Bound to Please

Title: Bound to Please
Author: Kimberly Gardner
Publisher: MLR Press
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: M/M/M contemporary BDSM romance
Length: 332 pages
Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

A guest review by Jenre

THE BLURB

Brought together for pleasure, bound together by love.

Jason doesn’t do monogamy, and as a much sought-after Dom he doesn’t have to. But when he gets the chance to play with Benny, his sweet young assistant who wants only to please him, Jason holds back.
Benny’s no sub, but for a chance to be with the sexy Dom he’s sure he can change. Except he’s only fooling himself, and deep down he knows it.

Enter Rain, a sexy badboy who’s got a taste for the lash and pretty young things, like Benny. What’s a man to do when the two men he lusts after are determined that even a hook-up is not in the cards? Why, orchestrate one single night of pleasure, of course.

But when the whip comes down, and one night isn’t enough, it’s love, not leather, that’s bound to please.

THE REVIEW

Benny works as a PA to successful BDSM club owner Jason and has lusted after him every since they met. Jason is also attracted to the quiet, shy Benny but knows that he can’t allow himself to have a relationship with a man who isn’t a sub. As a Dom, Jason knows that he would eventually find that unfulfilling. When ex-porn star, male model and sub, Rain, enters their lives he sees that both Jason and Benny could find love with each other and hatches a plan to get them together, not realising that he, himself could be the one who would make the relationship work.

There was much to like about this BDSM ménage book, especially in the way that it takes the usual D/s theme and changes it slightly to accommodate the ménage. Many D/s books involve a Dom who meets a man who has sub potential and then initiates him into the lifestyle, falling in love with him at the same time. This story takes an initial similar route: that of a Dom who is attracted to a seemingly submissive man, but then turns the tables on the reader when it turns out that, no matter how hard he may wish it, Benny just hasn’t got what it takes to be a sub. Yes, he’s a shy man who hates confrontation; yes, he likes obeying orders and being directed and dominated in his sexual play, but ultimately other aspects of submission leave him either scared to death or humiliated. It was an interesting idea and one that is played with for most of the book as the reader gets taken with Benny on his journey towards accepting that, no matter how much he may want or fantasise about submission, it will never be something he is comfortable with. I found myself sympathising with Benny, especially when he looks at Rain and sees everything he could never be, all wrapped up in an enticing bundle for Jason.

Another part which I liked a great deal was in the way that the ménage relationship worked. Jason is an older man and an experienced Dom who is looking for a 24/7 sub. This is something which he sees as possible with Rain, yet Benny’s sweet nature calls to him at a deeper level than sex. Benny has been in love with Jason for a long time but falls into an easy friends-with-benefits relationship with Rain. When the pair concoct a scheme to get Jason to notice Benny, the three men realise that actually they work better as a three: Jason and Rain get the fulfilling D/s relationship, and all three benefit from the close emotional bond that they share. Of course there are several spanners in the works before they get to this point, but I really felt that by the end of the book this is relationship which is mutually beneficial to all the men and therefore likely to stand the test of time.

One final part which I felt worked well was in the way the book features several characters who are connected with the BDSM lifestyle, both male and female. This gave the setting of the book a realistic feel as we see the different types of Doms, Dommes and subs and their interplay. The way that the club is described and the interaction between the members added an extra dimension to the story so it wasn’t just about three men, but also about their friendships with the other secondary characters and how that impacts on their own developing relationship. It was all rather cleverly done and meant that even the most minor characters were fleshed out with their own problems interwoven with the story of the three main characters.

The only problem I had with the story stemmed from the fact that we don’t get Rain’s point of view. Whilst I could see that this was necessary to the secondary drama plot involving Rain and the mysterious Don, it also meant that I didn’t really feel that I got to know Rain as well as Jason and Benny. I also felt that the way this drama plot was resolved seemed ridiculously easy and convenient, as though it got swept under the carpet at the end. In which case I had to wonder why it was there at all, as any conflict between the men could have come from Benny and Rain’s internal insecurity rather than a slightly forced external conflict.

However, that was only a minor niggle in what was a pretty terrific book with well rounded characters, plotting and setting. If you are a little squeamish about the BDSM elements, then don’t be put off as it is very mild in the book. There’s plenty to satisfy those who do like BDSM, especially those who want the focus to be on the romance between the men. If you’re looking for an excellent example of a m/m/m ménage book and like BDSM, then you can’t go wrong with this book.  I could barely stand to put it down and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Highly recommended.

27 comments

  • Hi Kendall
    Now you’ve made me want to read Phoenix Rising! I hadn’t realised that Jimmy and Adam were the heroes in that book.

    I’m really glad that you enjoyed Bound to Please. It’s always nice to get feedback when someone has gone onto read a book I’ve recommended :).

    I shall look forward to Mario’s story. You are right, he’s got all the hallmarks of a flawed and tortured hero.

  • Hi Wave, I’m one of the lurker only types 🙂 but remember your post about especially wanting more comments on the reviews – and for once I’ve just read the book and have something to say.

    Thanks for the rec Jen, I enjoyed this too, though it took me half the book to work out who Jimmy and Adam were! and like you had some concerns about Rain’s character.

    I’m going to try and discuss this without spoilers, apologies if I’m a bit unclear. I was actually a bit concerned about the eventual dynamic of the final relationship (between Jason and Rain) given what we learn about the nature of his relationship with Don and what that probably means about his ‘choices’ during his porn career.

