Bonds of Courage

Bonds of Courage - Lynda Aicher
** 2,5 frustrating stars **


-----------spoilery review ---------------------

You are here by warned!


This book is a part of the series Wicked Play, but I read it as a standalone. I had no problem with that, but the characters from the series appear in this book, so if you've read the other books you'll recognize them, but I don't think it's necessary to have read them for reading this.


I mainly read MM romance, because the women in most MF books often annoyed the heck out of me. I do occasionally dip my toe into the MF pool, though. This time I wanted to try out a book with female Domme. I like bdsm books. And it's not all about the toys and leather either. I like the mind space it portrays, I like the eroticism that comes with it, I like the courage, both the Dom/Domme and the Sub have, I like them owning their kink and act on it. I also like that women can and have dominant features and men have submissive features. I think it's hot as hell. 




That's to say, I like good bdsm books. And good Doms/Dommes. Sadly, that was not the case in this book.


WHY is it so frikking difficult to portray a good female dominant? WHY does the Domme have to have a bad event in her past which "made" made her a Domme just to have control and to avoid getting hurt. WHY can't a woman just be a Domme, who likes to dominate and get off on it? Pure, and simple. Have you ever read about a male Dom who became a Dom because of past events? Became a Dom out of necessity? No? Me netither. The male Doms just are dominant or just like to dominate and be in control. WHY doesn't that apply to women too, eh? Oh, no, they're more often than not portrayed as "ice queens". The "weak" female with a protective "ice shield" for her feelings, who became a Domme by necessity who needs "saving" by the big strong male submissive. Just like the MC in this book. Arg, it annoys me so much! 


Not only is she a Domme out of necessity, she's also a bad one. The first thing that pissed me off was that after she had had Holden, the male submissive and other MC in the story, in leather cuffs in a light scene where she wanted to test if he truly was submissive or just janking her chain so to speak.




-----------------

"Look." He reached his hands out, but the cuffs halted his movement with a jerk. "Damn it." He glared at the restraints before looking backto her. "Can we talk about this? I fucked up. I get that." He wet his lips. "But..but I want this."

She studied him, refusing to let his gruff charm sway her. "I'm sure you do. But I don't." She opened the door, the cooler air from the hallway wafting in. "Seth will bring your shirt." She nodded towards his cuffs. "You can get yourself out of those is you want to badly enough."

With that she left the room, the door clicking closed with a finality she took to heart.

-----------------




I mean, what the heck? They just had a scene and she, the Domme, leaves her cuffed submissive alone in the play room, without removing them herself? Okay, so they were leather cuffs with Velcro on them, so he really could get out of them himself, but that's beside the point. She, the dominant, has a responsibility to take care of her submissive from the start of the scene to the end. I get that she was pissed because Holden mislead her, but that doesn't excuse her leaving the sub with his cuffs still on. 


What was worse, though, was later in the story, after having done a heavy spanking scene at her house, in her play room, Holden is floating happily in his subspace, but is coming down. She manages to do another inexcusably wrong Domme/Dom move.




-----------------

She handed him the tube of cream she'd placed by the water. "Rub this into your bottom. It'll lessen the bruising. It shouldn't be bad, but there will most likely be some. You can stay here for as long as you need. Be careful when you stand, and drink plenty of water. You can show yourself out whn you're ready." She spun away, the heels clicking her departure in a steady cadence that rang hollow in the room.

"Wait."

She ignored him until she was at the door, gripping the handle too tightly. Her job was done. Her duty as his Mistress was complete. The open confusion that marred his brow when she turned around stole the contentment from his face and blared her failure He wanted more from her, expected more after the intensity of their Scene, but she couldn't give it to him.

His mouth worked. A flash of anger passed before his head sagged, the defeat worse than any words he could've said. After a moment he looked to her, his expression blank. "Thank you, Mistress." 

The words contained the lilt of respect she expected as a Mistress. But in that instance, the complete lack of scorn in his tone scuffed over her raw heart to expose her lies to herself.

------------------


I can't believe she actually left her submissive AGAIN! With out taking proper care of him, without giving him aftercare, without making absolutely sure he was alright and coming down from his subspace. Just.. *appalled*


But, all that being said, it wasn't ALL bad. Holden was a great character and I admired his tenacity, of not giving up. He was a really great guy and a great submissive. Too bad Vanessa sucked, mostly. Their described scene was really good, though, written from both POV. Holden was really hot as a submissive. He knew it, he liked it, he wanted it.



