Title: Bound to Break (Men of Honor 6)
Author: S.E. Jakes
Cover Artist: Angela Waters
Publisher: Self Published
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: Contemporary M/M, BDSM, Men in Uniform
Length: Novel/208 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Review Summary: An intense, action packed, engrossing story with multiple MCs. For me, the best book in the series so far.
Four men fighting against their pasts…and for each other.
Men of Honor, Book 6
Several years after washing up on a beach in South Africa with absolutely no memory—not even his name—Lucky would rather not remember his past. Based on the number of scars on his body, it couldn’t have been anything good.
Then a man claiming to be his former Navy SEAL teammate walks into the bar and insists that Lucky’s real name is Josiah Joshua Kent. Turns out he’s been listed as KIA, and since he’s not dead, he’s now considered a deserter.
Discovering Josh is alive throws Rex, and his relationship with Sawyer, into a tailspin. Rex can finally lay to rest the nightmares of the night he couldn’t save his teammate. And Sawyer is faced with his worst nightmare—a relationship threatened by a very real ghost from the past.
As Josh begins to piece his memories back together, another man with a shadowy connection to his past—and maybe his heart—holds the key that could free him. Or send him to a traitor’s fate.
Product Warnings Contains rough language, rougher sex and warriors who fall hard for one another.
Men of Honor Series
This is a very complicated story with recurring storylines and characters so please bear with me for this very long review. If you haven’t read any of the books in this series I would recommend that you read Bound by Danger, book 3, as two of the MCs from that book, Clint and Jace, make several appearances in Bound to Break and play an important role as well as add several humorous touches to the dialogue.
Bound to Break opens with a scene that is integral to the plot and introduces one of the MCs who suffers unbearable torture at the hands of terrorists. When he wouldn’t break he was dumped in the sea close to death, but he was a strong swimmer and despite his injuries was able to make it to the shore. He was found washed up on the beach by Emme who rescues him and, together with her parents, “adopts” him and gives him a job and a place to live even though they knew nothing about him as he was suffering from amnesia. She named him Lucky
Lucky’s life continued in a holding pattern for four years until one night when Nate, a Navy SEAL, showed up at the bar and recognized him as a former teammate. He told him that he was Josh Kent whom he and their other SEAL teammates believed was dead as they saw him murdered by the same terrorists who had held them all captive. Then Emme’s brother Dash, who had been following Nate and his other SEAL teammates for years hoping they would lead him to Josh, shows up, After getting rid of Nate temporarily he introduces himself to Lucky and shortly thereafter they have wild sex for most of that night. But the next morning everything changes as Dash, who it turns out is an undercover CIA operative, confirms Lucky’s identity with Nate and his superiors, which meant he would have to return to the US so that the Navy brass could determine whether he was really suffering from amnesia or if he was a traitor who had been turned by the terrorists.
To add a major wrinkle to the already complicated plot, Josh had been in a relationship for four years with Rex, one of his SEAL teammates before he “died.” Rex now has a new lover, Sawyer, another SEAL. How would Josh’s return after several years affect the relationship between Sawyer and Rex? Sawyer had always feared that Rex would never get over Josh and now that he was alive would Rex decide that he was still in love with him? As for Rex, he really loved Sawyer and didn’t want to make the same mistakes with him that he had made with Josh all those years ago when he never shared who he really was.
Navy protocol demanded that Lucky be escorted back immediately to the US by military personnel, but Dash hangs around even though he is unable to see Lucky while he is being evaluated in military prison until his status is determined. Is Lucky a hero or a traitor who has been turned by the terrorists as everyone, including his former SEAL teammates, suspect? For 3 months he undergoes daily interrogation, psych testing and hypnosis to determine if he’s really suffering from amnesia; when his memory doesn’t return despite daily sessions with a psychologist to whom he spilled everything, Lucky is eventually allowed to live off base even though he is still under investigation. As soon as he knows that Lucky is free Dash shows up to continue where they left off in South Africa, and they start a sexual relationship in earnest even though Dash is also spying on him. In the meantime Dash’s family is in danger from the same terrorists who kidnapped and tortured Lucky and his SEAL teammates. There were so many sub plots that at times I had to re-read certain chapters to be sure of the story arc.
This book is, above all, about trust. Does the Navy brass trust Josh/Lucky after he had passed all the tests? Does Lucky trust Dash and vice versa? Do Josh’s former SEAL teammates trust that he didn’t betray them and his country? There are many issues facing Lucky but if he can trust that Dash really loves and trusts him maybe, just maybe, his ordeal will be worth it. Everyone seems to suspect that he is a traitor, including his lover Dash and his former lover Rex. I really loved Lucky who very complex, nuanced and a dichotomy. On the one hand he seemed defenceless but so powerful on another level that many people, including his colleagues, were afraid of him. His childhood was a wasteland as he was abandoned at only an hour old and never adopted, spending his life in orphanages and the foster care system learning to get by by lying until he enlisted in the Navy at 17; It was difficult not to feel for him because of all he had suffered, but could he now be lying to everyone as he had been trained to do by both life and the Navy? Also, was there another traitor in their midst?
I really liked the characters and the plot in this book but I had several niggles: one was why didn’t Dash, who was such a hot shot CIA operative, know that the man he had been trying to find for 4 years was right under his nose living with his family? We’re told that he hadn’t been home since Lucky showed up as he was working as a photographer which was his cover, but photography is not a 24/7 job and he spoke to Emme regularly so I didn’t understand why Lucky’s name never came up in conversation.There were other plot holes but I’ll leave you to find those out for yourself when you read the book as some of them would be spoilers if revealed.
I like this author’s writing but the one aspect of her stories that always bothers me is her dependence on sex to “sell” her stories to the detriment of characterization and plot which always seem to be secondary. However I know that many readers love her books because of the frequent and graphic sex and this book with 4 MCs has more than her usual number of sexual episodes, so the fans will absolutely love it.
I have read all the books in the Men of Honor series and there’s a continuing thread of MCs in previous stories appearing in the current one and some of these characters play a key role in Bound to Break, so while it can be read as a standalone you will get maximum enjoyment if you read the entire series.