Book Review: Marriage Games


Marriage Games
by CD Reiss

Series: Games # 1
Release Date: October 25th
Genre: Contemporary Romance


"Marriage Games is one of the most powerful novels I have ever read. CD Reiss gets into the soul of her hero and heroine and never lets go. A strong, clear picture of the psychological and emotional challenges of a D/s relationship, especially in a marriage. Why it works and why it might not. Can’t wait for the next one." ―Desiree Holt, USA Today bestselling author



That’s all Adam Steinbeck demands of his wife.

Thirty days in a remote cottage, doing everything he demands. After that, he’ll sign her divorce papers and give her complete ownership of their company.


That’s how long he has to rediscover the man he once was. The Dominant Master he hid when he fell in love with her five years ago.


She wants the business they built badly enough to go to the cottage for a month. Cut off ties to the world and do his bidding. She can submit to him with her body, but her heart will never yield.

She thinks this is his pathetic attempt to repair their marriage.

She’s wrong.



“Pull your skirt up.” I said it without acknowledging the possibility that she’d disobey. It felt good to use those words and that tone. To watch her eyes go to the floor.

“Trust me.” I said it so low she was just within range to hear it. “Five minutes. Then we don’t have to fight over the car.”

I stepped back and set my watch with a beep. It wasn’t about the car for her. The Jag was the least of her worries, but it was a tangible justification.

For the downcast eyes. For the way her breathing changed. Maybe every bone in her body was vanilla. Maybe not.

“Quit any time,” I said. “Just say the word.”

She laid her hands on her hips.

Curled her fingers.

Gripped fabric.

Pulled up her skirt.

The tops of her thighs came into view then met at the crotch. I was hard already and made no move to hide it. She noticed and stopped moving the skirt.

“Higher,” I said as if telling her how to center a picture over the couch. Higher was where it had to be. It wasn’t a request.

Up it went, revealing cotton underwear in a pink so pale they were almost white.

“Now what?” she asked.

“How do you feel?”

“Weird, Adam. Really weird.”


“Because I’m standing here with my skirt around my waist? Because you told me to? For a car, no less, which is creepy.”

She was so honest. I ached for her honesty.

“You’re not obeying me for an object. You’re obeying me so I do something. Take an action or don’t.”

“You think that’s not weird?”

“No, I don’t. And we have four minutes.” I stepped forward. Part of her discomfort was in the physical distance between us. I’d stepped away so she didn’t feel threatened, but my gaze was keeping her from relaxing. I kept my eyes on hers. I could smell her perfume and feel the shortness of her breath. “Are you turned on?”

“Sex isn’t going to get me back. I’m sorry—”

“Touch yourself.”

Her initial shock and offense lasted only a second before she pressed her lips together and reached down, shoulders angling, hand thrusting as if checking to make sure her cunt was still there.

We have hundreds of bones in our bodies, and sometimes we won’t acknowledge the preferences of the ones that scare us.

“Are you wet?”

“A little.”

I gripped the edge of the vanity and put my lips near her cheek, millimeters from touching her.

“You don’t love me anymore,” I whispered. “But I could always make you wet, and you always came for me. Like our Italy vacation. In Florence. Coming back from that club, in the little alley. Against the wall. I ripped through your underwear.”

Her breathing got shallow and fast.

“I fucked you in the dark, and when you came, you screamed my name so loud all the lights in the apartments went on.”

“That was good.” She turned her face toward mine.

When her lips nearly touched me, I pulled away just enough. “I said I wouldn’t touch you.”

“I changed my mind.”

I wasn’t fooled. Her arousal was talking. I owned her. She’d do whatever I told her. But I wanted something very simple. I wanted her pleasure. “Take the juice from your cunt and rub it on your clit. Make it wet.”



“What’s come over you?”

“Do it.” I felt her arm move against me. “Rub back and forth. Be consistent. One-two-one-two.”

When I felt that she had it, I stepped back. She stopped. Her knees were bent slightly and her fingers had taken her cunt from the side of the crotch, not the waistband. She never ceased to surprise me.

“One-two-one-two, huntress.”

“Is this your way of getting back at me?”

“One-two-one-two. Let me see you come. You’re so beautiful when you come. You’ve gone this far.”

Her body must have been able to override her mind, because she moved her finger again, closing her eyes. Her cheeks reddened and her knees bent more deeply.

