Saturday, July 12, 2014

BONDS OF COURAGE by Lynda Aicher

Publisher:               Carina Press 
Published:              June 16, 2014
ISBN:                     978 1 42689 848 8
Genre:                   Contemporary Romance / BDSM
Book Format:          E-book
Obtained via:          Publisher
Reviewed by:          Helena Stone,

Rating:                  4.5

‘Bonds of Courage’ is the sixth title in the ‘Wicked Play’ series and more than lived up to the expectations I had based on those earlier books. Over the course of six books I have gotten very attached to The Den, the people who own the place and their partners.

This instalment features Vanessa Delcour – full-time rep for professional athletes, partner in The Den, an exclusive sex club, and known as Mistress V an experienced Domme. For years she has successfully kept all the threads of her life separated and she is determined to keep it that way. Vanessa is in control of her life and doesn’t allow anyone to breach her carefully set boundaries or anything to control her. It is a balancing act but a successful one until Holden Hauke applies for membership at The Den.

Holdon Hauke is a professional hockey player. He has kept his sexual needs and desires buried, especially after one indiscrete photo of him tied to a spanking bench nearly cost him his career and forced a mid-season transfer. With the summer break on his hands Holden turns to The Den in the hope of finding a discrete Mistress. One look at Vanessa is enough to tell Holden he’s found what he’s been looking for.

With their first encounter going off to a bad start because of Holden’s lie on his application to The Den and Vanessa’s reluctance to let anyone in to her life never mind her heart a relationship between these two seems doomed from the start. Holden is not prepared to give up though. He may be submissive, he is determined to do whatever it takes to show Vanessa that they belong together.

For the sixth consecutive time Lynda Aicher has brought her readers two characters who are interesting, easy to root for yet realistic and flawed. I fell in love with Holden the moment he made his first appearance. I loved the ease with which he surrendered to his needs despite the risks involved and Vanessa’s attempts to push him away, and delighted in the release he found in bondage.

“The firm clasp of the thick bands of leather was his freedom.”

Vanessa was a little bit harder to like. She was so determined to be independent, to keep all the different threads in her life separate and avoid all attachments, that it was almost too easy to believe she really was the hard bitch she portrait herself as. That image made the rare occasion on which her hard shell cracked all the more beautiful though.

“It made no sense, but he was under her skin, burning through her as no other sub ever had.”

This story is a reversal of the BDSM story we usually read. In this book it isn’t the sub who needs to be convinced of his needs, it isn’t the sub running away from something new and scary. This time we are dealing with a sub who knows exactly what he wants and has a job on his hands convincing his Domme that his needs happen to mirror hers.

“He could make her happy. Please her. He got everything he needed by giving her what she needed. It was a perfect combination that.”

I loved Holden for getting Vanessa, for taking his time and for reading her well enough to know what all her small sign and gestures meant. I loved the moment he gave her a pair of flip-flops.

“The only time she wasn’t in heels was when she let her shields down, and he wanted that all the time with him.”

I’m very grateful that although there is lots of angst and conflict in this book I didn’t have to read my way through a lengthy split between the protagonists based on fear or a misunderstanding. I’m equally happy that the author kept things real; the resolution of issues was organic and believable.

Overall this was a wonderful, smooth, very sexy and fascinating read. The descriptions of Vanessa’s sessions with Holden were captivating as were the occasions when the two of them gave into their feelings without any play involved.

I discovered that there is one more Wicked Play story to come in September 2014. While I’m delighted to have another book in this series to look forward to I am already sad that book will also mean I’ll have to say goodbye to The Den and all who play and love there.

“I’m yours. In every way. Beyond the playroom. Beyond the spankings and bondage and play – I belong to you.”

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.


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