February 7, 2014

BLOG TOUR REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Bound (The Mastered Series #1)

Bound (The Mastered Series #1), by Lorelei James
Published February 4, 2014
NAL Trade
ARC, provided by the publisher
adult erotic romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating:  4.5 STARS

(From Goodreads)
In the new Mastered series by New York Times bestselling author Lorelei James, a woman’s desire to shatter her inhibitions leaves her unprepared for where that erotic journey will take her….

Former small-town girl Amery Hardwick is living her dream as a graphic designer in Denver, Colorado. She’s focused on building her business, which leaves little time for dating—not that she needs a romantic entanglement to fulfill her. When her friend signs up for a self-defense class as part of her recovery after an attack, Amery joins her for support. That’s where she meets him.

Ronin Black, owner of the dojo, is so drawn to Amery that he takes over her training—in public and in private. The enigmatic Ronin pushes Amery’s boundaries from the start, and with each new tryst, Amery becomes addicted to the pleasure and to him. But when Amery senses Ronin is hiding something, she questions her total trust in him, despite the undeniable thrill of his possession….

Bound took me by surprise.

I figured it was going to be your typical BDSM book. I approached it with some measure of trepidation, because many BDSM books don't appeal to me. It's the submissive part of the relationship I always have the biggest problem with. But, I wanted to try Bound because it's by Lorelei James, and from what I've read by her, she masters super strong characters.

Surprise number one - Bound is NOT a BDSM book. Surprise number two - there isn't a single cowboy in this book.

Bound is about art and secrets and how the past has the power to strengthen or destroy you.

Amery is the owner of a freelance graphic design business who is trying to remake herself in Denver. After enrolling in a self-defense class, she meets Ronin Black, eighth-degree black belt and super sexy owner of the dojo where her class is held. Ronin makes Amery feel things she never thought possible. He makes her want to bare her life, her soul and her body for him, and yet, she doesn't get the same openness in return. It's clear Ronin cares deeply for her, yet he keeps a lot of secrets.

Ronin spent a lot of time in Japan, and while there learned the Japanese art of Kinbaku and Shibari, both of which use ropes and scarves to bind a person, sometimes for sexual pleasure. It's treated as a form of art - a thing of beauty. In this way, it's very different from what we westerners think of as "bondage." It's not whips and chains and handcuffs. It's colorful scarves and soft touches and something to be admired. How amazingly fascinating and refreshing!

Ronin is a master at these arts and for awhile, Amery is his canvas. They both grow and learn so much about themselves during the course of their relationship. Despite the fact that Ronin kept that part of him a secret from Amery for awhile, in the spirit of continually trying to broaden her horizons and break out of the stifling mold in which her parents put her, she opens herself up to this new and exciting thing with him.

I loved reading about the binding. I even Googled a few of them so I could see what they looked like. It was such a new and interesting approach to the same old BDSM genre. And even cooler is that it came from Lorelei James. I've only known her for her sexy cowboy series. What a wonderful surprise!

The chemistry between Amery and Ronin was awesome. I loved how they cared for each other and seemed to want to meet each others' needs, no matter what they were. It was sweet and sexy and I was rooting for them the entire time.

But, Ronin - GAH. His inability to open up and share... well, anything of substance, really... was infuriating. And, Amery's constant acceptance of that equally frustrated me. I could see a mile away that there was going to come a point when the proverbial shit was going to hit the fan and create a colossal mess. And, when that happened, I was very torn. I was cheering Amery on for finally growing a backbone, and yet, my heart was breaking for both of them.

Despite my frustration with him, Lorelei James' development of Ronin Black made it impossible to not love him. I love that he's not your typical young stud (he's 38). Well, young - no (at least, not comparatively speaking). Stud? Hell yes. Ronin Black may not swagger, wear chaps or don a 10-gallon hat, but that's okay. Because hot is hot. And, Ronin Black is H-O-T. He's enigmatic and intense and strong. He's all things that embody sexy.

Bound is told from Amery's POV, except for the last chapter, which is all Ronin. There is a bit of a cliffhanger ending, but it fit well with the story and the events that unfolded in the last few chapters. Thank goodness we don't have to wait long for the follow-up to their story!

About the Author

Lorelei James is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of contemporary erotic western romances set in the modern day Wild West and also contemporary erotic romances. Lorelei's books have been nominated for and won the Romantic Times Reviewer's choice Award, as well as the CAPA Award. Lorelei lives in western South Dakota with her family...and a whole closet full of cow girl boots.

Why do I have a particular fondness for all things western? Well, I'm a fourth generation South Dakotan, living in the Black Hills, which is chock-full of interesting characters, including cowboys, Indians, ranchers, and bikers. The geographical diversity of the surrounding area showcases mountains, plains, and badlands. Living in and writing about rural settings gives me a unique perspective, especially since I'm not writing historical westerns. Through my fictional world, I can show the ideals and the cowboy way of life are still very much alive.


One winner in the US will win a print copy of Bound, by Lorelei James.

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