chemical bondsRating: 4 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | All Romance | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

It’s just Max Allenby’s luck that it’s pouring rain and his bike tire got a puncture he had to fix, so he’s late for work. His boss is going to be miserable, worse than she usually is, and Max is desperate to get into his lab as quickly as possible. But in his attempt to save time, he runs into the bumper of a car — the car carrying the CEO of the company, Blake Winters. Max is mortified, but Blake helps him up and cleans his scrapes. Max has had a crush on the boss since he started working there two years before, and makes his escape as soon as he can. He doesn’t want Blake to see how much he wants him. But what he doesn’t know is that Blake has an interest in him too.

Blake noticed Max the moment he started working there, but he’s been biding his time, unsure if the man is interested in him. Blake is a lifestyle Dom, and he craves a certain kind of partner. He thinks Max is exactly what he’s looking for, but he doesn’t want to push too fast. When opportunity presents itself, Blake proposes an experiment: Max gives Blake three hours for five nights of his total submission. Max, ever the scientist, agrees to the experiment.

Max has long been interested in submission, but he’s never acted on it. He doesn’t have much experience period, always too busy with school and then his job. With Blake he finds exactly what he desires, though he questions his desires more than once. But the connection between them is strong, and if only they can both let themselves be what the other needs, they can find something real and lasting between them.

I really liked this fairly low angst tale of a young man finding himself and his submission. While there were a few spots that were a little off the mark for me, overall, I enjoyed the story. Somerton has given two characters who really captured my interest and kept me engaged and wanting to know their story. While the plot is not without its small issues, this book is an enjoyable read.

Max is an endearing guy, a little absent minded professor, and he was a perfect character to start this book off. Immediately I liked him and saw his potential. He’s sweet, but he also has a backbone underneath. I liked that the author managed to balance him so well. There were areas of his life where he was insecure, others where he was confident, and that worked so well for his characterization. I liked how he felt like a natural sub, and that his education to BDSM felt well paced and real. This was one of the aspects that I was looking forward to seeing, how the author dealt with a man who knew of the lifestyle and wanted to submit, but had no experience with it at all. I thought his initial internal conflict was well done and felt believable.

Blake, on the other hand, was dominant to a T. He’s the quintessential alpha male. He’s not only confident, he is in control. Always. He’s also a thirty-year-old multimillionaire with a flourishing company he built from the ground up in nine years, so I had to jump into the fantasy of that and just accept it as is. I have to admit that Blake is the kind of character that often appeals to me. He knows what he wants, he goes after it, and he doesn’t back down. While I liked him, and I especially liked the balance he had between dominance and caretaking when it came to Max, I found him a little two dimensional at times. I wanted to see more from him. More emotion or more growth, something. He was great on the surface, but there were scenes where I felt he lacked a little depth.

So I really liked the two MCs, and found the secondary characters to be fairly well done as well. If the “villain” was a little bit of a caricature, it actually worked. Everyone on page added to the plot, and fleshed it out. But the plot itself had a few issues. The biggest one for me was the missing connection between the Max and Blake. These two guys definitely had chemistry and worked well together. However, to me it felt like it never got past the surface. They were just beginning to get each other, and spend time with one another, when all of a sudden they were declaring their love. I didn’t feel it. I needed more from them, something more significant, before I could believe they were in love and would be together forever. They were definitely headed that way, but I just couldn’t make that leap with them. It felt like the declarations happened because they were supposed, not because the characters had actually gotten to that deeper feeling.

It was the same for Max’s protests and second guessing of his wants and desires. At first, it was well done and exactly what should happen as he was learning about himself and his needs. But then when it happened again and again, it felt almost like token protests, like it was what he should be doing, only to be quickly assuaged by Blake. If this had been played up more, drawn out and examined, it would have made more sense and been more believable as it continued on. But because it was so quickly dealt with and over, I found myself wondering why those short scenes were there at all.

I also want to make quick mention of one more thing, and I will preface it by saying that it’s a peeve of mine and other readers may not find it as irritating. This story was set in a small town in New Hampshire, but the characters sounded very British. Phrases and words that Americans do not use pepper the book, and every time I came across one it yanked me out of the story. I couldn’t see any particular reason the story was set in New Hampshire; it could have just as easily been set in the UK. Had the characters been English, it would have added a bit of color and added to the overall immersive feel of the story. As it was, the language detracted from the story because it was a constant reminder of the inconsistency. Again, this may not bother you, but for me, the language should reflect the country in which the story takes place.

But though I had a few issues with the story, I did find myself enjoying it. Max is endearing, and he and Blake fit together well. The BDSM aspect was handled with care, and added to the overall experience. If you’re looking for a light angst story with internal conflict and some well done D/s scenes, then I can suggest picking this one up.

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