Lynda Aicher – Bonds of Denial: Book Five of Wicked Play (Wicked Play #5)

wickedAuthor: Lynda Aicher
Reviewer: Mandy
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: M/M BDSM

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Summary: It’s been twenty years since Rockford Fielding’s father punished him for kissing another boy. Now a grown man with a military career behind him, Rock continues to deny his true desires, even while working security at The Den, the most decadent sex club in town. But after a year of watching gorgeous Carter Montgomery come and go on the arms of other men, Rock can no longer resist the cravings he’s denied for so long.

Carter has just four months left on his contract with an escort agency, and he doesn’t know whether to feel relieved or afraid. Being an escort is all he knows. Adding to his confusion is the way his latest client, the sexy but stoic Rock, makes him feel things he hasn’t wanted in years.

One charmingly awkward date turns into two and soon the men are meeting off the clock. But with Rock in the closet and Carter unsure how to pursue a real relationship, how can they build a future both in and out of the bedroom?

This book is part of a series set around the BDSM club ‘The Den’.  I don’t usually read BDSM and I haven’t read any of the other books in this series but  I can safely say it’s fine as a standalone. The characters from the other books do appear and play minor roles, but it isn’t necessary to have read the other stories to understand what’s going on, although I’m sure it will be nice for people following the series to revisit them.

I love the rent boy trope, it’s one of my favorites and this story worked for me on so many levels.  Rock is a great guy and he’s so very deep in the closet, but he really really wants out, he just doesn’t know how, or even why he should.
“Too chicken to admit he liked men. Closeted for too many years to have any clue on how to escape the denial he’d been trapped in his entire life.” 
But Carter fascinates him, he can’t help himself, he really wants to get to know him.

The attraction is mutual and I loved watching Rock become sure of himself and more comfortable and secure in his sexuality, with Carter’s support.
“But I’m tired of hating who I am.”

Carter has his own demons. He’s falling for Rock, but he’s still an escort and despite what Rock says, Carter knows it just a matter of time for he sees him for what he really is.

“Whether he wanted to admit it or not, Rock had snuck through Carter’s own soundly erected walls to reach a part of him that had been closed off for ten long years. Years where he’d almost forgotten how to let anyone get close enough to see who he really was. Because no one wanted the real him. They all wanted whichever fantasy he presented.”
After Carter support and encouragement of Rock, it’s now time for him to return the favor.  Rock really is a rock for Carter, even when Carter does his damnedest to push and scare him away. He doesn’t let Carter’s fears ruin things, I loved that about him.
And boy does that man know how to set a stage and make a statement. *sniff* So sweet.

There is a real connection and love between the two MCs.
I like that it really was a give and take between them, both being what the other needed.

I loved this book, Rock’s epiphany and new start in life, free of fear and hiding and now a proud gay man and Carter finally following his dream with a new life and future with Rock right at his side.

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