Ttile: BoundBook Series: Mastered, Book #1Author: Lorelei JamesGenres: Contemporary Erotic RomanceFormat: AudiobookNarrator: Rachel Vivette & Luke DanielsLength: 11 hrs and 41 mins
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 .
Lorelei James is a fantastic writer. She’s the first Erotica author I’ve ever encountered and I’ve become pretty loyal fan. This is the third of her series that I’ve read — and it’s already become a favorite — and I will continue to read her all her works. What I love the most about her writing is that, yes, she’s got an awesome talent for writing steamy, sexy stories. Every scene is hot — even if I don’t like the characters (which often happens with her female protagonists). But what I love the most about her is her stellar character- and world-building abilities. Her characters aren’t just romantically/emotionally entangled. They’ve got differing personalities and familial backgrounds and the story is never just about them. They have great friends, interesting careers, and evil enemies. They have hang ups, quirks, hobbies and mood swings. What I’m getting at is that all characters — primary and secondary — have unique and full lives. It’s easy for me to fall into into her stories because their world is so well-crafted that there’s enough of a story and storyline to keep me going strong.
But now, I’m ready to delve into this sexy story about Amery, a minister’s daughter with sexual hangups and emotional baggage, and Ronin, her socially-challenged, enigmatic Sensai who had to tied her up to help set her free. I loved this story... 100% loved it. It got me all hot & bothered, cheering for Amery and screaming at Ronin all in the right places.
I really liked Amery a lot. Which is saying something, because I haven’t always like James’s female protagonists. I appreciated her strength most of all, because it came from somewhere deep inside her. Even though she had a bad upbringing with her family shoving religious persecution down her throat and that her ex had ripped her heart apart, she still had strength because of who she was inside. Even despite everything that had happened to her. That’s a girl I can definitely get behind and root for. She was also had enough snark to suit my sarcastic tastes and had great group of friends to keep it all together. But that’s enough of the girl; let’s get to the boy.
James’ has an uncanny ability to create male protagonists who absolutely make me absolutely melt, and Ronin Black is no exception. However, Ronin is a different what I’ve experienced of James’s rough n’ tumble cowboys. He had the strong, masculine power that all of her male characters have, but he was also quiet and reserved and so, so complicated. Emotionally unavailable on the surface and non-communicative from the start, he even kept me guessing. And yet, when you get that small peek into what was under the tough, unflappable veneer, he is also a man who shows great respect for his lovers and friends — and even more for Amery. Ronin doesn’t like challenges to his authority, appears impassive and acts stubborn, but he was so willing to give so much to Amery whether it was obvious or not. I really loved that about him. Plus, the man showed some sexual prowess and could talk dirty like I couldn’t believe. I didn’t think I was into dirty talk — but apparently, when it’s just as demanding as it is sensual, it’s very hot and I find hard to be unaffected. Also, I really love his background. Owner of his own dojo, 8th degree black belt who studied at monastery… rope master.
Speaking of ropes, it's time to address the kink in the story. I have to admit while nothing about traditional bondage interests me, I found ancient form of Japanese rope-binding — Kinbaku/Shibari —very interesting and intriguing. I looked into it on Pinterest and it’s quite breathtaking and beautiful. To know that it’s just as much of demonstration of the binder’s artistic skill with ropes and that the binder displays his work in a beautiful, artistic way that also is intended to give pleasure is an interesting balance. I especially liked how Ronin's interest in Shibari stemmed from his desire to master all aspects of his martial arts.
The book does ends on an cliffhanger — but it's awesome. My mouth was hanging open for all the right of reasons. I'm not going to divulge anymore than this; go read it for yourselves.
This audiobook was a dual male/female narration, so ladies first. Rachel Vivette is an interesting narrator. I didn't really like her speaking voice. The cadence felt a little off to me; it didn't flow. However, I did like her both interpretation of Amery's "don't cha kno" accent and Ronin's sexy, sultry voice. I'd probably pick up another one of her audiobooks.
You wait a very long while before Luke Daniels' narration kicks it. And when it did, it kind of smacked me in the face with wrong it was. I was so used to Vivette's sultry interpretation of Ronin and Daniels' voice felt nothing like it. He didn't sound like a bad ass and he didn't sound sexy — he kinda sounded like a nerd. I actually yelled "no, no, no, wtf!" And then he started speaking as Ronin. Yeah... my big mouth shut immediately. Well hello, Mr. Black.