Publisher: Carina Press
Published: September 15, 2014
ISBN: 978 1 42689 903 4
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Erotica, BDSM
Book Format: E-book
Obtained via: Publisher
Reviewed by: Helena Stone, firstname.lastname@example.org
This is the seventh and final title in the ‘Wicked Play’ series.
Lives can be shattered in one short, cruel, moment. A single act of madness throws the lives of the owners of The Den into panic and chaos. It is up to Noah Bakker to do what he can to limit the fall-out and keep his friends and business partners as safe as possible.
Noah hasn’t had a sub or participated in a Scene since a tragic event four years ago changed his life and forced him to question everything he believed to be true about himself. Forced to play a bigger than usual role in the running of The Den he is grateful for Liv Delcour’s unquestioning support even as the attraction he feels towards her scares him.
Liv didn’t know about the lifestyle choices her sister and the other owners of The Den have made. When the secret comes out in the most public way possible, she finds herself more intrigued than shocked. Noah’s dominant strength, both in his dealings with the press and in the bedroom, arouse feelings in Liv she hasn’t experienced before, doesn’t quite understand, but can’t deny.
Liv isn’t sure she’ll ever be able to completely submit to Noah. Noah isn’t sure he can risk allowing a woman into his heart and life again. As everybody connected to The Den struggles to salvage what’s left of their lives, Noah and Liv have to find a way to follow their heart without risking their sanity.
Shattered Bonds starts with a bang. Before you’re five percent into the story you’ll be worrying about at least half the characters you’ve come to love while reading the ‘Wicked Play’ series. Everything is suddenly uncertain. There are questions about life and death as well as the future of The Den and it’s impossible not to get caught up in the worry and uncertainty.
In the midst of the chaos that ensues, Liv is the light and bright spark keeping everyone going. There were times when she was a bit too much for me; too good, too cheerful, too understanding and too unquestioning. But overall she made me smile as well as wish I was a better person. And, given the darkness Noah struggles with, Liv’s character had to be both understanding and patient for the story and the romance to work.
Noah broke my heart for most of this book. His pain, fear and reluctance to commit ever again were so vivid it made me hurt for him. The way he eventually deals with his issues and the sacrifice Liv makes to make that possible for him, were both heartbreaking and utterly beautiful.
Ultimately this is a book about love, friendship and loyalty. Things that might shatter us if we have to face them alone, can be managed if those who are close to us gather around to see us through. It is a wonderful truth and powerful message.
As always Lynda Aicher has put several pearls of wisdom in her story. I’ve decided to not quote BDSM related statements this time since I covered those in my previous reviews. The following sentiment though rang very true for me:
“She didn’t go around envisioning the sex lives of any of her other friends.”
This is such a wonderful line. The whole world seems to feel they have the right to judge how people who are into kink or are gay or ‘other than the norm’ have sex. And yet those same people probably don’t spend a minute thinking about their neighbours’ sex life. Because they know it’s none of their business. Well, guess what. It’s none of your business either if the people concerned happen to like something you’re not into or you don’t understand.
The following scene brought tears to my eyes. Liv’s selflessness was astounding and inspiring.
“You have so much love to give, but your heart is still broken. Her actions shattered it. But it still beats. You’re still alive. You need to find a way to piece it back together so you’re not afraid to use it again.” – Liv to Noah.
As she did in the previous books in this series, Lynda Aicher manages to give us yet another perspective on BDSM. With Liv not being submissive, even though she does enjoy kinky sex, and Noah no longer comfortable with the idea of a full-time D/s relationship, this book shows that it isn’t all or nothing. We all develop our relationships based on our personal needs, and that’s the only way it can possibly work. I’m both delighted and impressed at how well Lynda Aicher managed to convey that message in this series.
I have adored this series from the very beginning. Every single title brought me hours of reading joy and all the characters I encountered in the stories will stay with me for one reason or another. For that reason, the epilogue left me with a big smile as well as a bit teary-eyed. It was a wonderful and very romantic ending to a series I’ve loved from start to finish. It was also goodbye. As much as it was great to have the series end on a high, I can’t deny I will miss these characters and The Den. The world and characters Lynda Aicher created became real for me and saying goodbye to them is a bit like saying goodbye to trusted friends. Not having a next book to look forward to is going to take a bit of getting used to. On the upside though, there’s a new series on the way and if the ‘Wicked Play’ books are anything to go by, it’s going to be fun losing myself in new characters.
“That was what this day was really about. The victory of love and the promise it had given them all when someone had tried to destroy it.”
This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.