I have followed this series since book 1, Bonds of Trust. There have been all types of people as heroes and heroines and all types of matches. There have been young and old, military and civilian, kinky and vanilla, bi-sexual and heterosexual but we have not had a true gay couple yet. Bonds of Desire gave us a m/m/f, which was delicious, but no man on man love without any women. When I saw the blurb for Bonds of Denial I was thrilled. I really enjoy this series and to learn there is a m/m couple next made my day.
Rock is the security guy for The Den and a man of few words. In previous books we haven’t heard much from him. He is a computer nerd and prefers to have his face time with the screen instead of real humans. Because his job involves watching the people of The Den he has seen Carter Montgomery come in once a month for almost a year. He is always with the same man and plays the same role. Rock sees the few moments when he is unguarded though and that is the man Rock wants.
Carter works for the same escort agency that Tyler from Bonds of Desire did. He is actually the one who “recruited” Tyler so Rock has some frame of reference on who Carter is. Rock works up the courage to buy three hours with Carter but nothing other than dinner happens. Rock freaks out when Carter touches him and leaves the man behind.
Carter is deep in the closet, one of the most closeted heroes I have ever read. When he was 14 his father beat him for daring kiss another boy and when he was away at war he was the target of a gay hate crime. These two events left such awful scars on his psyche and his person that he vowed to keep his sexual preferences stuffed in a box and never let them out, until he spends time with Carter.
Carter has only months left on his contract with the agency and then he doesn’t know what he is going to do with his life. He is so tired of being an escort but it is all he has known for 10 years. When his meeting with Rock turns into a second session he feels like he has finally met someone he connects with. Outside relationships never work for him because of his job but he wants to know Rock better. The two men decide to see each other outside of an escort setting and feelings develop fast. They have a lot to overcome though with how afraid Rock is of admitting he is gay and the reality of Carter’s job.
As I mentioned I was pretty happy to have a m/m couple to read about. Rock had never let on he was gay, of course he never spoke, so when I found out it was him, I was surprised. It became clear that not only was the reader kept in the dark about Rock’s sexuality but pretty much everyone was. He told nobody, acted on it with nobody, and basically kept it close to his chest. I wasn’t sure how someone so secretive and ashamed of what he was would be able to come around to an open relationship in less than 300 pages.
I think had it been anyone else but Carter, Rock would have never opened up. Carter was the one man Rock considered letting it all out for. I loved watching the trust slowly develop between these two. Rock isn’t the only one with issues and Carter has to figure out how to trust Rock won’t leave him because of his job. Things are going well until mere weeks before the end of his contract Carter is sent out on a job that wrecks him. He comes home to find Rock there and it is the last thing he wants. Something happens that should never have gone down and each man is left devastated and unsure how to proceed. The scene is ugly and very unappealing in some ways but it felt like it had to happen in order to clear out some underlying issues. I am not sure this couple would have survived if things didn’t come to a head like they did.
Overall, this was a very thoughtful book. It was also one of the most difficult coming out books I have read. At times it was painful to read the turmoil in Rock but Ms. Aicher handled it very well. The end was a wonderful showing of the love these two have for each other. I think this was one of the better books in the series because it felt deeper, more complex and somehow more emotional than previous books. Ms. Aicher’s writing really shined in this one. I enjoyed it and can’t wait to see where we go next although I will say Vanessa, the female Domme, might challenge me. I’m not sure what I will do about that one. Final grade- B
“I’m the first man you’ve ever been with. How do you know it’s love?”
“The same way I’ve known since the beginning that we’ve never fucked.”