Thursday, 20 September 2012
Book Review: Bound by Deception by Ava March
Bound by Deception
by Ava March
M/M Historical/Erotic Romance
Lord Oliver Marsden has a secret. He's been in love with his childhood friend for years, though Vincent's never shown an interest in him beyond friendship. Ruggedly handsome, wealthy, and successful, Vincent is everything Oliver is not. And Vincent doesn't prefer men.
Then Oliver discovers Vincent hires a man during his visits to a London brothel. Desperate to be with Vincent, Oliver orchestrates a deception, switching places with the brothel's employee. When Oliver arrives at the bedchamber, he's in for another surprise. Restraints and a leather bullwhip? Apparently Vincent isn't as conservative as he appears.
Lord Vincent Prescot has a secret of his own. One kept locked away and only indulged once a month. But this month's appointment is different. The mysterious man is so perfect, so beautiful in his submission, rousing protective instincts Vincent can't deny. Yet he refuses to believe he might truly prefer men, for it could mean the end of his hopes of earning his father's respect.
Will betrayal destroy them or will they be bound together by deception?
This is a very hot and sensual novella, peeking into the lives of Oliver Marsden and Vincent Prescot, both second sons of the aristocracy who met and became firm friends at boarding school. As the years moved on, however, Oliver fell in love with Vincent, who shows no hint of sharing his friend's preferences for men. That is until Oliver discovers that Vincent goes to a brothel once a month, in order to avail himself of the services of a male prostitute, the same one Oliver uses.
Oliver devises a very ill-informed plan, wherein he will take the place of the prostitute and have Vincent, even if it's only for one night. But the reader knows, long before Oliver does, that one night is never going to be enough and what happens when Vincent discovers the deception?
Although a short novella, you don't feel cheated of storyline and characters. Oliver and Vincent are both well-drawn, rounded characters, Oliver has a bit more depth than Vincent, I would say. Vincent is quite well-to do, but Oliver's families fortunes have waned due to his father and grandfather's gambling problems and the contrast between their two lifestyles is well done. Oliver's house has gone to seed a bit, as he has no maids or valets, unlike Vincent and I had to laugh at the scene wherein Vincent tries to convince him to get a maid, but Oliver doesn't want her to wonder what the hook in the ceiling is for. Vincent says that Oliver doesn't have a hook in the bedroom ceiling. "No, not yet."
The love scenes between our two heroes are scorching and who knew there were so many sex toys around in the Regency era? - Oliver has quite the collection! Some people might be put off by the BDSM elements, but though it is there and is quite sexy in my opinion, you also see the emotional connection between the two characters, it's not all just physical gratification. I don't think Oliver would have been that interested in it if it hadn't been with Vincent. It works for these two characters and that's what's important.
You have to suspend your disbelief a little during that first scene, where Vincent doesn't know it is Oliver he is with. They'd been friends for years, surely he would have recognised his voice even if Oliver had been trying to disguise it? Anyway, I was reading it for the romance, so I can forgive that and it is an interesting way for our two heroes to get together at first. I don't think I've ever read a book with that premise before, so kudos to the author for originality. I think Ava March has cornered the market with Regency M/M erotic romances, she does it very well and you can tell from the writing she loves the era she is writing about, but her books never turn into a history lesson.
A great read.
Reviewed by Annette Gisby.