First off, I have a confession to make: My favorite part of the first book was the way that Brianna would kneel when Stephan came into the room and call him Master. Like Stephan, I hated how she got to that point and she needed to stop doing it if she was going to make another step toward normalcy, so I am glad that she was no longer doing it but...Anyway, enough about me...Karl - "You like a man that hurts you. Takes control." In the first book, Karl reminded me of Steve Lombard, a character from Superman comics in the 1970s - an ex-jock who thought he was god's gift to women. We find out that Karl is something much darker. And what he said and the way he grabbed Brianna's collar makes me think there is an even darker side we haven't seen yet.Cal - I thought the whole scene with him in the first book was kind of odd. It obviously make sense now. But he needs to get over his "You didn't build that" feelings about Stephan really quick if he is going to be a positive force for Anna.Daren - The first time I read through the first book I thought Daren was thoughtful. Then the more I thought about it, the more I wondered what kind of guy hangs out at parties that Ian Pierce attends. And now we find out that he beats Brianna with a stick for several minutes and then decides that something might be wrong. He gets an F- in perceptiveness and sensitivity. Then he takes her to a private room - so he can talk to her right? No. He beats on her some more with the stick and then figures out "gee, something isn't right here." And this guy was Stephan's mentor? And for the record, if he said the words "your girl" one more time, I wanted to beat him with a stick.Richard - I understand now why he was so worried about Brianna. But he really needs to trust Stephan a bit more and argue later.Lily and Logan - Interesting that Logan only became a Dom for Lily. And Wow! She is way more submissive than I picked up on in the first book. I thought they were kind of into bedroom stuff, but they are way more serious players from what we learned here. It does make Stephan's concern about what Logan thought about Brianna's collaring seem a bit odd though. Ian - He didn't even appear and I hate him many times more now. In the first book, I was concerned about the physical things he did - I thought her mental state was something of her own doing. But after quite a bit of reading and a bit more reflection, just why did Ian keep Brianna in such a constant state of fear? Either through submissiveness (and she definitely has those qualities) or Stockholm Syndrome, she should have gotten past that at some point. The fact that she didn't makes me hate him even more.John - I just couldn't figure out what had happened in the first book. Maybe I was should have but I just knew it was something bad. My blood ran cold when Stephan learned what certainly seems to be the truth. He didn't have a BOLO out on her, obviously. And the part about him looking so hard for her when the key was a published photograph didn't ring true at all for me.The guy at the Mall - I hope he burns in Hell for what he did. And the sooner the better.Stephan - I really didn't like the fit he threw over the phone call. I understand he was angry, and perhaps had a right to be, but he still needed to keep his emotions in check. Punishing Brianna was one thing but punishing her in anger was something else and making her sleep on the floor instantly made me think of the first night she was with him and not in a good way - he truly disappointed me there. The stick - Him showing her his second favorite one was a little creepy. I think someone should point out to him that not every submissive is into caning and not every Dom. I thought that was a little too much information too soon about how he loved it so. The lovey-dovey stuff - I was impressed by that. I thought he did that at pretty much just the right speed. We can understand why he didn't want Brianna to get professional counseling now as well.Brianna - It was nice to see her come out of her shell a bit more and actually start asking questions. She still has a long way to go, though.And as for the Cliffhanger... I knew it was coming because everyone was mentioning it in hush tones. And it wasn't hard to see what was coming. It actually wasn't quite as bad as it could have been. My question is who exactly is standing there and what sort of legal documents do they have in their possession. And what exactly are the intentions. I am really thinking that Stephan really should have contacted someone he could trust with some authority because things are about to get very, very messy.Book One in a series is often great. Finales are often even better. Books in the middle can be hit or miss. This was solid and moved the story forward but it wasn't the beginning of the story or the end.