Title: Bound by Law (Men of Honor #2)
Author: S.E. Jakes
Cover Artist: Angela Waters
Publisher: Self Published
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: Contemporary M/M/M, Suspense, BDSM
Length: Novel, 146 PDF pages
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Review Summary: There is hot, and then there is HOT. This book takes the reader into hitherto unexplored territory for a romance. However I found some of the dialogue lacking.
The one man he can’t forget is the one whose memories could destroy them all.
Men of Honor, Book 2
After the one man he trusted disappeared, it took Law Connor ten years to take a chance on another relationship. Trouble is, right about the time he’s finally ready to let go of the past, the past stages a hostile takeover.
Back when they were teens, Styx was the boy with no memory. He and Law had each other’s backs until he was forced to leave to keep Law safe. Now a CIA agent, he’s finally discovered who he is, and why he’s a hunted man.
Detective Paulo McMannus has almost succeeded in helping Law forget his lost love when Styx comes plowing back into their lives. No way is Paulo giving up his lover without a fight.
Suddenly Law finds himself on the run with Styx, the man who can still bring him to his knees…and with Paulo, the man who brought him back to life. The worst part? He can’t choose between them. And it’s getting harder to remember why he should.
Men of Honor Series
Bound by Honor, Men of Honor Book 1 reviewed by Cole and Bound By Law are intricately linked so you would be advised to read the books in order. I had been waiting for several months for BBL and really looked forward to cracking it open but I wondered if it would be as powerful as BBH and if the characters would resonate as much in a new story. This book amped up the volume of the music by several decibels and the the intensity was off the scale, but some of the dialogue left me flummoxed, and not in a good way.
A brief recap. Law, Damon (one of the MC’s in BBH) and Styx had lived together as teenagers with Greg, their unofficial foster parent, for a few years until Styx disappeared at 20. Greg had died 16 years ago and left them an inheritance. Returning home after a decade in the military, Law and Damon bought Crave a BDSM club but certain events led to a decision to sell the club. Law and Styx (the love of his life) had been apart for 16 years. Between the ages of 19 and 24 they had seen each other briefly a few times, then for 10 years there was no communication between them after Styx joined the CIA and worked undercover, but now he was back with a vengeance.
Fast forward three months, Law was on the brink of falling in love with Paolo McMannus, a police detective with whom he had had sex on and off, and the only impediment to a relationship was Styx, the man he loved and could not forget. He had stayed away from Paolo while recovering from his injuries after almost being killed by the man who had raped a few patrons outside Crave, but he missed him and realized he didn’t want to be without him in his life. Although Law was tough, having spent 10 years with the Delta Force, when it came to his love for two completely different men he found himself on the horns of a dilemma with no way out.
Law was out to dinner with Paolo one evening when a trip to the restroom in the restaurant proved to be an adventure as the lights went out while he was leaving and Styx showed up. Apparently Styx was on the hunt for an assailant who had targeted Law and Paolo because he found out about Law’s feelings for him, and he had been staying in close proximity to keep them safe. Styx could not tell Law that the hired killer was actually gunning for him as that would mean revealing what little he knew about his past. He had almost no memory of his life before he woke up on a park bench at 16, but what he remembered was terrifying. What followed in the restroom was a scene out of the movies, with both of them getting off while in extreme danger, a killer on the loose, and Paolo and Styx’s partner Tomcat trying to protect the remaining patrons in the restaurant from another hired assassin.
Law’s and Paulo’s narrow escape from this hit meant they would have to be placed in protective custody until the threat was eliminated and that’s where Bound by Law lost some traction for me, with the main characters outdoing each other in macho posturing and oneupmanship. Here’s a bit of the dialogue:
“You’ve got to be kidding me. What—now we’re going into witness protection for reasons unknown? Bullshit.”
“I know the reasons.” Styx’s eyes met Paulo’s and the two men came to a silent agreement. “Like I said, I’ve been trying to avoid this for months.”
“Why’s it taken that long? Oh, wait, that’s SOP for the CIA,” Law muttered. “Who got killed here tonight?”
“You don’t have the clearance for that intel,” Styx told him, and Paulo watched the fireworks between these men with great interest. The tension there was extreme—sexual and otherwise, and Paulo couldn’t believe he was stuck in the middle of them.
“So let me get this straight—the three of us have to hole up together so we don’t get killed?” Paulo asked, and Styx nodded, looking as grim at that prospect as Paulo felt.
“For how long?”
“As long as it takes.”
“I am going to need way more of an explanation than that, Styx.”
A lot of the dialogue was similar to the above, and perhaps it was supposed to be tough as nails and uncompromising, but at times it just sounded silly.
There were many parts of this book that appealed to me: The suspense while Styx, Law and Paolo were in the safe house (make that two safe houses) waiting for the killer’s next move, the sexual and emotional tension trying to figure out their relationship as Law is caught between his present (Paolo) and his past (Styx), and at times they were all fighting for the same bone, each other. When the attraction between Paolo and Styx burst into flames the sex between the three men was incendiary, and the intensity was elevated further with the D/s elements. Both Styx and Paolo loved Law who returned that love. It was obvious they would do anything to keep each other safe, including putting their own lives on the line, and the sex made their bond closer but there was an overdose of testosterone with Styx, Paolo and Law all jockeying for position in the love triangle as Styx and Law tried to out-Dom each other. Paolo was probably my favourite of the three characters because he wasn’t as focused on proving how tough he was and he was a genuinely nice guy.
I did have problems with the book other than the dialogue, such as a couple of name switches and spelling mistakes, which is unusual for this publisher, and at one point a continuity error with Paolo being naked and in jeans at the same time. I loved this story and the characters but not as much as Damon and Tanner in Bound by Honor. This book could easily have been 5 stars for me but I couldn’t overlook the hokey dialogue in places as well as my other issues.
The plot included the usual homophobic parents, cruel and excessive child abuse, paid assassins and just about anything else you can imagine thrown into the pot. With three men there was a lot of sex in this book but it was well written, and to watch the MCs come apart was a thing of beauty and very emotional as the sex was raw and healing at the same time.
There is an upcoming book in the series, Men of Honor: Ties That Bind that I’m actually looking forward to reading because, despite my problems with this book I loved the characters and the prose. If you read and loved Bound By Honor you should definitely get Bound by Law.
Bound by Law will be released by Samhain on Tuesday August 9