Jun 26 2017 12:00pm

First Look: Tamsen Parker’s The Cartographer (June 26, 2017)

The Cartographer by Tamsen Parker

Tamsen Parker 
The Cartographer (Compass #6)
Tamsen Parker / June 26, 2017 / $14.99 print, $3.99 digital

Helping people is the best, most important thing I can do.  It’s what I’ve chosen to be faithful to instead of whom.

Reyes (Rey) Llewelyn Walter calls himself a life coach. A purveyor of happiness. A kinky white knight. As the master of BDSM (no pun intended), Rey loves to dive in and work his magic on those he feels could benefit from his tutelage. Which, in his opinion, is everyone. He loves to create happily ever afters or happy for now(s), but refuses to even consider the same for himself. That is until a stop for a nightcap at a local watering hole introduces him to a gorgeous young man who screams masochist to Rey’s sadist.

Just you wait. You have no idea what else I’m going to ask you for.

Aloysius (Allie) Emmett Hart II is a man with a mission. With the face of an angel and a body made for sinning, Allie is fresh out of the military and trying to find a job and a place to live while helping take care of his widowed sister and her kids. Strong, independent, and under a mountain of obligations, Allie isn’t looking for a boyfriend—or a savior.

“I’m not letting you sleep in your car, Hart.”

“It’s not really up to you, now is it?”

While Allie’s distress at the bar was what triggered Rey’s heroic needs, Allie’s curiosity and stubbornness keep Rey hooked. Soon their stolen moments turn into so much more as Rey’s unconsciously saddles up his white horse and slips on his professor cap as he begins to rearrange Allie’s life. Rey’s usual MO is to catch, fix, and release because he feels his obligations outweighs his needs but this time Rey isn’t too sure he can let Allie go. And unless Rey can be one hundred percent honest with himself and with Allie, he may lose him anyway.

“Men like him are in demand. If you’d like to hold on to him, you may want to make that clear sooner rather than later.”

The sixth book of Tamsen Parker’s Compass series gives readers what they have been waiting on since their first introduction to Reyes Walter—his story from his point of view. Fans of this series have watched as Rey has manipulated the people around him with the skill and precision of a master chess player. We have gotten to know him through the rose colored lenses of those he has helped with his ability to take in a person's measure and exploit it for theirs and his benefit before he matches them with someone who will love and appreciate what he has created. He is like a benevolent dictator who resides high above all us mere mortals, though we soon come to learn that Rey is as fallible as the rest of us.

“Do you know what it’s like to have people you love tell you you're not human...and believe it?”

Meeting Allie is the shot in the arm or butt (heh) that Rey needs. For too long he has refused to consider himself in the love equations he writes, keeping everyone for getting too close, because of baggage from his past. Allie unintentionally busts through all of Reyes' walls and barriers. For the first time in a long time, Rey begins to lose hold of that famed control of his as Allie drives him to madness in his need to subdue, conquer, and make Allie his.

For the first time in a long time, I felt the tingle of possessiveness.


I love romances that balance the angst and heartbreak of a relationship with humor. It offers, in my opinion, readers hope and respites from the more serious and sometimes fist shaking moments. Seeing Rey's personal growth is the highlight of this story. His entire attitude has always come across faintly narcissistic and condescending which isn't all that unusual considering his lifestyle and background, but Rey soon finds it doesn’t sit all that well with Allie.

“Would you like me to leave of stay?”


“You should know some Dominants won’t take no for an answer, so you should be prepared.”

“Some Dominants can go fuck themselves.”

Oh, Allie. He is truly a joy to watch blossom. Funny, brave, and stubborn, he certainly has Rey’s running around in circles.  Having spent his teenage years as a gang banger until a smart judge offers him the choice of jail or the military, Allie’s views of his sexuality and desires are viewed through prejudice. Men—“real” men—aren't supposed to want other men. Rey opens Allie’s eyes up to the world of BDSM and sexual gratification—showing him that nothing he wants, desires, asks, or even begs for, is off limits.

This is what I love: the give and take. The attention to detail paying off in spades of reaction. I want to provoke him, make him give up more to me. More soft cries, more clenching of his hands around the chains holding him fast, more of him needing me for both comfort and pain.

I want to be his whole world.

Sexually speaking, Parker always excels at sending her lovers on deliciously erotic voyages that both tantalize and titillate while stretching boundaries and she doesn’t disappoint here. The chemistry between Rey and Allie is like being lashed with a fiery whip-hot, intense, and at times painful. But we love the pain and gleefully ask for more, please. Rey has a hard time letting go of his own misconceptions and prejudices, and it takes some advice from old friends to help him see the error of his ways.

“You’re the one who always puts people to rights, but you can’t seem to do it for yourself. You’re fucking this up pretty good.”

Nothing is off limits and Parker makes sure to continuously and firmly vocalize that sex and consent ALWAYS should go hand in hand. Even those for whom lack of consent is the kink, there should still be a form of consent given before hand.

We go over his safewords….I remind him that it's his responsibility, to be honest with me.

While the romance is the main theme of the book, there are multiple subplots that expand the book’s scope. Parker touches on the lives of other couples from the series, giving us updates into their lives. The Cartographer is a satisfying and incredibly sexy ending for this series and I will definitely miss spending time in this world and with its eclectic and outrageous characters.


Learn more about or order a copy of The Cartographer by Tamsen Parker, available now:

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Tori Benson, Smexybooks and at Twitter.

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1 comment
1. libri.lauren
Thanks for the review of The Cartographer. I've read two other books by Tamsen Parker so I will have to pick this one up.
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