Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “I might never understand how I got here, why I needed the things I did, how I was bound to him, but I never ever wanted to leave.”
Jolene Whitman has recently moved to Boston from a small town in Vermont at the behest of her best friend. Determined to shed her country mouse status, she is unprepared for the chaos of no job, one friend, and a rapidly disappearing bank account. When she meets an attractive hot man at the local watering hole, her body screams YES YES YES while her anxiety controlled brain screams RUN RUN RUN!
Matthew Ward is a neuroscientist with a busy schedule and a strong need to control everything around him. When he meets Jolene, he sees the perfect submissive for his dominant nature and sets out to tempt, tease, and satisfy her every sexual desire and fantasy.
Under Matthew’s hands and whip, the voices quiet down and Jolene begins to blossom. Soon the sexual only relationship line begins to blur and they find themselves indulging on more than just sex. But when a misunderstanding sends Jolene into a tailspin, will she be able to pull herself out or will she run away and forget who she is bound to?
Bound To is an erotic bittersweet coming of age romance devoted to helping a sheltered young woman explore her sexual needs while addressing her mental and emotional issues. A full body read that flows along at a steady pacing with a witty banter, steamy sex scenes, and an engaging heroine whose initiation into BDSM opens the door to infinite possibilities if only she can accept she is worthy of it all. The low-key angst and drama is a definite plus.
Jolene is an appealing heroine whose internal observations and monologues really resonated with me. Fox does an excellent job of getting into Jolene’s mindset without it feeling manipulative or grandiose. I think we all have that inner voice who tries to convince us we aren’t pretty enough, sexy enough, smart enough, etc… but Jolene’s voice never stops. Told strictly from Jolene’s point of view, readers get a first-row seat to her feelings about leaving home, being unable to find a job, a dwindling bank account, and having little to no sexual experience. Meeting Matthew creates a whirlwind of confusion, curiosity, lust, and excitement. She sees this gorgeous, successful man who seems to want to be with her and she teeters between pride and fear-always waiting for the show to drop and him to leave her.
Matthew is the perfect hero. A cinnamon bun. Patient, informed, sweet, firm, and considerate. He is a dominant well-respected in the community. A neuroscientist, he has OCD and controls issues and uses BDSM as an outlet. He instantly recognizes what Jolene is and needs though he repeatedly makes sure she understands everything happening. It’s all very well plotted and informative. While I felt he and Jolene meshed well together with some very nice chemistry, it was obvious that Jolene was the main character and Matthew was built to her specs.
The romance gradually builds as it morphs from sexual attraction to love. The relationship starts out mainly sexually motivated as Matthew tells Jolene that he’s not good boyfriend material but he wants to spend time with her. From there, Matthew draws out Jolene’s sexuality, gently coaxing her out of her shell and showing her how her submission empowers her and helps to quiet her fears. The more time they spend together, the more their feelings for one another grow. It’s all very organic and you find yourself rooting for Jolene and Matthew’s HEA though you know deep down she needs some professional help before that can happen. Especially after a series of events sends her spiraling into the unknown and Matthew is unable to help her.
A personable cast of secondary characters adds humor to the storyline. Jolene has so many people who love and are rooting for her. Her bestie stands firm at her back and champions her even though she doesn’t understand the appeal of her fantasies. The ladies at the club draw her into their circle and show her that she is perfect just the way she is. Her parents left me a little cold and I wish her mom and/or dad would have stuck up for her to the rest of the family.
The only real issue I had is that I really wish Matthew would have fleshed out a little better. The last few pages are the best of Matthew as he shows us he is indeed fallible. I also would have enjoyed more time in the club. Regardless, I genuinely enjoyed meeting Jolene and watching her grow into the confident, happy woman she was always meant to be. This is a stand-alone so story ends on a good note with no lingering questions or issues.