There’s a lot about this story that was good. It was fast paced, the dialogue was very good and the characters were interesting. But even with all that going for this story, I didn’t especially care for either Amery or Ronin. And it’s not because they were not well written. They were very interesting characters with a very interesting story to tell; it’s too bad for me that they were just two people who I could neither empathize with nor could I really see myself being friends with. This is the second book in the James’s Mastered series and it’s also the conclusion to Amery Hardwick and Ronin Black’s romance. If you’ve not read the first story, this is going to have spoilers for that one because it’s the same characters and the same story line – consider this your only warning.
Picking up immediately after the first story, Bound, Amery and Ronin are still broken up but they quickly get back together, at least in bed. There are many secrets and more than enough lies between these two and it was enough for me to put the story down a time or two, mainly because Ronin’s a grown ass man and I expected that kind of behavior from a younger person, not someone his age. The amount of angst because of secrets was some times just too much to bear. Unlike the first story which was told primarily from Amery’s POV, this one gives more insight into Ronin’s thinking. We get a pretty good idea how Ronin deals with not just the break up but anything in his life that he can’t control. I was surprised that at 38, he’s still alive because he’s has quite a few uncontrollable things in his life and his method for dealing is stepping into the fighting ring and duking it out with this fellow MMA fighters.
Like the first story, Amery and Ronin’s sex life is abundant. Most of their interactions – be it fighting or talking – end up with them having sex. I’m okay with that as much as the next reader, but I would rather read a good story without sex than a meh story with sex. I shouldn’t expect any different than what I got because this is a story about bondage after all. Although, he’s proclaimed differently, Ronin still needs the bondage when he’s having sex and Amery still enjoys that kink even though she questions Ronin’s need for it. A dichotomy to say the least.
The more I read, the more I wanted to find out what’s going to happen between these two because the last thing I wanted was to be disappointed with a too convenient ending. So I kept reading, the plot would take a turn for the better and then something stupid and ridiculous would happen to bring me right back down. After a while I began to wonder if the age difference between these two was a factor for me and to be honest, yes it was. Ronin is almost 40 with a varied history – from Japan to the US – and finds himself drawn to this much younger woman who in all respects is relatively innocent of the ways of the world. What does that say about Ronin that he finds the youthful innocence of Amery much more attractive than someone a bit closer to his age? See my dear reader, these are the things that had me perplexed and didn’t sit well.
If you read the first story, you’ll remember Naomi, Ronin’s ex. Well, she’s back and she’s very disruptive and this drives much of the reactions from both Amery and Ronin. I was really disappointed by the way that was introduced and no real resolution. Amery’s parents make their appearance with all the hellfire-and-brimstone that was intended. I absolutely couldn’t stand the way that her parents were represented nor did I like Amery’s attitude towards her parents but I guess you can’t love your parents and like what Amery liked what she had with Ronin. It would have been nice to see her parents practice what they preached but maybe that’s me over-reaching again.
To say that I’m bummed that the series has ended with this story is an understatement because I found Ronin’s sister Shiori to be very interesting. There were quite a few other secondary characters that I wouldn’t mind reading about – Amery’s employee and friend Molly, Ronin’s right hand men – Knox and Deacon were their typical alpha-selves. The dynamics between all of them made for some fun and witty dialogue.
I was so across the board with this story that even writing this review gives me pause because many things about the story left me unsettled.
Happy Reading Folks!
*ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Lorelei James
Release Date: March 25, 2014