Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bound by Deception by Ava March

TITLE: Bound by Deception
AUTHOR: Ava March
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 24k)
GENRE: Gay historical bdsm erotic romance
COST: $4.99

When Oliver Marsden discovers his best friend has a monthly appointment at a prestigious brothel with a man instead of a woman, he’s thrilled. After all, he’s been in love – and lust – with Lord Vincent Prescot since they were boys. He scrapes together enough money to pay the brothel for the privilege of replacing Vincent’s usual partner, doing everything in his power to hide his identity from his friend. He doesn’t expect the restraints and bullwhip, but the night they spend together surpasses any and every expectation he ever had. Too bad that’s all he can ever have…

I have to be honest and say that I had low expectations going into this book. I bought it for the sheer erotic factor; the thought of two staid Englishmen having a BDSM relationship hit a kink in me I hadn’t realized was as strong as it was. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised, not only by the level of heat this short novella managed to produce but also by the genuine emotion on the part of the primary hero. Oliver has been in love with Vincent for years. His earnestness while he was preparing his deception practically reaches through the page and grabs the reader by the shirtfront, demanding to be heard. I was completely immersed in his emotions by the time Vincent even enters the picture. That only served to intensify the already erotic encounter that followed.

Vincent, while solid, seems very much a fantasy figure until we finally get to see him outside of the brothel. There, the true depths of his friendship with Oliver get revealed, and he becomes far more human than the masterful god Oliver worships in the beginning. Unfortunately, we don’t get to truly plumb their relationship before everything hits the fan, but there’s enough characterization allowed in their encounters to invest me in both men as the story progresses.

But the story’s length works against it to make the romance truly successful. While there is definite chemistry between the two men, the entire last quarter of the story seems rushed in order to get to an HFN. Vincent’s feelings aren’t allowed to run a full course, and the ensuing resolution is only vaguely satisfactory. For such serious matters and emotions, I wanted – needed, really – more to be explored. It leaves this falling short of a fulfilling romance, and instead offers a seductive piece of erotica instead. But very seductive, mind you. I finished this story in what felt like record time, and was hungry for more. It’s definitely worth it to see what else this author might have to offer this voracious reader.


9/10 – When all I can think after I’ve finished is, Wow, that went fast, that’s definitely a good sign

Hero #1

8/10 – His earnestness makes up for some ridiculous assumptions.

Hero #2

7/10 – Enough there to understand why he’s adored so much

Entertainment value

8/10 – The erotic part works far better than the romance, and does so tremendously well.

World building

7/10 – There’s quite a bit of believable detail within the confines of the bedroom; outside was scantier.



No comments: