Once Upon a Time in Bliss by Sophie Oak

BLISS

Once Upon a Time in Bliss by Sophie Oak
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: Full Length (232 pages)
Other: M/F, BDSM, spanking, anal play/intercourse
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

Come back in time to Bliss’s first happily ever after…

CIA operative John Bishop arrived in Bliss, Colorado, seeking a respite from the high-stakes game of blood and lies that sent him to the worst corners of the world. A week playing the role of vacationing professor Henry Flanders would recharge his batteries, especially if he found a submissive plaything to occupy his time.

Nell Finn has spent her life focused on helping others, but when she meets the tall and mysterious Henry Flanders, she can’t stop imagining what he might do for her. When Nell and her mother are threatened, Henry comes to her, offering his protection and comfort.

But as the threats escalate out of control, Henry discovers that the beautiful and innocent Nell is much more than a plaything. Can he save the woman he loves without exposing the secrets that would drive her away?

Sometimes first impressions can be dead wrong. Not Nell’s first impression of Henry Flanders. She knew he was her soul mate, the man she could and did trust with her heart and she was right on the money. Not Henry’s impression of Nell. He knew almost instantly that she was a closet submissive and that he would spend his entire “vacation” exploring that side of the petite protester. Again, he wasn’t wrong, although he did learn that there was so much more to this idealistic tree hugger. She was his reason for fighting the never ending dark and bloody war that had consumed his twenties and half of his thirties. I can’t tell you any more about Henry’s past. If you’ve only ever met the passive resister that joins his wife for the weekly protest in front of the Stop and Shop or Stella’s Dinner, depending on the grievance, you wouldn’t believe me anyway. The first impression I’m referring to was my own. Henry and Nell were secondary characters that I didn’t have much in common with when I first met them many, many books ago. I didn’t think much about who they were or how they came to be together or consider that their story would be just as sweet or as exciting as the others. Boy! Was I ever wrong!

This is Henry and Nell’s story but it’s so much more than that. This is the story of how the small town of Bliss, as we know it today, started down the path of being one of the deadliest cities in America for homicides per capita. The irony of who took the first kill wasn’t lost on this reader. Nor was the town’s response to one of its own being in danger. Family isn’t a joke with these people; it’s a way of life.

Set five years in the past, my first thought with Once Upon a Time was that it was meant to be a prequel to the rest of the series and to a certain extent it is. Many of the characters I’ve come to know and love join the cast within these pages while other simply get a foreshadowing nod in passing. It was kind of like a wink from Ms. Oak to her loyal readers. And then because she seems to know what makes her fans smile, Ms. Oak gave me a chance to meet some very special people who had already passed on when the first book was written. I don’t mind telling you that brought on a few tears. Then in true Sophie Oak fashion she tied this book in with both the Siren series and the Faery stories. Truly inspired!

As I said “prequel” came to mind at first but in all actuality it’s the set up for next several books. I can’t say how because that would be a total spoiler. I will say the epilogue gave me a thrill similar to what movie watchers get when they wait until all the credits have rolled and then their patience pays off by getting a sneak peak at the next movie. But don’t jump ahead just for the ending, Henry and Nell have quite a story to tell and it isn’t to be missed. Bliss is a one of a kind town with one of a kind people you’ll want to visit with again and again.

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