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Bound By Honor (Men of Honor #1) - S.E. Jakes Without much fanfare Bound By Honor arrived in my mailbox for review yet I found out it had quite a story to tell! It is a story of strong male characters who have a history which left me with a lump in my throat. It is a story of rich emotions where each male appealed to me in a different way. It is also a story where the supportive character almost took the spotlight…almost. For Damon and Tanner hold their own as they embark on a journey together. It encompasses sensual pleasure and emotional pain, along with strength of the soul and vulnerability of the heart.

It all started with Tanners promise to a dying Jesse he will go to his partner Damon after one year and do a D/s scene with him. It is with that very request that Tanner and Damon face each other for the very first time. As they were standing across from each other in one room, both dealing with a multitude of emotions, I got my first taste of the wonderful dramatic tension S.E. Jakes can deliver. In different ways both men were so deeply affected by Jesse’s death that the moment just made me fall for them. Here you have two commanding men yet their emotional turmoil just screamed off the pages.

Damon Price is ex delta Force with a rough and tough past. He is a co-owner of a BDSM club called CRAVE and a Dom. First and foremost I initially saw a man grieving over the loss of his submissive. A man in such emotional conflict with himself he makes mistakes. Gradually his actions, his personality traits made more sense to me as his backstory unfolds. I really fell for Damon the man but not all that much for Damon the Dom. The thing I love most about D/s is the psychological interaction between a Dom and his submissive which heightens the overall eroticism. I like being in the minds on both sides to get that emotional impact of a scene. What I found in Bound By Honor is definitely a fiery sexual chemistry but not necessarily an intricate D/s one. I felt the D/s was on the lighter side and had a different function, especially for Damon which made sense as his past is slowly revealed.

Both men came with issues and Tanner James has hidden desires to deal with. He always considered him a natural top but one scene going terribly wrong and Tanner gets a fierce wake up call. Damon uncoveres all of Tanner's most deepest and darkest desires for him to understand and acknowledge. The difficulty lies in the fact Tanner never thought to have submissive desires. His mind is struggling but his body knows exactly what it wants. His whole sexual identity is shaken up and brings inner conflict full of doubts, fears and new found pleasure. This welter of feelings is written all over Tanner’s inner dialogues and mannerism. In doing so S.E. Jakes deepens the character development to where I truly get to understand Tanner.

I got the notion the plot was used as a tool to reveal more of Damon and LC’s past. It was very interesting at first with the attacker and it incorporated a theme I don’t encounter much. While the set up captured my interest the plot was quickly abandoned to pop up in the last chapters. So the subtle suspense was quickly lost which could’ve been a great asset to the story. S.E. Jakes really focused the story on the emotional development and in this she sure as hell delivered. Because next to two stunning men, delivering a battle of wills and scorching passion, there was another man who irrevocably drew my attention. This was LC.

It was a good thing LC had enough appearance in the story to be a fantastic supportive character but not enough to draw away the attention from Damon and Tanner. Each time that man opened his mouth I was all focus on what he was saying. When certain aspects of his past came up my heart was bleeding for him. The verbal sparring he had with detective Paulo McMannus set my blood on fire and all I wanted was more. So you can guess my glee when I found out book #2 in this series entails LC’s story!

From the get-go the magnetism between Damon and Tanner hummed with an overload of conflicting raw emotions which I couldn't wait to unravel. The D/s element may not have been completely satisfying to my own preferences. The plot may not have added a nail biting suspense but S.E. Jakes delivered a few fantastic and distinctive characters and an intense romance. I am more than ready for more!

3.5 stars

Quotes for you to sample;

1: LC stared at him, and Tanner, in turn, stared at the floor for a long moment. And then he opened the door and realized he’d been anything but prepared for Damon Price. Tanner was big and broad and strong, stood six foot three and turned heads wherever he went. But Damon—he was well over six foot five, with jet black hair and chiseled features. He stood, hands at his sides in a deceptively casual stance, dressed in full black leather and looking like a fucking badass.

2: “I’m not good for anyone right now,” LC started.
“Yeah, see, that kind of line will only make the boys fall harder for you, trying to prove you wrong.”
“Are you one of those boys?”
“I happen to be, yes. And I’ll try as hard as I need to, because the thought of having you in one of those rooms…that’s part of my nightly jack-off fantasy.” Paulo had the nerve not to blush and LC felt his cheeks heat. Dammit. “You’re getting shy with me now?”
Would Paulo tell him the fantasy if he didn’t tell him to stop? Did LC really want to hear it?

3: Paulo fingered the edge of the gun that stuck out of LC’s side. “Pushing me away as hard as you can because you’re scared.”
LC laughed a little. “You’re wrong about that.”
“You’re trying to forget someone and not succeeding.” Paulo pressed both his words and his body against LC. “No, that’s not true. You’re scared you were succeeding. Because in my apartment, you came more times than I care to count and not once did I hear you calling out anyone else’s name but mine.”
Paulo’s eyes glittered—half anger, half lust and all determination.