Bound by Lorelei James (The Mastered Series #1)

Bound by Lorelei JamesAvailable: February 4, 2014 Amazon/B&N

Type: Erotic Romance

Publisher: NAL

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Nikki

Former small-town girl Amery Hardwick is living her dream as a graphic designer in Denver, Colorado. She’s focused on building her business, which leaves little time for dating—not that she needs a romantic entanglement to fulfill her. When her friend signs up for a self-defense class as part of her recovery after an attack, Amery joins her for support. That’s where she meets him.

Ronin Black, owner of the dojo, is so drawn to Amery that he takes over her training—in public and in private. The enigmatic Ronin pushes Amery’s boundaries from the start, and with each new tryst, Amery becomes addicted to the pleasure and to him. But when Amery senses Ronin is hiding something, she questions her total trust in him, despite the undeniable thrill of his possession….

Wow. Just wow. I was absolutely enthralled with Bound from the first sentence to the very last! Ronin Black is one of the most compelling, enigmatic heroes I’ve read to date. As a sensei  of his own dojo, Ronin is lethally trained and naturally in charge but the minute Amery throws her pants at him in a fit of defiance, she can sense his need for her. They enter a sketchy, sex filled relationship that slowly evolves into an all consuming need to have each other in their lives. Though Amery gives herself over completely to Ronin’s masterful skills in the bedroom she fights him about his need for control out side of it. As a self assured woman who owns her own graphics business, Amery is not a heroine who is needy in any way. She learns to navigate his emotions but can’t seem to get him to open up. He’s secretive at the best of times and an utter loner at the worst. He hoards favors  from high class people and wields power with the elite. He NEVER tells her what he does when he’s not at the dojo or with her even when the evidence of brutality lingers on his face. When a secret passion of his comes to light Amery runs scared but how far can she run from a man who seems to have connections everywhere?

Goodness I enjoyed this book. Ronin and Amery smolder each time they are together. From Amery’s first snarky streak of disobedience I knew these two were going to scorch the pages with their presence. James has two characters that look differently until you peel away the layers and find out they are quite the same on many levels. Ronin’s Asian and western heritage makes him exotic yet tall. His diligence to his training makes him drop dead mouth watering. He’s the perfect package on the outside, yet Amery wants the inside too. Something Ronin isn’t sure he’s prepared to give. His solitude is extremely important to him and letting people into his life isn’t something he does lightly…or ever. I thought Amery’s every attempt to break his walls was valiant even if he did side step those attempts. I liked his mysterious life and thought it made the novel move a long quicker as Amery navigated around the stories that seemed gravitate around him. I also learned a whole lot about Japanese, intricate, erotic rope bondage. Very sexy and different than the regular bondage that runs prevalent in romance books these days.

Amery spends a good chunk of the book coming to terms with her sexuality and what she wants. Being raised in a very religious household meant denying who she was for so long. Now on her own, and facing Ronin’s sexual proclivity Amery is learning what she needs as well. Even being out of her childhood home she’s retained some sense of modesty and letting go of her inhibitions is hard for her to embrace. Ronin is slowly stripping her and getting her to acknowledge her own needs.  Who she is becoming bleeds into all aspects of her life, radiating out from her sexuality to include changes in her personality as well. Something her best friends have problems with.

I need to expand on Amery’s horrible friends too. For real..her friends are heinous bitches. If I was her I would have cut them out of my life long ago. A lesbian and a gay guy, her two closest friends react badly to Ronin being in her life. Both of them used to Amery going along meekly with whatever they wanted to do, the emergence of her spine seemed to upset them. Shocking that the one straight friend wouldn’t want to hang at gay clubs constantly….completely shocking.  Then for them to gang up on her or accuse her of being distant with them while she’s finding happiness…GAH….I would punch them in the face. AND…(can you tell I’m fired up about this part) for her one friend to pass along information she got from Amery’s ex…who I’m sure is looking out for her best interests right….was just stupid.  Even when they both apologize…after several occasions…I’d still not want them back in my life. Poor Amery…seriously.

Book two is coming in March 2014 so that’s not long to wait to finish this story. In light of the ending of this one, I’m betting most readers will be chomping at the bit for the next part. 🙂 Not a horrible cliffhanger but enough for me to really want to have book two in my hands as I’m writing this. It will be wrote mainly from Ronin’s POV which I am totally looking forward to. His secrets will finally be laid bare and Amery will have to decide if the allure and love she feels are enough to forgive him for his secrets and intrusion in her life in places he didn’t need to be.


I give Bound by Lorelei James 4.50 stars!

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