat shoes. The parking lot hadn�t yet been graded and graveled; heels would have sunk all the way in and could have resulted in a broken ankle within steps.

�Just say the word,� Sam growled into his best friend�s ear. �I can have Casey and that big-ass strap-on of hers down here in ten minutes. Another ten after that, I guarantee we�ll have our permits.�

Marshall almost laughed. �Not if he enjoys it.�

�Ha. Twelve ounces of jalapeno lube says he doesn�t enjoy anything for days.�

Now Marshall did laugh. �And the brunette?�

Sam looked at her, turning her ear to something Goodson was saying and tugging at the sleeve of her business jacket as if she were trying to hide her arm from view. There was a story there, and his Dom�s curiosity perked to know it. He looked her over, as if seeing her for the first time all over again. She was a pretty little thing. He was a great admirer of pretty little things. Too bad she worked for the enemy. He smirked. �We�ll tag-team her.�

�You�re incorrigible.�

�Ha. But now you�re thinking about it too, aren�t you?� Sam lowered his voice because both Goodson and the woman were close enough now to overhear them. His dark eyes roved her one last time, but then he snorted. �Heaven help us if she�s anything like Goodson. I�d probably need an icepick just to crack those pretty legs open.�

Marshall grunted, a non-committal sound, and Sam, burly arms folded across his chest and one finger stroking idly back and forth across his lip, found himself wondering if it might not be worth the effort.
Alison on 04/11/2014 02:46pm
Love the different characters in this story. One comes to hate Goodson and wishes he would lose his job. Really dislike men like him. But Sam and Marshal, just was a sub needs and wants. I liked how Sam could figure out about Hannah so quickly and help her accept herself and how it is okay to be who she is. Everyone has different things that make them who they are. They will make a good couple forever. The uncle also seems to be genuine. Meeting in an old barn was kind of odd but it worked temporarily while the Castle was being built. Maren Smith is an excellent author and I love the Castle Book Series (book 1 & 2) that I have read.
Alison on 04/11/2014 02:45pm
Love the different characters in this story. One comes to hate Goodson and wishes he would lose his job. Really dislike men like him. But Sam and Marshal, just was a sub needs and wants. I liked how Sam could figure out about Hannah so quickly and help her accept herself and how it is okay to be who she is. Everyone has different things that make them who they are. They will make a good couple forever. The uncle also seems to be genuine. Meeting in an old barn was kind of odd but it worked temporarily while the Castle was being built. Maren Smith is an excellent author and I love the Castle Book Series (book 1 & 2) that I have read.
Debbie Tucker on 03/29/2014 09:10pm
I normally would not read this genre of stories. Even though I couldn't even fathom the makings of this story it was very well written. The descriptions and details were so vivid. If this is your style of story it is a must read. I am giving it a 5 star even though I couldn't relate it was exquisitely written.
madpuss on 03/06/2014 08:17pm
I couldn't get my head around the idea of anyone enjoying to be cut. Enjoying the taste, sight and smell of blood, ending up with so many scars. Or, someone enjoying doing that to someone else. Having said that I still thought the story was well-written and Sam and Hannah are likeable and it was entertaining. It's also got me interested in reading about Marshall and Kaylee's story. Yes, I'm being hooked into another series!
LJ on 02/16/2014 12:47pm
This is a great introductory book for this series. Not as long as the others but just good.
lanigirl on 02/13/2014 05:34pm
This was great! I expect nothing less from Maren! What a great introduction to the Castle and their Masters. I was surprised by Hannah and Sam's kink and turned off by it. It was, however, well written and I enjoyed the other books in the series. A warning about the blood should be put in the disclaimer.
JJ on 02/07/2014 04:23pm
I am a huge fan of the Castle and all of its characters. Maren Smith is an absolute genius. Her characters are realistic and her descriptions are amazing. This is the story of Hannah, a young woman struggling to recover from her family's misguided attempts to save her from herself. The problem is, there's nothing really wrong with her. Enter Sam, one of the Masters of the Castle. He is more than willing to show this little beauty what is missing in her life. He understands things about her she doesn't understand herself. This is a beautiful story that sets the stage for a phenomenal series.
