vegas bound coverRating: 4 stars
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Length: Novel

 

Cooper is in Vegas for work when he decides to go for a swim at his hotel late one night. When a gorgeous man joins him, Cooper is definitely interested. And when Blake mistakes Cooper for an escort, Cooper is even more intrigued. It sparks a bit of fantasy for him, particularly when it becomes clear that Blake has some hidden desires. The idea of giving this sexy man just what he wants is a total turn on. Cooper has never been into domination and restraints before, but the experience ends up being so scorchingly hot, Cooper would love a repeat. Unfortunately, Blake is gone the next morning without a trace, and while Cooper does his best to track him down, he is never able to find him again.

A year later, Cooper is shocked when Blake shows up at his office as his new manager. The company has a very strict no fraternization policy for its employees, so a relationship is out, but even worse, Blake doesn’t seem to even remember him. The experience is seared in Cooper’s mind, and he can’t help but be resentful that it seemed to mean nothing to Blake. Yet it doesn’t take long to realize the experience left an impression on Blake as well, so much so that the attraction is still simmering between them. When the men finally act on it, things are explosive between them once again.

Cooper never thought he would be into holding his partner down, edging him and driving him crazy, and putting him under his control. And frankly, he isn’t sure he’d be into it with anyone but Blake. But something about their dynamic is just amazing and the sex is off the charts. It’s not just sex, however; the men start to get to know one another and form a real romantic relationship as well. Things are going so well, Cooper would love to be with Blake long term. But with their jobs at risk, it may ruin the chance for a future together.

Vegas Bound is my first book by author Bruce Rose and I was intrigued right away by the blurb. And let me just say, this book is sexy sexy sexy. When the guys first meet, the anonymous nature of the hookup, combined with Blake thinking Cooper is a sex worker, allows them both to let go and take a chance on something new. Blake is big and muscular and his partners usually want him to top and be in control and all Blake wants is to let go and have someone else be in charge. He also loves the idea of being restrained, under someone else’s control, and being taken out of his mind by all the sexual torture. And while Cooper has never really tried any of that, he finds he loves the idea of driving Blake so crazy with need and gets fully on board. There is a lot of sex in this book. A lot. The guys explore bondage and restraints, lots of edging, role play, and the illusion of being forced (this isn’t really rape fantasy, but there is some role play where Cooper suggests Blake is at his mercy and can’t escape). Not to mention that Cooper is the master dirty talker. So if you like a high heat story, and particularly these kinks, this book has a lot to offer.

What I appreciated here is that for all this is intense heat and sexy fantasy, Rose also gives it some balance and just enough realism to make it work. First, Cooper realizes that he knows nothing about kink and that he needs to learn if he is going to be tying Blake up and restraining him, so the pair go to a kink club and talk to some experts for advice. We also learn that Blake is struggling with some family issues and Cooper encourages him to consider therapy to help him work through things (which he does). I also appreciated that while the sex is clearly the star of the show here and a key part of the dynamic between them, we also see these men getting to know one another and building that romantic relationship. They open up to each other about their lives and their pasts, they spend time hiking and camping and just enjoying each other’s company. I appreciated that Cooper encourages Blake to open and up and be honest about what he needs and wants so there is no risk of miscommunication. I was able to believe that these men were really falling for one another, not just hot for each other, and that really gave the story the roundness that it needed.

I think the are few places where things didn’t quite fully develop, however. The “mistakes him for an escort” setup doesn’t really have much impact on the story, other than giving the guys a little more confidence to just go for it on their first night together. I don’t think that is necessarily a negative, just that it seems to be a bigger part of the story than it is from reading the blurb. The conflict with their jobs, however, is set up like it is going to be this big deal, but it never really materializes into anything. We are told at the start employees aren’t allowed to date and we know Blake and Cooper are keeping things a secret between them as a result, but it never really amounts to much throughout the book except for an occasional note that Cooper is having trouble not drooling over Blake at the office. Then things flare up and are resolved almost immediately. Again, not necessarily bad, but the blurb and the initial parts of the story build this as a conflict that never really materializes for most of the book and then is resolved super fast.

My last note is that this story is very focused on Blake and Cooper to pretty much the exclusion of anyone else. The vast majority of the book is them alone together and they barely interact with anyone else aside from a few scenes in the club. They are together about a year by the end of the book, and we never see them talk to or even mention any friends. There are a couple of brief, cursory exchanges with co-workers, but we don’t really see either of them interacting with anyone at work either. I didn’t notice it while reading, I just realized it when thinking back. I think this is why the work conflict feels like a non-issue, since we never really see the impact of them hiding or even the men really talking to anyone else for the majority of the book.

Overall, I really enjoyed this story. I appreciate a good high heat book now and then and this one definitely delivers. But I also really liked that Rose takes the time to build a real connection between Blake and Cooper and to give some real world balance to the fantasy side of things. We get a hint that there may be another story coming featuring a character that pops up briefly here, and I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more of the author’s work.

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