As a public defender, Daniel stays within the lines of the law. He’s good for a hook-up and his married co-worker and best friend, Jesse, loves to hear all the dirty details. But Daniel definitely doesn’t feel like talking when his hook-up from the previous night, Rafael, is his next defendant. Daniel knows he now has to keep things strictly professional, but while he’s always been in charge in the bedroom, the dominance that Rafael exudes has Daniel craving the man’s touch.
Rafael is a paid dominant and trouble keeps finding him of late since he ended his professional relationship with a cop who is now set on retaliation. He doesn’t do emotional relationships, but Daniel’s brand of submission has gotten under his skin and so has the man himself. Daniel has never been the submissive type, but now he wants it all with Rafael, if only he can keep the heat off of him and the man out of jail.
Legally Bound is the first book in J.R. Gray’s Bound series and from what I can tell it was also Gray’s debut novel. Having read and enjoyed the author’s more recent work, it was interesting to go back and visit the author’s early style.
This book centers mostly around Daniel and Rafael with a strong side of Jesse, Daniel’s work partner, and George, Rafael’s boss and Dominant extraordinaire. There are side stories involving both Jesse and George and there is so much more to uncover there.
The set up here is classic with Daniel rolling into work and seeing his hook up looking at him from the wrong side of the law. There is mounting evidence against Rafael and Daniel has to decide what’s real and what’s a set up. He knows he should stay away from Rafael for several reasons, but after one night he craves the dominance that Rafael so effortlessly has over him.
We don’t get a lot of background on either man and there is not a lot of insight into the relationship between Daniel and Rafael other than the very real attraction between the men. They have no problem with the physical side of their relationship and both men want Daniel to train as Rafael’s submissive, but there wasn’t a lot of insight given into them falling in love with each other beyond that. With dirty cops on their trail, the men don’t have a lot of time to develop a relationship outside of the bedroom. There is a bit of literary whiplash going on with the men being together and then with one word one of them is ending the relationship only to have the cycle repeat itself.
The case against Rafael was definitely interesting. The good guys don’t always get the upper hand and there was a breath holding scene of that playing out. The end of the case wrapped up, but then it didn’t have the same intensity and impact as the case itself.
What was most difficult about this book for me was the abundance of descriptors used for the characters throughout the entire book. For instance, Daniel is described by so many terms such as, the lawyer, attorney, male, man, guy, lover, (many of which are used by Rafael himself) and this is constant throughout the entire book relating to each character. It then sounded like the same characters were continually being introduced; it kept the characters at a distance, and became tedious to wade through all of the descriptions to get to the story.
I have read Gray’s more recent work and have been able to see the author’s style become more seasoned. I definitely liked the characters presented here, the story that was being told, and there were moments and scenes that were well done. There are many more stories left to tell for Daniel, Rafael, George, Jesse (and his stereotypical wife) and with three more books in the series already published, my interest is most certainly piqued.