Monday, August 29, 2011

Honor Bound by Myla Jackson

TITLE: Honor Bound
AUTHOR: Myla Jackson
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 23k)
GENRE: Historical erotic romance
COST: $3.50

Escaping the Indian tribe that held her captive, Honor stumbles across two miners pleasuring each other in a stream. She’s aroused by what they’re doing, but recognizes an opportunity when she sees one. She goes to their cabin while they’re washing, intent on stealing what is necessary to survive, but their early return turns her plans on their head, especially when the men don’t seem eager to let her go…

On Mondays, I review either gay or ménage stories, which is why I pulled this one out of the stack to read next. However, while the publisher might think ménage scenes qualifies it as such, this romance definitely has a het HEA. I decided to review it anyway, if only to warn others who might be misled by the publisher’s labels, too.

Honor is running away from the Indian who has been holding her captive for nearly six weeks. A parson’s widow, she’d been on her way to San Francisco to start her life over when they were ambushed. Everybody else was left for dead, while she was secured as some kind of trophy wife. She’s tired of being manipulated and used by men, and determined to live life as she wants. She comes across two miners in a stream, Zach and Jake, who are in the midst of pleasuring each other. Rather than be appalled by what she’s witnessing, she becomes aroused, and gets herself off before realizing she can use this chance to steal supplies to help her escape. Her attempts are foiled when Zach and Jake return early, however, and Zach ties her up, unsure of what to do with her next.

You can figure out what happens from there. Lots of sex. Both men are desperate for a woman, though they have finally admitted to being attracted to each other, too. The three of them fall into bed together fairly easily, with Zach quickly becoming possessive of Honor. But while the publisher calls this a ménage, it is only in the sense that there are threesomes involved. The ending is all about Zach and Honor devoting themselves to each other, with the agreement that if she wants Jake to play with them, he can. Zach makes it very clear that she is his, though, and seems to only agree to the threesomes so he can touch Jake, not to share Honor. In my opinion, this doesn’t make it a ménage. It’s an erotic romance with threesome scenes. Readers expecting an HEA for all three of them will be sorely disappointed.

That might not be the only thing that disappoints them. While the erotic scenes are pretty good, the characters themselves are shallow caricatures, serving as placeholders for the fantasy fulfillment of the plot. It’s hardly anything new. A lot of stories do that for the sake of getting to the sex. Zach comes across as both a caveman in his behavior and a prude in his thoughts, the latter most likely a vague attempt to give him depth as he struggles with what he’s doing (having sex with Jake and moving so quickly with Honor). Honor seems to be the sort of strong heroine that many readers prefer, but honestly, as soon as sex gets involved, she throws a lot of her dreams out the window in favor of lust.

While this is the first in a series, I won’t be bothering with any of the subsequent stories. Threesomes don’t make the entire story a ménage. HEAs are about emotional commitments, and in this case, only two of them do it. I don’t trust the rest of the stories not to try and fool me again.


7/10 – Nothing offensive about it, but there’s nothing special, either


5/10 – A weird dichotomy of caveman behavior with puritanical thinking that never gelled for me


5/10 – Wants to come across as strong, but is just fantasy fulfillment rather than a real character

Entertainment value

4/10 – The erotic scenes aren’t bad, but the story lacks any depth or believability not to mention mislabeled

World building

6/10 – Some of the grittiness of the period, but little to make it memorable



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