Rating: 4.5 stars
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Keith Masters and Johnny Lou Reed are surprised when a man shows up at their door in the midst of a fierce Christmas Eve storm, beaten, bruised, and half dead from hypothermia. But not totally surprised, as Reed himself appeared at the same house years before under similar circumstances. Keith and Reed’s first instinct is to immediately take care of the man, who they can tell right away is military. Somehow they know that reporting it to the police or the hospital is a bad idea. Yet when they can find no record of Shane through their extensive military contacts, they know something bigger is going on.
Although Shane is clearly still keeping some secrets, he eventually reveals that he is being hunted by the man who killed his lover and who now wants to kill Shane to keep him quiet. But Keith and Reed are both ex-military men themselves, part of elite special forces, and neither one backs down easily. They are determined to give Shane time to rest and recuperate and keep him safe in the meantime. Shane doesn’t only bring out their protective sides, though. He interests them both sexually and romantically too. After their third partner, Bobby, died a year before, neither man thought they would ever find another third. But Shane turns out to be perfect for them, with both a bit of a submissive side as well as a more dominant one that makes him a great match for the two men. But these guys all have secrets and past baggage that still haunt them, Shane especially. And with Guthrie still on his tail, Shane must choose whether to keep running, or to fight for the home he is building with Keith and Reed.
Bound for Keeps is the fifth book in Jakes’ Men of Honor series, and the first one I have read. I was eager to pick it up after I greatly enjoyed her recent Free Falling, and this book definitely did not disappoint. First off, I really liked the set up with just a hint of the magical. The home where Keith and Reed live has a history of being mistaken for an inn. But there is no record that it ever was. Yet travelers often appear seeking refuge, and Reed himself was one of them, also showing up on Christmas Eve eight years before. So although this story isn’t really holiday focused, we get that tiny bit of magic here that brings travelers to safety within the walls of this home.
When Shane appears, Keith and Reed are just beginning to move on from the loss of their lover Bobby. Shane’s appearance brings such parallels to that relationship, and the guys feel an almost instant connection with him. They are very protective over Shane, but at the same time wary. They know he is trouble, and are not yet ready to risk their lives and their safety. But over time, the men find themselves falling for Shane, who seems to work perfectly in their relationship. Reed is the first to recognize how good Shane could be with them. Having a similar past makes him more open to the idea of bringing Shane into their lives. Keith is more wary, but ultimately finds that Shane is a perfect match for them, completing their relationship in a new way. At first Shane holds himself back. Though he is immediately attracted to Reed and Keith, he is worried about risking their safety and plans to leave as soon as he is able. He has never considered a threesome partnership, and he is still mourning the loss of his lover Kyle. But over time he comes to realize that he fits so well with Reed and Keith, that he has finally found a home, and that he is willing to do anything to protect his new life.
Once these guys finally accept that they are meant to be, they have a really interesting relationship dynamic. They are hot and sexy with a little D/S element. Keith and Bobby were much more dominant, with Reed needing a more submissive role. When Shane enters the relationship, they find he is a bit more dominant, but also manages to balance out both Keith and Reed. There is a lot of sex in this book, much of it very hot, and I think it works well here as their sexual dynamic really relates directly to their interpersonal one as well.
My only real hurdle with this book is that there are a lot of different players and relationships to manage. Keith, Shane, and Reed are the primary romantic focus of the story, and this is really their tale of falling in love and building a relationship. But we also get varying levels of exposure to a host of other combinations — Keith and Bobby; Keith, Bobby, and Reed; Keith and Shane; Reed and Keith; Shane and Kyle … With five men involved in many different combinations, I found at times it was hard to keep track of everyone and things occasionally felt a bit muddled. I am actually not sure if it is helped or exacerbated by the fact that about 95% of the story takes place in the cabin in the woods. These guys are snowed in and Shane is recovering, so although Reed and Keith occasionally leave for missions, virtually the entire book takes place in one setting.
As I mentioned, this book is part of the Men of Honor series, which I have not read, but I had no trouble keeping up with the story. If there were characters or plot points that related to other books, I didn’t not notice them. So I think you can pick this up as a standalone quite easily. Interestingly, we do get an appearance from Prophet, who we also see in Free Falling (as well as a quick cameo by Mick), though the books are unrelated. Prophet is the handler for Keith and Reed who are now mercenaries doing rescue missions and other jobs that the government can’t take on. Prophet will also be starring in his own series coming this spring.
So overall I really liked this one. I loved the relationship dynamics that Jakes’ explores here and found these guys really likable and super sexy together. I find myself really enjoying this author’s writing and I am eager to go back and read the earlier books in this series, as well as really anticipating her upcoming books. There are a lot of things happening here –menage, light BDSM, suspense, romance — and I think Jakes does a great job balancing them all into a really enjoyable story. So I liked this one quite a lot and definitely recommend it.
These are all the books in the series in order: