I reviewed the first book in the Wicked Play series, Bonds of Trust, not too long ago so when Bonds of Need was available I was excited to read it. The series is about three men who own a BDSM club together. Each man has his own demons to deal with as they look for that special woman. Bonds of Need is Deklan’s and Kendra’s story.
Kendra is a friend and neighbor to Cali, the heroine from Bonds of Trust. Deklan also lives in the same complex. For months Deklan has watched Kendra and been attracted to her but he has done nothing about it. When Kendra arrives at the club as a guest for their Mardi Gras party, Deklan realizes that she is no stranger to their lifestyle. From her posture, eye contact and her very demeanor it is clear Kendra is a submissive and one that he would love to get his hands on.
Kendra is recovering from a very abusive relationship. Her former boyfriends used her need for pain as a way to abuse and control her. Because he was so tied up in her family and life, Kendra left them all behind to start something new for herself. She has been struggling with the knowledge that all sexual pleasure for her is now tied up in pain. She is afraid she needs the pain to climax but she is also afraid to step back into that lifestyle. The thought of being hurt and used again triggers a panic attack but she knows something has to be done.
After arriving at the club with her friends she is allowed to wander off to the Dungeon, the only place that can provide her with what she needs. She is selected by another Dom but doesn’t know if she can go through with a scene until Deklan arrives. He is able to calm her down and provide her with the temporary relief she needs. Her relief fixes nothing though as she is still terrified of everything and unable to be alone with a man.
Several weeks later, Deklan and Kendra agree to a contract. Neither have been able to forget their shared moment in the club. For Kendra’s part she needs help and Deklan might be able to give it to her. Deklan just cannot get Kendra out of his mind. He also seems to have a hero complex and can’t give up the idea of fixing her. Kendra and Deklan must find a way to battle their own fears and learn to trust each other. But will the return of Kendra’s ex and his threatening ways put Kendra back where she started?
It was really refreshing to read a BDSM novel where the heroine is familiar with the lifestyle. For the most part the storyline is about a woman who doesn’t know she needs pain or dominating and we have to go through page after page of denial on her part. Bonds of Need does not make us rehash those tired arguments. We are allowed to start with the heroine knowing what she needs and then figuring a way to get it.
I thought the portrayal of an abused woman was done well. Kendra doesn’t just drop and submit because Deklan uses a harsh voice. One scene does not fix all of her problems. In fact, this story is told over the course of several months, a time that is long enough to make her transformation believable. Even when her ex shows back up we see her struggle with some leftover triggers and behaviors which makes the story that much more believable.
Deklan was hard to get a handle on. We know he has a dark past from the fact that he has the names of people he lost tattooed on his leg. We didn’t get much back story from that though so I was never sure how deep those scars ran. He has an interesting relationship with the other club owner as they all snipe at each other a lot. I would have liked to have seen more of a funny banter between then because while it is obvious they are close, sometimes their conversations came across as more mean than helpful and thought-provoking.
Overall, this book was even better than the first one in the series. I enjoyed this story more and felt it had more to add. There is a heartbreaking scene that is tense and forces the conflict of the story. It was well written and true in its aim to push Kendra into healing. If you liked the first book in this series, I think you will get into this one even more. And I look forward to the next owner. He seems to have secrets that need uncovered. Final grade- B
“When it’s done right, it’s all about caring and sharing. About giving each other what we both need and want. Isn’t that the very foundation of love?”