~Holden, the pro hockey player and male submissive~

----------------------

"Six more," she said, her breath fluttering over the damp skin on Holden's neck. He'd never been so aware of every part of his body. From the smallest space between his toes to the line of sweat that dripped off his shoulder to the raging hard-on dangling between his legs. And his ass, his hot, aching ass that burned with the sting of his Mistress's paddle.

The pain at once hard and glorious. The pain was so very different from the hits and aches he endured from hockey. He was no stranger to hurting, but this was more. This was what he sought. Pleasure, pain and surrender from everything.

"Yes, Mistress."
----------------------




Holden really managed to keep the story going for me, their scenes were hot and Vanessa did a good job as a Domme in them. Their romance was also sweet. There were also a great number of interesting secondary characters. So over all it wasn't completely bad. The low rating reflects the bad Domme plot for me. At the same time, I can see why others might rate it higher. I've read several reviews before writing mine, and I really can understand a higher rating. It was just the bad Domme trope that ruined it for me. I was once again disappointed by an MF book and a Domme book. 






Reading updates:

1%
Mmmmm, a hockey player, eh?



12%
"You can get out of those if you want to badly enough."

Wtf, woman? What kind of Domme are you, you can't leave him with his cuffs on. :-O



30%
Heads up! Mention of girly parts... ;)

The text during lunch was perfectly timed to the point that he actually scanned the pub to be certain she wasn't there.
"How's lunch."
He glanced at the Walters and answered.
"Good. Yours?"
He was chewing another bite of his hamburger when her text came back.
"Dinner will be better. You'll be eating me."
The burger lodge in his throat when he inhaled. Fuck. The harsh round of coughing that followed burned his chest and warmed his face.
"You okay, man?"
Holden looked through watery eyes at his teammate and nodded.
(...)
"Interesting text?" Walters asked, his chin bobbing to indicate Holden's phone clutched in his hand. Holden gave a noncommittal grunt, took another drink and sent back his response before stowing his phone(...)

"If it pleases you."


Crikey! I'm not used to reading this MF stuff anymore. :D



37%
"Six more," she said, her breath fluttering over the damp skin on Holden's neck. He'd never been so aware of every part of his body. From the smallest space between his toes to the line of sweat that dripped off his shoulder to the raging hard-on dangling between his legs. And his ass, his hot, aching ass that burned with the sting of his Mistress's paddle.
The pain at once hard and glorious. The pain was so very different from the hits and aches he endured from hockey. He was no stranger to hurting, but this was more. This was what he sought. Pleasure, pain and surrender from everything.
"Yes, Mistress,"


God, Holden is so hot.




39%
"You can stay here for as long as you need. Be careful when you stand, and drink plenty of water. You can show yourself out when you're ready."

Are you leaving again?! Get back there and take care of your sub, ferchristsake! *frustrated*



42%
Oh no... please don't tell me your only a Domme because something bad happened to you. Why can't you just be a woman who likes to dominate instead of acting like one out of necessity, if that's what you're doing. Please don't let me down.



57%
"I'm you're boy, huh?" He hovered above her, his face inches from her own. His bangs fell over his brow in a rakish mess that matched the mischief in his eyes."
"Yes," she insisted that was impossible to catch.
"Why doesn't that bother me?" His chest heaved in an accelerated pace that matched hers. She stared up at him (...)
"Because you like being my boy," she answered fully. His eyes darkened and he lowered his elbows, pinning her beneath him.
"I do", he whispered, his breath brushing over her cheek as he nuzzled her ear. "Very much."
His admission flipped everything inside her. Her stomach tightened, along with her chest and all the stuff in between. “But you’re right.” Her soft reply contained that honesty he seemed to pull from her. “You’re not a boy.”
“Then what am I?”
Her small smile felt so fragile. She reached up to press her fingers to his lips. “A very impressive man and my beautiful submissive.” She caught a flash of pride and fierce possessiveness on his face before his mouth crushed to hers.


I really like Holden. :)



70%
That sentiment slipped just a little when he found the enema box on the bathroom counter with a stack of old towels. Fucking hell. That could mean only one thing. Something was going up his ass tonight. Damn. Another test? A challenge to see if he’d bail? Or was it honestly something she thought he’d enjoy? He squirmed, ass clenching at the thought. Was it in desire or revulsion? Anal play wasn't on his hard limit list, so he should either added it quickly or get the fuck moving with the task. After closing the door, he read the directions, none of which sounded remotely enjoyable. He glanced at the hook conveniently placed on the wall next to the toilet then back at the box. Shit. Literally. He snorted, blew out a breath and opened the box.

Kudos to author ;)



100%
Holden was wonderful. Vanessa, not so much.