Title: Ties That Bind, Men of Honor #3
Author: S.E. Jakes
Cover Artist: Angela Waters
Publisher: Self Published
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: Contemporary M/M, BDSM
Length: Novella/100 PDF pages
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Review Summary: I really liked the MCs and enjoyed the story despite my concerns with some aspects of the plot.
Men of Honor, Book 3
When helo pilot Glen Rhodes flies Navy SEALs into the most dangerous places on earth, he has nerves of steel. Since his trusted Dom’s death three years ago, though, the thought of submitting makes him panic.
Determined to move on and long past ready to release the adrenaline rush from his job, Glen returns to home ground—and to the bar he hasn’t had the heart to enter for three long years. There, he meets a man who seems to fit naturally into the void.
Derek Mann has suffered his own losses, and he isn’t looking for permanent. Easy conquests don’t interest him, either. One look at Glen’s proud military bearing and sad eyes tells him that he has a challenge on his hands. And that winning Glen’s trust will unleash something wild and beautiful.
The plan is to tread lightly. But from the first touch of skin on skin, there’s no holding back…except when it comes to their deepest emotions. A Christmas Eve crisis pushes them both to their limits, leaving them no choice but to let go of the past…or let it pull them apart.
Men of Honor Series
Ties That Bind follows Bound By Honor reviewed by Cole and Bound By Law that I reviewed (both of which are linked) but this is not a direct sequel to the previous books and therefore can be read as a standalone. I should point out that the blurb is incorrect in one area – John, Glen’s Dom, died five years ago not three, not that it makes much of a difference. Now on to the review …..
Glen was a competitive swimmer in his teens and he was preparing for the Olympics when he realized that something was out of sync after he started having panic attacks. He consulted his coaches and shrinks but none of them could find any reason for his attacks and both his physical and mental toughness began to suffer. It wasn’t until he saw BDSM porn on the Internet that he realized what he might be missing 🙂 and snuck into a leather bar at 17 where he met John, his first Dom. Realizing how young he was but obviously not concerned that he was underage, John who was 25 years older taught Glen about being a submissive and took him in after a major falling out with his Christian parents about his homosexuality. He lived with John until his eighteenth birthday when he joined the Navy, and their relationship continued during his enlistment until John’s death at 47.
Glen’s job as a helo pilot was extremely stressful because he was responsible for a lot of lives during combat missions, so he needed to come down from the adrenaline rush during his flights. Apparently a D/s relationship gave him the tools to go on with his normal day to day life. After he lost John Glen was adrift personally since he couldn’t find another Dom who understood his needs.
Glen’s professional life as a Navy helicopter pilot could not have been better but he missed what the D/s lifestyle gave him. He went to bars occasionally for sexual release but he stopped looking for a replacement Dom. Enter Derek who had lost his submissive of 4 years in a car accident a few years before. When Glen walked into the leather bar the connection was immediate; Derek realized that he was the person he had been looking for all his life and he wasn’t about to let anyone else have him.
They started out as the typical Dom/sub but Derek wanted more and gradually emotions crept into their relationship and even Glen looked forward to being together with Derek apart from being his sub. But Glen wasn’t as ready for a relationship as Derek – it could have been the 10 year difference between them, Derek was 37 to Glen’s 27. This was a sticking point between them and it came to a head when Glen contracted the flu after a difficult assignment in Afghanistan just before Christmas and Derek postponed his plans to visit family members for the holidays in order to look after Glen.
I enjoyed the protagonists and I thought that the author did a good job on them as they were both well drawn. Glen was obviously hurting emotionally because he still had not recovered from John’s death all those years ago and he couldn’t move on, mainly because no one came up to his high standards for a Dom although his needs had evolved. He also had major trust issues after being physically and emotionally abused by Mark, another Dom. With so much baggage he needed to feel safe and Derek recognized this and made sure that Glen’s needs were met.
I did have a few niggles. This book has S.E. Jakes’s signature – homophobic and abusive parents. I wish she would let this old chestnut die a natural death and come up with more imaginative plots. Also, Glen had sex with John when he was just 17 and their relationship continued until John’s death. It seemed to me that a 42 year old would not have had much in common with Glen other than teaching him the basics about sex and being a sub. The other problem I had was that Glen’s mother stormed into the apartment while Derek was taking care of Glen when he was sick. Since they had been estranged for 10 years after his parents kicked him out it seemed unlikely that she would know his address as he had enlisted in the Navy at 18 and moved away as far as possible from his parents, so how did she find him at such a critical time? BTW BDSM as a cure-all for panic attacks? 🙂 Kind of a big stretch but what the heck, this is fiction.
The D/s aspect of the book was relatively mild and only involved restraints and spanking, so even if you’re not into BDSM you might want to give this book a try. Of course there is a high number of sex scenes since this is a BDSM story, so if you like a lot of sex in your M/M books there is more than enough hot and heavy action.
The main characters were three dimensional and I genuinely liked Derek and Glen. One of the supporting characters who was only in the story briefly was Clint, a CIA operative and Glen’s friend. I’m hoping he’ll be back in his own book.
The prose and dialogue worked most of the time and I have no hesitation recommending Ties That Bind despite the niggles I had about this book.
Ties That Bind will be released on Tuesday, November 30.