Bound By Lies
Author: Lynn Kelling
Rating: A, 4.5 Stars
What I’m Talking About:
Having escaped the stigma of a destroyed family and the cruel whispers of his classmates four years ago, Brayden Clare never considered returning to his hometown again. But, after experiencing the desolation of abandonment personally, he’s not about to do the same to his remaining relatives when they call on him for help. Life at the beach and a lack of conviction about his own sexuality hasn’t exactly prepared him to be a successful caretaker, however, yet he’s determined to do what’s right, regardless of the cost, even if it means losing his freedom to the voices of the past.
Golden boy Jenner Parrish, owner of the local bar, has always had it easy, or so everyone else in his small town thinks. Determined to stay out of the crosshairs of the bullies in his high school, he spent his time then as part of their group, often horrified by their exploits, yet never taking a stand against them. While he’s come to terms with his needs as a Dominant privately, his dread of rejection and worry over the opinions of others keep him from living the life he so desperately wants, leaving him isolated and withdrawn. But, when his fantasy-come-to-life walks through his door in need of a job, Jenner begins to question everything about the life he’s built for himself, and realizes that, sometimes, taking risks is the only option.
I’ve been very happy to see an increase in the number of novels about “alternative lifestyles” I’ve had the opportunity to read recently, especially when those stories determinedly address some of the misconceptions and myths surrounding their subjects. Bound by Lies, I was delighted to find, does exactly that. Brayden is plagued by insecurities about his desire to submit, believing his need to be dominated to be a validation for all the horrible things that happened during his high school years. Jenner is likewise hiding who he really is, fearing the rejection of both family and friends should they discover who he really is: a closeted gay man who is most at peace when spending time as a Dom.
While the majority of Bound by Lies revolves around the sexual relationship of the two main characters, it is through these scenes that we see what drives both men in its most distilled form. By finally addressing their mutual needs, they are able to live more securely and honestly, and with a real chance at happiness. Brayden comes to accept that it’s okay to want the things he does and that he’s stronger than he believed he could be, while Jenner learns that true selflessness and sacrifice are gifts in and of themselves, and that love is worth protecting at all costs. Just as importantly, they both learn that lying is a far too costly endeavor that never really solves anything, and that if given the chance to hear the truth, the people who really matter might just surprise you.
Bound by Lies is a wonderful story about finding love and understanding, not only from those around us, but from within ourselves. Brayden and Jenner aren’t perfect, but rather, are learning how to accept themselves in a world where the acknowledged rules of consideration and tolerance are often suspended, and where those they should be able to count on the most sometimes fail them. Although the third person omniscient, present tense narration was a bit awkward on occasion, it did little to diminish the beauty of Jenner and Brayden’s journey. The story itself is made more relatable by a variety of devices, one example being the familiar group of aging town bullies who insist that everyone around them maintain an eternal social hierarchy, even as they themselves scramble to hold onto the specter of their own fading glory. In the end, Ms. Kelling has written a beautiful tale about love between two people who ask for nothing more, and along with it, an idea of what life could be—what it should be—if everyone’s hearts were treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.
4.5 stars: Loved it – enthusiastically recommend (A)
About the Book:
Brayden Clare never wanted to return to small town life. Blond, athletic, and struggling with his sexual identity, a casual relationship on the beach in Florida suits him much better. When a family emergency calls him home, he is forced to trade his personal freedom for a job as a bartender in a town where everybody thinks they know who he is, and nobody has a clue—including Brayden. Jenner Parrish is the owner and operator of Parrish Pub, the social hub of Robertsville, Pennsylvania. Jenner is charming, dominant, and popular since they were both in high school together. Brayden finds his new boss intimidating, and is daunted to find that turns him on. Jenner finds his new recruit intriguing but mustn’t dare to ask an employee to submit to him. The two men find what they’re seeking at a masked BDSM ball in the next town over, and are startled to discover their desires rest much, much closer to home.
Release Date: August 5, 2013
Publisher: Fantastic Fiction Publishing
Genre: LGBT Contemporary Romance, BDSM
Format(s): Paperback (356 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Author
Bound by Lies