“In Florence. An hour after we got to the hotel. I came so deep in you that night. I fucked you from behind with your leg up on the dresser. I wanted to thrust my whole body inside you. I loved you that much. And I gave up who I was. Last night, at the club, I remembered what I was. I was a man who was obeyed. I dominated women, and they submitted to me. The result was what you’re about to feel. Complete pleasure.”

She let out a long, low groan, leaning on the vanity, twisting. I could have fucked her right then. I could have bent her over the counter and pounded her. But that wasn’t the point. No. Watching her hand move under her clothes because I commanded it. That was the point.

An uh escaped her throat. Years of marriage had taught me that meant she was about to come.

My watch beeped.

“Time’s up,” I said.

Her eyes went wide. Her hand stopped.

“Thank you,” I said. “We’re done. I’ll send you the title to the car. You might want to pull your skirt down, since I can’t lock the door from the outside.”

It was hard to walk away from her panting, bent frame without tasting her cunt or even seeing more of her reaction, but I turned the corner, unlocked the door, and left the bathroom.

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TeriLyn's thoughts: **Marriage Games generously provided by the promoter in exchange for an honest review.**

As always the writing of C.D. Reiss leaves me in awe. Her precise story structure and precisely unique plot in Marriage Games sets the measured pace and tone of this book while completely hooking her audience. This erotic book deeply explores the limits and emotions of BDSM within a crumbling marriage. With the story told from both points of view of the already married hero and heroine Reiss captures the confines, inner turmoil, and basic needs of the D/s lifestyle quite eloquently. It’s a journey into the unknown between two people fighting different battles as battering rams against each other all the while the depth of their vulnerabilities shine. It’s an opening of communication lines and fascinating examination one’s true self within a marriage. 

In a very concise yet wonderfully chaotic way, the telling of the story exhibits a linear story line while in the present tense. Set against the present random memories from the past are relived no particular order. Living through important memories but doing so out of order with the characters and having them juxtaposed against the present gives readers a heightened sense of nostalgia. It characterizes very specifically the seasons of change in life and in marriage as it constitutes the varying degrees and flow of growth. A very life-as-it-happens, memory triggering form of expression I found fitting to the kind of deep and psychological story telling Reiss consistently presents and tells here with Marriage Games. In terms of plot and characters, this book is very different than many other BDSM, erotic romances I’ve read and intriguingly so. 

Full of reverent thoughts, self-deprecation, and blinding contradictions, Marriage Games asks a lot of questions. Reflections of self are woven through most every scenario in this book. For a reader, it’s a deeper level of examination of one’s own self as well and that what I loved most about Reiss’ writing with each of her stories. Its human emotion exploited against societal standards, pressure, and stereotypes. Who these characters are intrinsically versus who they are externally coupled with the flood of emotions that difference can bring. The story begs the question as to why we can feel something so deeply within ourselves yet show the world, our partners, our reflection something opposite. The characters are living with an underlying grotesqueness towards their baser, most fundamental needs. 

Who are we really when it’s just us and our reflection? Can we truly define ourselves separate from our jobs, our spouses, and our culture? And when do we make the decision to want to? I think this book represents important emotions about ourselves. When will we finally strip ourselves bare and handle the rawness of who we are? And further, if we finally do that, how do we make our inner self mesh with our partner? Without apology and remorse Reiss examines these questions then makes her characters own themselves without apology. After their exposure and emotional extraction can they find the ultimate pleasure in having their partner feel the same about them as they do their selves to make them cherished – worshiped even? 

With a continuance of exploiting those emotions Reiss will tell us. Adding these two new characters in the wonderful playground of C.D. Reiss’s work are brilliant choices. Her story straddles the grey lines of right and wrong for oneself in a psychological and romantic telling. Her brilliant writing once again shines bright from the pages. As Marriage Games is the first of a two book duet, the next installment leaves much room for growth and reflection. I can’t wait to see where these characters take us in the next part of their journey.


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About the Author:

CD Reiss is a USA Today and Amazon bestseller. She still has to chop wood and carry water, which was buried in the fine print. Her lawyer is working it out with God but in the meantime, if you call and she doesn't pick up, she's at the well, hauling buckets.

Born in New York City, she moved to Hollywood, California to get her master's degree in screenwriting from USC. In case you want to know, that went nowhere, but it did give her a big enough ego to write novels.

Critics have dubbed the books "poetic," "literary," and "hauntingly atmospheric," which is flattering enough for her to put it in a bio, but embarrassing enough for her not to tell her husband, or he might think she's some sort of braggart who's too good to chop a cord of wood.

If you meet her in person, you should call her Christine.

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Lori L. Clark

She Reads New Adult Admin: Lori L. Clark

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