Review: Bonds of Courage
Bonds of Courage by Lynda Aicher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When worlds collide, does an Ice Queen shatter or will she melt and become something else? Vanessa Delcour splits her life into three distinct quadrants. She keeps her business and personal life completely separate. She splits her personal life down to two sections - those who live in the lifestyle and those who do not. To keep these separate, she actually owns three phones to ensure never will the three meet. It's a taxing job to split a life to this degree. I can personally attest to this which is why I connected with Vanessa so well. I too own separate phones for work and personal and I don't mix the two. Oddly enough, I also separate my vanilla friends from my lifestyle friends, just not to the degree which Vanessa accomplishes in this story.
The ground work Ms. Aicher lays out in this story to generate conflict is well done. There is a reason why Vanessa aka Mistress V keeps others from knowing about her lifestyle. For one, it is a career killer. For most of us in the lifestyle, it is an issue for our job if word were to get out about our "perverse" proclivities. Ms. Aicher takes it another step further by showing why Vanessa keeps her family away from her friends in the lifestyle. This one, is a painful one which a reader guesses pretty early on. It's confirmed later in the story and it's a sad yet all too common a tale.
The conflict in this story is very well done. It comes in the form of a sexy hockey player, Holden Hauke. Hockey players are known to be aggressive and ruthless on the ice. They can also be quite sexually exuberant with the amount of "puck bunnies begging for a fuck" (location 4661 on Kindle). For a macho hockey wanting to bend over and sub for a female dominant, it goes against their alpha male image. Yet this is exactly what Holden needs and wants. He's the catalyst which throws Vanessa's carefully constructed world into utter chaos. For a control freak like Vanessa, this could spell a complete mental meltdown.
Ms. Aicher does a great job of developing the characters and making them human and relatable. She also shows the ups and downs in a BDSM relationship is not too different than a vanilla one. The BDSM in this story is enjoyable and I'm doubly happy to read a femdom one where the female dominant isn't a cruel sadistic bitch determine to emasculate and belittle a male. Sure, Vanessa does possess some hang-ups, but no different than other people. She acknowledges and moves on which is a nice personal growth in this story. Holden also grows in ways unexpected and quite admirable. Essentially, when two people bring out the best in each other and there is a lovely erotic power exchange, it's a pleasure to read. The fact that the relationship isn't perfect and they have to work misunderstands out makes it even better. This story isn't all doom and gloom serious. There are highlights of humour at unexpected times. One of my favourites is near the end when Holden's two close friends guess his true relationship with Vanessa. The scene is worth several re-reads because it's well written and funny. It's also something I can see three jocks saying. This romance is highly recommended to femdom lovers who also want a strong male sub.
*provided by NetGalley
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