    There was also a bit of a squick factor about his age, I had assumed he was the same age as Benny, but at one point Jason says or thinks that he has found out that Rain is only just legal rather than the 25 he claims, which also means that he was probably underage for at least part of his career – unless I’ve misunderstood? and makes Jason at least twice his age.

    So overall, I really liked the Jason/Benny dynamic, and catching up on Jimmy and Adam, but feel that not seeing Rain’s POV made it hard to see him as a full partner in the relationship. This was compounded by my concerns over his ability to even fully consent as an adult given his history.

    • Hi Beck
      Thanks for chipping in with your views :).

      I agree that the character of Rain is difficult to really understand because we don’t get his viewpoint. The age thing is slightly confusing because (I don’t think) Rain ever admits to his age and as far as I can remember without looking it up, Jason only speculates that he’s just 18. I read this as Rain perhaps being slightly under age (say 17) when he took part in the porn films. Whether this means that he was taken advantage of or not, is never clear as Rain doesn’t talk about it. I can understand why it might make you feel a bit squicky, especially when factoring that in with the age difference between Rain and Jason.

  • This sounds great! I’m on a BDSM mini-kick 😉 and the approach intrigues me.

    I’m kinda new to m/m/m and have been wary/skeptical of it in the past. But I finally read one a while back, and it was great! Polar Reaction tackled some of the issues that made me think I couldn’t suspend my disbelief about m/m/m. So…

    …yeah, my long-winded way of saying I’ll give Bound to Please a try. 🙂

    • Hi Kendall

      I liked Polar Reaction too. I think the ménage in this book worked even better than that one. I’ll be interested to know whether you agree once you’ve read this.

      • “worked even better” — sound very groovy!

        I’m reading Wild Raspberries right now and loving it; once I finish devouring it, I’ll probably read the sequel and then go to Bound To Please

        …which I bought (along with Phoenix Rising) last night. The excerpts were very good; Bound To Please‘s was especially enticing. 🙂 Hehehe.

          • I just finished Phoenix Rising and Bound To Please and they were excellent (in different ways, mostly–they’re pretty different books). I liked seeing Adam & Jimmy (and minor characters like Shannon) from the first book show up here in Bound To Please

            I see what you mean, Jenre–the menage here did work a little better than Polar Reaction. The way they got together, the underlying feelings that lead to that point, plus HOW they fit together (their different roles).

            I would like a (perhaps short) story from Rain’s POV, but I was fine without it in this book. I bet you’re right about why we didn’t get his POV here (plus it might’ve been a bit confusing with 3 POVs).

            BTW I wrote the author to say how much I loved the books, and it sounds like we might get a Mario story at some point. I liked his character–complex with some heavy shit in his recent past–I’d love to read a story about him.

            Anyway, rambling done for now. Thanks nudging me toward buying this. 😉

  • Hmmmm interesting. The cover made me go “huh?” but the blurb made go “oh yummie”. So on the list it is!

    Thanks for the review 🙂

  • I loved Phoenix Rising and this one sounds terrific as well. I’ll definitely be getting this one soon. Great review! 🙂

  • When I saw this cover a couple of months ago, I knew I had to have this book. It’s on the top on my TBB list.

  • Wave, it is a great read. The ménage really works and the secondary characters are fun and adding something to the story.

  • What I forgot to mention and have to is: the cover alone is gorgeous, a true eyecatcher!

    • Hi Lilli
      I’ve yet to come across a m/m/m/m romance that’s anything other than a coming together of two couples for a bit of fun before going their separate ways. Perhaps other readers know of one?

      The cover is gorgeous – and really suits the characters too.

  • Hi Jen,
    I agree, this sounds really promising. Thanks for the thorough review, you got me really interested for this story. I’ll definitely put it on my TBB!

    It’s seems to be difficult to find a story with a threesome that comes across in a believable fashion, with the relationships being solid and where nobody of those involved seem to be left out somehow.

    I especially like that the author doesn’t walk the usual path with the Dom initiating a clueless sub.

    By the way, in case you know a story about a believable foursome or more, I’m all ears. The more the better, I guess. 😉

    • Willa Okati as a series at Torquere. I know the one book is called Big Enough for 5 when a foursome goes up by one. Room For One More takes it up to six. I haven’t read them though so I can’t comment on your “believable” aspect.

      In Willa’s series about the guys in Screen Shots there is a tensome scene but it’s not a relationship between all the guys. They never really “pair” up in more than three in the relationship sense.

      • Lilli and Tam
        I just remembered that the AM Riley books Goldilocks and his three Bears and A Man, a Jersey and a Tight End have a sort of foursome in, although they do pair off for most of the book.

        • Tam and Jen,
          thank you for your recs, I’ll check them out! 🙂

          A tensome, Tam?! Huh, somehow I never thought about more than…well. I guess it’s ok that they never “pair” up in more than threesomes, otherwise it’d be an orgy. 😉

          • The final book was basically an orgy and she even managed to keep all the arms and legs and … in the right places. Well, it seemed to work in my head. No going “riiight, like he could reach there”. LOL But off the 10 there were 3 couples, one trip and poor Jake who was kind of the odd man out. 🙂

  • Hi Jen
    This sounds like a really terrific book and I can’t wait to review it. I loved Phoenix Rising which I reviewed 18 months ago and I think this one is going on my immediate TBR file.

    • Hi Wave
      I haven’t read Phoenix Rising, but if the writing is as good as in this book I shall add it to my list of books to buy.

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