Joelle Casteel on 02/04/2014 10:58am
What can I say about this lovely story? First off I do know Maren from reading her blog. I also read other reviews before buying this book. Finally I came to reading as a lifestyle submissive who could relate to the main character, Hannah. My heart broke for Hannah with her tiny behaviors that spoke to something being wrong. I adored Sam from the very beginning; I hope (and yes expected a bit) that they'd end up playing. I further adored Sam because of how he dealt with Hannah explaining her personal issues. I loved the final scene with Hannah's jerk boss, Goodson. I loved her uncle coming to the rescue. Her final trip out to the Castle made me swoon and be excited to continue with this wonderful BDSM romance from Maren Smith.
Adaline Raine on 01/03/2014 01:11pm
I am so happy I read through the other reviews and saw this was supposed to be a taste of the Castle. It bumped my review from 4 stars to 5! I wish there had been a bigger build up between Hannah and Sam but I liked their interactions. I also hoped for a bit more backstory on Hannah. The thing that sucked me in most had to be the incredible descriptions. Consider audio so the 'reader' can close his/her eyes and picture every detail. Oh WOW! Hotter than I thought a book could get me and believe me I read hot books! The only real problem was after the words 'The End' I immediately jumped to Amazon and buy Kaylee's Keeper and Saving Sara. I had to know more about the Castle...ASAP. Adore this series and am anxiously awaiting the next!
Rhonda on 12/29/2013 02:05pm
This is the first in Maren Smith's Masters of the Castle, available only on Amazon. It's a short but enjoyable readcand a great start to the series.
Young Lady on 12/07/2013 01:45pm
I have to say upfront My Man would not allow me to read it anymore after we figured out that the man and woman are turned on by scars/blood. I struggled with self injury and I am not allowed to read anything where it is described in detail or especially where it seems to be worshipped, so this book was right out for me. I was so sad when I realized that component because the writing was so well done and the storyline apart from that seemed excellent. The rating is based on what I read. My complaint is there should be a self-injury disclaimer like there are spanking disclaimers. I was very taken unawares!
Rose Lipscomb on 10/23/2013 08:35pm
So far, I've loved everything I've read by this author, and this book is no exception. Skillfully written, and exceptionally well edited (NO mistakes found, at all!), this book delves into a subject of which I was totally ignorant. I guarantee, you'll like Hannah and feel empathy for her. You'll also be intrigued by Sam, the hunky, dark dom who comes to her rescue. My only complaint was that I wished it were longer and gave us more detail on Sam and Hannah. If you're OK with BDSM and with explicit sex scenes, I heartily recommend Holding Hannah and the other books in this series.
Es on 10/21/2013 03:33pm
This book was good, but it realy spooked me as well. I've read other BDSM book, but her taste for blood I'd never read about, or even knew about. I found that really disturbing. But I did love how Sam came and showed her that she wasn't sick in the head, and that he could like her just as she was.
JC on 10/19/2013 09:25pm
This is a great short story. It introduces you to the Castle and tells the story of Hannah and Sam. It also introduces the characters you read about in the other books.
Merna on 10/19/2013 05:28pm
Read this book when it first was offered as a free sample on Amazon, and loved it. Hannah's problems were a little disturbing, but Sam understands her and her needs when no one else does. Book 2 was even better. Am so excited that Book 3 is now available too.
Marie Jones on 10/19/2013 05:26am
We would expect nothing else from Maren Smith. This book got me interested in the rest of the series, and was very disappointed at the time of reading this that there was only one other book. I have learned of another one just coming out, and am so excited.
Karen on 10/17/2013 02:09pm
New series introduction and man was it great. There are lots of great strong characters and I can't wait to read all of their stories. Hannah is hurting and she gets exactly what she needs. A well written story that draws you in.

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