Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
One year ago, Tanner James made a promise to his dying friend, Jesse, and tonight he intends to fulfill it, as difficult as it may be. Tanner and Jesse were Army Rangers together and when a mission went wrong, Tanner was unable to save Jesse’s life. And before he died, Jesse extracted a promise that in a year Tanner would find Jesse’s boyfriend Damon and act as Damon’s sub for a night. Jesse was convinced that this is what both men would really need, and now Tanner is reluctantly carrying out Jesse’s wishes.
Damon Price is barely over his mourning and still feeling guilt for the way things ended with Jesse. When Tanner shows up at Crave, Damon’s BDSM club, Damon is angry and resentful and handles the situation all kinds of wrong. Determined to make it up to Tanner, Damon tries again to give him what Jesse thought Tanner needs, in fact what Damon can see Tanner needs as well. Though Tanner is convinced he is a top, it is clearly not the case and the man craves a loss of control. And slowly Damon is able to give that to him as the men begin to build a tentative relationship. But Tanner’s career is still in the Army and Damon is not sure that he can go through that kind of loss again. And secrets from Damon’s past continue to haunt him, making him unsure about a relationship and pushing Tanner away. Though the men have finally found what they need with each other, they must seize on their chance to be together rather than running from their potential happiness.
This is the first book in Jakes’ Men of Honor series (though not the first one I’ve read, which I will explain later) and it really does a nice job laying the foundation for this series. These are books full of strong alpha men, cops and soldiers and mercenaries, will lots of intensity and power. But as this book shows, there are often far more layers to these guys than are originally apparent. Here I think Jakes does a great job with Tanner and Damon. Tanner is strong and a fighter and incredibly tough, but he is haunted by his failure to save Jesse, which is why he reluctantly agrees to Jesse’s request that he sub for Damon. Tanner sees himself as only a top, as too strong for submission, but he has never really felt comfortable or satisfied either. With Damon, Tanner learns to let go and to open his mind and accept what he really wants. And Damon helps to build Tanner back up and regain the inner strength and confidence he had been missing since Jesse’s death.
Damon himself is even more layered, still dealing with guilt and mourning for Jesse. His heart is still broken by the loss, but at the same time he feels guilt for the way their relationship ended, for knowing that he couldn’t be the man Jesse really needed. Damon spent many years in the BDSM scene, running a club and acting as a Dom to Jesse. But that life isn’t a draw for him anymore, and although he still is the dominant one in the pairing, he and Tanner are not really in a Dom/sub relationship. Damon also has demons from his past that come crashing back into his life, making him unsettled and unsure of himself (and adding a kick of suspense to the plot). I loved the way we see that Tanner can provide that same strength and sense of security for Damon as Damon does for him. It was nice to see how multi-layed their relationship is and how complex. I enjoyed seeing these guys grow from their troubled start to people who could really count on one another.
As I mentioned, we have reviewed this series all out of order. Crissy started with Bound by Danger (#4), then I read Bound for Keeps (#5), then I went back to Bound by Law (#2) on a day I was looking for a good juicy menage. So yes, my OCD is screaming at me here as I went back to the start to try and fill in the gaps. As I mentioned in my review for Bound by Law, these first two books are really closely linked and definitely should be read in order. Bound by Honor sets up a lot of the story for the second book, and in fact many key events for that book get their start here. So for sure if you are interested in the series, read at least books 1 and 2 in order. The others might stand alone better (I had no trouble starting with book #5) but really I’d recommend all of them as I have enjoyed each one.
This book is pretty heavy on the sex end (as is most of the series) and these guys are super hot together. There are times when I thought they were resolving a lot of issues with sex, but seeing as this is what brought them together, it sort of makes sense. I also think there could have been some tightening up plot wise as there is a bit of sag in the middle. One other thing I’ll point out is that in addition to the two MCs, we also get some other POVs here. Having read the second book, I totally got why this is the case, as these characters are featured in that story and they are setting things up here. So it didn’t bother me, knowing what was coming, but some might find this a bit distracting coming in cold.
So an excellent start to this great series and I am so glad I went back and read it. I am now off to read the third book and then we will be all caught up and eagerly awaiting the next installment.
These are all the books in the series in order: