Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Bound by Lies by Lynn Kelling

Title: Bound by Lies
Author: Lynn Kelling
My Rating: A-

Genre: Erotic Romance (m/m)
Series: -
Main Characters: Brayden and Jenner
Release Date: August 2013
Publisher: Fantastic Fiction
Purchase Links: 
Sexual Intensity: erotic


Story Overview:
Novel (116,000 words)
Genre(s): Contemporary, Gay, Romance, BDSM

Brayden Clare never wanted to return to small town life. Blond, athletic, and struggling with his sexual identity, a casual relationship on the beach in Florida suits him much better. When a family emergency calls him home, he is forced to trade his personal freedom for a job as a bartender in a town where everybody thinks they know who he is, and nobody has a clue—including Brayden. Jenner Parrish is the owner and operator of Parrish Pub, the social hub of Robertsville, Pennsylvania. Jenner is charming, dominant, and popular since they were both in high school together. Brayden finds his new boss intimidating, and is daunted to find that turns him on. Jenner finds his new recruit intriguing but mustn’t dare to ask an employee to submit to him. The two men find what they’re seeking at a masked BDSM ball in the next town over, and are startled to discover their desires rest much, much closer to home. (M/M - For content labels and excerpt, see details on publisher's site.)


My Review:
How much of how other people see us affects who we really turn out to be? This book examines that with Brayden and Jenner....two people hiding who they truly are.

Brayden was that downtrodden kid in school. His dad died, his mother left. He was alone and sad and the other kids saw that weakness in him and exploited it by bullying, both physically and mentally. He was called Cry Baby Braydy. The best thing he ever did was leave this small town and move to Miami where he found more of himself. There he was starting to come into his own and just beginning to feel comfortable in his own skin and maybe even his sexuality. But before that exploration could be complete, he had to come home to help his grandmother.

The opposite side of the spectrum was Jenner. He had his own set of expectations growing up as the popular kid and quarterback of the football team. People expected him to act a certain way. Being gay definitely didn't fit into that norm, but it's hard to break free of those expectations.

For both of these men, they have been deep in the closet. No one knows that they are gay, but there are even further reasons why they've hidden that fact. Because not only are they gay, but they have certain taboo sexual needs. Jenner is a sadist. Brayden is a masochist. 

Brayden goes to work in Jenner's bar and Jenner is shocked at the transformation that has taken place. This is no longer Cry Baby Braydy although a lot of his friends refuse to let it go. He also shows NO signs of being gay...quite the opposite....he has the women in the bar eating out of his hand, but that doesn't keep Jenner from fantasizing about him and his golden skin. So you can imagine Jenner's surprise when Brayden shows up at his BDSM club dressed as a sub. Jenner knows him immediately. Brayden has no clue about Jenner though....and things progress from there. 

Even though this is a BDSM novel, it's really very sweet and romantic. These are two guys falling for each other while trying to maintain a wall around themselves to keep other perceptions out. Obviously, that doesn't work. But as they become closer, they begin to realize that all that other stuff doesn't matter  and it's fabulous to get to see that transformation. This is not an easy relationship for either of them, just because of the taboo aspect. They both have self-doubts and self-recriminations, but it's what they each need and they are both better for having the relationship. They just need to realize that...at the same time, they are beginning to let their outside world know about it too. Other people's perceptions can be so damaging.

This is a great novel. As someone fascinated by sociology and why people act the way that they do, I loved it. There is an INCREDIBLE note from the author at the end of the book that had me in tears and made this book even take a more personal slant. It's a difficult novel in some aspects, but they were purely emotional, but I loved every minute of reading it. I've read some of Lynn Kelling's other work and she can sometime skirt the edge of what I find comfortable. This book didn't do that although it seemed like it was very true to the BDSM community. I definitely recommend this one. 

(Although a slight warning...she writes in 3rd person present tense which I always find reads somewhat awkwardly. It takes a bit to settle into that style. Just give it a chance.)

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