Title: Bound: Forget Me Knot
Author: H.B. Pattskyn
Cover Artist: Shobana Appavu
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy Link: Bound: Forget Me Knot
Genre: M/M contemporary romance
Length: 260 pages
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
A guest review by Jenre
Summary review: An overall engaging BDSM story but had a couple of concerns about the depiction of the BDSM scenes.
Jason Kennly needs to get a closer look when he spots a gray leather collar from across the dealers’ room at a science fiction convention, even if there’s no way he can afford it on his college student budget. After all, looking is free. But then he spots something he wants even more than the collar: leather booth owner Henry Durand, who insists Jason try it on. When Henry asks Jason to be his model at a bondage demo, Jason agrees despite his lack of experience as a sub and ends up spending a no-strings-attached weekend exploring his kinky side with a virtual stranger.
Then the con is over, Jason and Henry go their separate ways, and it’s back to real life. Coming to terms with his identity as a submissive and masochist isn’t easy for Jason. Suddenly he has to face fear, doubt, and a best friend who’ll do anything to get him away from “that creep” and back together with the ex-boyfriend who ignored him. All Jason wants is to be with Henry, but what if that means becoming his slave?
There’s been lots of mention recently about the number of BDSM books around. I’m not complaining because I like reading BDSM books. The interchange and dynamics between a Dom and sub are fascinating. This story also has another of my much liked themes – May to December romance – so I was pretty certain I was going to like this book.
The story opens at a small science fiction convention. Jason is helping set out the dealers room and looking forward to the weekend. He’s pretty skint at the moment because he’s paying his college fees, but he treats himself to a room on his own. He’s attracted to a leather collar and talks to the stall holder, Henry, who he finds attractive. Jason wants to experiment with submission, and he’s nervous but pleased when Henry makes him an offer of a weekend fling.
There was much of the story which worked for me, especially in the character of Jason. He’s had a rough past and is now living in a less than satisfactory situation with a father he barely knows and his bitch of a girlfriend. Jason is essentially a good guy: hardworking, independent, making the best of a bad situation whilst trying to enjoy his life. However, like all people he has his less sympathetic characteristics: A tendency to feel sorry for himself; a little self-centred; slightly immature in his attitude at times. This wasn’t a bad thing for me because it made Jason a whole person with good and bad points and, since overall I liked him, I managed to forgive his unsavoury characteristics. What I liked most of all though is that this book is a journey for Jason. Henry sets hims on a path of self-discovery where he finds out that he gains self-worth and affirmation from submitting to a Dom. It takes him an entire book to begin to get comfortable with this idea, and I really enjoyed taking that journey with him.
Another part I liked was that, despite being older and more experienced, Henry still makes mistakes. Not only that, but he owns up to his mistakes, apologises and attempts to make amends. He’s the opposite of those ‘smug Doms’ who populate many BDSM books, and I liked him for it. We get hints of troubles in his past which has led to some lack of confidence in his ability as a Dom, but those are not explored in this book. I didn’t mind that so much, because this is really Jason’s story, but it made me curious and want to know more about Henry.
The story takes place mostly over a weekend, and then a few weeks after. This meant that, although the May to December theme, is touched upon, it’s not fully explored. Both men acknowledge their differences in age, and how that may lead to difficulties later, but they haven’t reached a stage in their relationship by the end of the book where it’s a problem. This was a realistic portrayal of the theme at this stage and as the story looks to continue into a further book, I think there will be space later to explore this theme further.
Where the story didn’t work as well for me was in some of the BDSM scenes. On the whole these were well written, and since it’s from Jason’s point of view, full of emotion and an exploration of the changes in his feelings through the scene, and his emotional progression in each subsequent scene. However, the first time Henry and Jason are together the scene is quite heavy, almost brutal. Henry and Jason discuss limits but Henry seems to take pleasure in pushing Jason past those limits. Whilst this was fine, I felt uncomfortable that Jason was so stretched on what was essentially his first ever BDSM scene, that perhaps Henry took things too far. It also made me squirm a little that Jason isn’t a masochist. He doesn’t get off on pain, rather on the submission. The fact that Henry breaks skin in that first scene, and that Jason didn’t enjoy it, left me feeling that Henry wasn’t necessarily someone to trust. That level of play between strangers, one of whom was totally new to the scene, felt wrong somehow.
There were a couple of other niggles. Jason’s friend, Kendra, tipped the line into the ‘interfering female friend’ category, and I was pleased when he recognised this and sought to distance himself from her. In fact all the female characters in the story came across as either interfering, bitchy or judgemental. Even the one female who would could have been a friend to Jason later in the book is shown to be insincere.
However, on the whole, I enjoyed this book. The story seemed simple on the surface, but there was a lot going on in Jason’s life which added a richness to the story. In particular, I was pleased to see the development in Jason’s relationship with his dad, which turned out to be much more complex than it seemed at first. The story ends on a sort of HFN. It’s a turning point in their relationship and the ending strongly suggests another book must be in the pipeline. I hope so because I want to read more about this engaging couple.