Title: Bound by Guilt
Author: Sandra Bard
Cover artist: Paul Richmond
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Amazon: Buy Link Bound by Guilt
Genre: contemporary mm romance
Length: 200 pages
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
A guest review by Sirius.
Summary: While I may have found the beginning of the story to be a little hard to believe, I ended up really enjoying it.
Blurb:Kit Mason works at Eddy’s, a boutique where the clothes are chic, the paycheck’s weak, and Kit has no qualms about snagging rich older men looking to pay for play. When Cory St. James walks in, he checks all Kit’s boxes: he’s middle-aged, the entrepreneur of a pharmaceutical company, and already has a kept boy at home—what’s one more? Kit sets out to seduce Cory and bulldozes through his denials, but when Cory finally gives in, his lover, Sasha, catches them with their pants down.
Sasha isn’t the pampered toy Kit expected. In fact, Kit may have misjudged him. And the consequences that ensue when Sasha catches Kit and Cory together leave him alone. Unwilling to be weighed down by guilt, Kit decides to look after Sasha himself, even if Sasha can’t stand the sight of him and there are a few things about Kit’s past he doesn’t want Sasha to know. But Kit isn’t willing to do all the work when it comes to forcing Sasha to rebuild his life. It’s a slow process of growing trust and learning to stand on their own—and together.
I picked this book because I wanted to try a new to me author and because once again the blurb promised antagonistic chemistry between two leads. I also tend to enjoy the stories where the character or characters deal with the consequences of something bad that they did and actually experience the guilt. While the blurb talks about Kit and Sasha, I did not exclude the possibility that the story may end up to be a ménage. I can tell you now that it is definitely *not* a ménage. Kit and Sasha are the main characters and the story is mostly about them unexpectedly stumbling in a possibility of a relationship and both of them dealing with a different kind of guilt where Cory was concerned.
Blurb hints very strongly as to why Kit would feel guilty and I will not tell you about Sasha’s guilt because it would venture in a spoilers category which I am trying to avoid in this review. It is not going to be easy though to avoid spoilers because the key event which happened very early in the book but after what happened in the blurb serves as a catalyst of bringing Kit and Sasha in close contact. I am not going to tell you about this event, but I will tell you that Kit and Sasha would eventually end up living together for some period of time because Kit would have nowhere else to go and that’s how they would get to know each other better.
I could not *stand* Kit in the beginning of the story. He thinks seducing rich men is the only way to make a decent living and the consequences for everybody involved be damned. I did not like him, but of course it turned out that he is not such a cold person as he wanted the world to think of him. I did NOT want to like Kit, I really did not, but the story seduced me despite my resistance. Oh I still thought that he was a very flawed character even after I was done with the book and reread it three times, but I enjoyed him as a character and I believed that he changed in small ways and some not so small ways. Sasha was probably the biggest surprise for me in this book. Please do not think that Kit wanting to take care of him means that Sasha is portrayed as damsel in distress. I mean, yes, he was vulnerable a plenty in some ways (the reason for his vulnerability is also a huge spoiler, so you will have to read it to find out), but also tough, very proud, maybe too proud and “Her Royal Highness” nickname which Kit came to call Sasha in his mind was a very appropriate one I thought :). I also thought that while I liked Sasha a lot and much more than Kit, he also had several character flaws of his own and too much pride was probably the main one.
I thought this book was a very good example of how to do “from enemies to lovers” chemistry and do it well. The chemistry between the men is truly antagonistic at first and to me it made perfect sense. More importantly, the change of heart made sense to me as well, but opinions may differ on that one, I guess it all depends on whether the book would convince you. I was convinced or seduced, take your pick.
I will be honest, it is quite possible that because I loved the chemistry so much – rough, even at the end of the book, but also I bought that they may have a future – it is quite possible that I may have ignored the strange set up of the story in a sense that their initial contact forced as it was may have been avoided, but I did not care. I enjoyed it a lot and recommend it.