Ronin Black knows he has a steep hill in front of him. Hell, it’s actually a mountain. After screwing up the best thing in his life in Bound, the first book in this duet, and losing Amery, it’s now up to Ronin to rebuild the trust he so effortlessly damaged with his secrets and unwillingness to let her into his life. When his calls and texts go unanswered, the man has to relieve his guilt and pain somehow.
And he eventually ends up at Amery’s door after allowing himself to be beaten in a professional fight. That’s the only way to keep the emotion at bay. But when Amery realizes what he’s done, when she’s near him once again, forgiveness is already on its way, though she does make him work a bit for it. At least they’re back in each other’s lives, talking and working on the relationship. For a little while anyway. Ronin finds it quite difficult to keep the lines of communication open, even after the disaster he caused the first time around.
Having to take a less active role in his dojo, Ronin begins to expand his business by merging with another local school and creating Black and Blue Promotions. He’s not totally happy with the situation, but the doctors are adamant about him staying out of the ring. Amery is also moving along in her business, taking on Ronin’s family business despite all the upheaval they’ve been through. So while their work lives are in smooth waters, there’s choppiness and waves keeping them off kilter in private. But they’re trying, and that’s a plus where Ronin is concerned. He opens up more and more, sometimes under duress, but he’s learning life has to be a two-way street now.
I like the art and culture part of Ronin’s bondage/rope tying. This aspect is never overdone with the pain and submissiveness generally read in other books. You’ll definitely not get that here. It’s so much more. As well as Ms. James describes Ronin’s final masterpieces he ties, I’d love to actually see it. It sounds absolutely beautiful. Amery uses some of the photos they take in her work, and you can just see the wheels would have turned in Ms. James’ head as that concept came about during the writing process. Brilliantly done. The secondary characters are quite wonderful. I love Shiori, Ronin’s sister. He gets a few surprises from her as the story goes along, which leads him to the familial relationships he hasn’t had in some time. Amery, on the other hand, has the parents from hell, though they think they’re much better than that and everyone else around. There’s a lot of emotion in those scenes when she sees exactly what Ronin’s previous relationship was like and how manipulative his ex was and is.
Of course, the love scenes are definitely that now, love scenes – not just sex. These two have a chemistry that goes beyond the physical but also causes the need for the physical during high emotion and/or adrenaline, good or bad. And with Ronin and Amery that’s quite a bit. You feel their need. Their desire. Their love. The fact that Ronin is the first to realize the depths of his feelings is a turnabout I didn’t expect. It should have been more difficult with all of his baggage, but the man surprises me at every turn, just like he surprises Amery. They know just what the other needs when they need it, like Amery’s challenge to Ronin at just the right time to pull him back from the edge. There’s also a lot of fun to be had between them.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story arc. Lorelei James always brings something unique and exciting to her readers. Her characters draw you into their lives before you know it and you’re invested to the point you can’t put the book down. Twists and turns, surprises and fun, love and heartache await for those who are looking for a real and emotional read. There’s very few who can do it better than Lorelei James.
…a man’s need for control is tested by the one woman he’ll risk everything for…
When sensei Ronin Black first encounters Amery Hardwick, the fire in her eyes ignites a sexual spark a thousand times better than the primal rush he used to get from mixed martial arts matches. She accepts his darker edges and admits to him that her desires aren’t as wholesome as he believed. And before long Ronin is grappling with emotions he’s never felt before…
Yet despite demanding Amery bare her body and soul to him, Ronin holds a part of himself back. When she learns Ronin’s secret and walks out, his life begins to unravel. To regain her trust he must let go of his pride and prove to her that it’s more than passion binding them together. But after their private pleasures are made public, Ronin is unsure if he’s the right man for Amery. Can they face the consequences together? Or will their differences rip them apart…
Read an excerpt.
Other books in this series: