Book Review: Bound to You by Shawntelle Madison

The title pretty much infers there’s going to be some bondage. But the story was less about bondage and more about a genuine interest/need to be a legitimate submissive. And of course…feelings.

Bound to You

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
A woman is hired as a concierge to a man who has a dominant pull on her, even though she’s still trying to get over her former lover. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Catering to the Rich & Famous
Sophie has had to deal with a lot during her career as a personal concierge, but her new client, Xavier, is a bit different. He wants her all to himself…professionally speaking (at first). He’s demanding, but he’s also seductive and Sophie is attracted to him, though she insists on keeping things within the boundaries of a business relationship. Outside of her job, Sophie is still getting over the fact that her former lover left her with no explanation after an affair that was fairly intense for her.

Prepare for Total Domination
Xavier is a cold businessman who expects others to play by his rules. He’s attracted to Sophie from the beginning, and though he has no intentions of getting into a relationship, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to dominate her. Literally.

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No Shame Here
I loved that the characters were comfortable with and unapologetic about their kinks. Xavier is a dominant and Sophie is a submissive who wears cuffs as a way to hang on to the lover who left her. At no point do either of them think that their interests are deviant, which I thought was cool. In fact, Sophie’s group of friends are all into aspects of the BDSM lifestyle. Xavier does mention that his interests are a little extreme and he alludes to the fact that he can’t always find women to indulge them, but he doesn’t seem to think any less of himself.

Coupling
Besides the fact that they owned their sexuality, I liked Sophie and Xavier as characters and enjoyed the way their relationship developed. Xavier starts out pretty hard ass but is fairly tame by the end of everything. What really stood out to me was Sophie’s struggle with not having closure about how she was left. It rang true to me, and as someone who accepted she was a true submissive, I thought that the cuff wearing was a great detail.

Maybe 3 Shades
I’ve half joked in the past about people trying to write a better version of 50 Shades of Gray, and I kind of feel like this is one of those instances. It’s not a copy or a retelling, but there were parts that reminded of 50SoG. Of course, that was more in the content. This book was better written and it left out the complete psycho of a “hero” and the complete dope of a “heroine” who was clueless and kind of blank.

Extra Scenes
One of the things I thought was a little weird was what I sometimes think of as the deleted/extra scenes, though in this case, they’re not deleted. For instance, one of Sophie’s roommates is a phone sex operator, and Sophie steps in one time to take a call (which turns out to be one where Sophie has to act as the dominant). While not a bad scene and one that showed that Sophie understood the role of a dominant (which I guess was probably the point), it felt out of place, like it wasn’t needed. There were a few other small instances of that type of thing. Though it didn’t detract from the story at all, I wondered why it was needed.

More to Come
There were a few things that I think set the stage for future books, so I didn’t question those. It’s possible that phone sex thing might have just been a way to get us prepped for Miss Phone Sex’s story (I feel I should comment that the name of this series is “At Your Service” and this tickles me to no end).

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The Romance Factor
It took awhile for me to really get a strong romantic vibe. Eventually Xavier starts getting protective of Sophie and jealous of the guy she’s still hanging on to, but in a love sense, things didn’t get passionate until the end. 3/5

The Steam Factor
If the passion of love wasn’t there early on, the steamy sexy times certainly were. The dom/sub thing is fairly subtle and it’s not highlighted, it simply blends in as part of the world (not a bad thing). Based on Xavier’s opinion of his kinks, I thought things were going to get a little out of control, but while they weren’t exactly tame, they didn’t get uncomfortable either. 4/5

Final Thoughts
Once again, I want to mention the whole “At Your Service” thing, because the innuendo cracks me up. For real, though, I liked this story. Dom/sub stories aren’t always well done, but I thought this one was on point. It didn’t showcase the lifestyle, it just showcased two people who were going to eventually get it on and fall in love who just happened to enjoy that lifestyle. Big kudos for sex positivity and a good story. I’ll definitely read more of this series.

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