Thursday, June 26, 2014

Review by Jodi: Bound for Trouble by EM Lynley

Author: EM Lynley
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Rating: 5/5 Smooches

Daniel “Deke” Kane is a broken man, facing the end of his career in the FBI. He’s on desk duty after a botched drug raid left the suspects and two children dead. He’s got one chance to prove himself, or the only thing he’ll be investigating is the Help Wanted ads.

Ryan Griffiths has been on the run for ten years. Forced onto the streets when his father kicked him out, Ryan earns his living in other men’s beds. Finding his john dead in a hotel room drives him under the radar until a favorite client gives him a chance at a safe, clean life. But Ryan’s relatively stable new world shatters when Deke Kane catches up with him.

When Deke’s tasked to take down a drug dealer with terrorist ties and a taste for the dark side of BDSM, his only chance to get close is the suspect’s interest in Ryan, and he convinces Ryan to become a confidential informant. In return, Deke offers Ryan immunity from his past. As Ryan falls under the drug lord’s domination, Deke finds himself falling for Ryan.

Now Deke has to choose between Ryan’s safety and his own future.


Bound for Trouble is EM Lynley’s first novel-length BDSM-themed book. This novel is not as light-hearted as the stories in the Delectable series or the recently release Out of the Gate. The main characters in Bound for Trouble are realistic, intriguing, broken and conflicted. This is a superb story that is teeming with action, hot sex and a bit of violence.

When readers first meet FBI agent Deke Kane, he is literally waking up from a nightmare. A bad decision during a drug raid not only has his career hitting rock bottom, but also his self-esteem is in the gutter. After all, what good is a lead FBI agent who doesn’t trust his own decisions? Not to mention the fact that his fellow agents and his superiors don’t trust him either. While Kane is waiting to be cleared for regular duty, the agent is spending “his days poring over Facebook and Instagram for idiots who posted photos of themselves committing crimes or spending ill-gotten gains.” Clearly he is depressed and dejected.

Even the white-collar unit got more action than Deke did on his desk.
Once he spotted something suspicious, he used a variety of techniques to locate the perp; then a team of “grown-up” agents got to make the collar. Deke got a silver star on his report card for the assist, but the takedown team got the gold star—and the glory.

He wasn’t sure how much longer he could endure this. If he wasn’t already a little fucked-up in the head, this would surely drive him around the bend. It was the Bureau’s way of easing him out when they couldn’t easily fire him. He’d heard from a friend who did a stint in Tokyo that when a Japanese company wanted to get rid of someone, they put him on an impossible task or put him in a room on his own and made him feel like an outcast in the company. Japanese companies didn’t like to fire people; it went against the corporate culture. Eventually, the guy would quit, and the company would save face.

Deke understood very well how successful that strategy must be. Every morning as he knotted his tie and prepared to leave his apartment, he wondered just how much longer he could keep this up. How many more days of mindless web surfing could he take before he either handed in his papers or just offed himself? Probably a good thing he didn’t have his service weapon after all.

Maybe that was for the best, he thought on nights like these when the dream—the nightmare—woke him up. Tonight he’d actually had the dream twice. That only happened once in a while, but he knew it didn’t bode well for his future.

Kane has one last chance to redeem himself. Maksim Petrov is a bad man. He is a criminal mastermind who seems to be just out the FBI’s reach at every turn. Capturing him is a high priority … allegedly. And that is where Ryan Griffiths enters the picture. A former stripper and prostitute, Ryan is trying to turn his life around. Ryan’s former boss and client is helping him on the condition that Ryan stays away from the strip club where he was dancing. Ryan wants nothing to do with his former strip club or anything affiliated with Petrov, but he feels an obligation to try to set things right for his friend Rocco, and that is why he agrees to help the FBI.

… maybe they realized he’d made up the story he’d told when he called the hotline, tying Petrov to a rent boy who’d gone missing. But they’d finally called him back in for a face-to-face, and this time Ryan had something real he didn’t think they could ignore: the gun conversation he’d overheard. But he’d fucked up again. Of course the FBI would be suspicious of someone volunteering information like that. What had he been thinking?

Maybe it was for the best. Ryan didn’t want to tangle with Maksim Petrov in any way, shape, or form, even via the FBI. People who went against him ended up dead. Even people who weren’t involved with him could get hurt.

He’d never forget that night two years earlier when he and his best friend, Rocco, had been partying with a trick in the Tidal Wave Inn. Ryan had left to get some more booze, and when he’d gotten back, he’d seen a figure with a shaved head leaving the room. Inside, Ryan had found Rocco dead and the trick bleeding out, both with their throats sliced open.

He’d called 911 and run like hell, hoping no one had seen him going in or out of the room. He’d stayed away from the Tidal Wave after that, and the cops had never caught the killer. Ryan had never seen him before or since—until his last week at Club Kiwi, when he saw the shaved-head killer shaking hands with Maksim Petrov and sitting down with him for a drink.

There had to be a connection between Petrov and Rocco’s murder.

Ryan and Deke are instantly attracted to each other. But Deke needs to hide his attraction since his career is at stake, and he is not officially out at his job.

Deke flipped open the file with the basic information he’d collected earlier. Not much, but intriguing. It would be the basis of an interesting interview. He watched as the guy tapped his fingertips on the tabletop as if he were playing an invisible piano.

Griffiths was quite a looker. Not just hot in his own right, he matched the kind of men Petrov had been seen with recently. Deke kept that in the back of his mind as he evaluated the information in Ryan Griffiths’ file. If Deke played this right and got his way, tempting Petrov with Ryan Griffiths would be like giving candy to a baby.  The usual technique would be to sweat the guy for a while.
Deke figured another twenty minutes would do it. He went into the observation room, sat, and checked his quarry out through the one-way glass.

Griffiths was wearing a pale-green polo shirt that hugged his upper body in all the right places. Glancing under the table, Deke noticed he was wearing shorts. He’d get a better look soon, but for now, he would enjoy the view.

Oh yeah, Deke wouldn’t mind some of this candy himself. He unhooked from the case for a minute and imagined how Ryan Griffiths would look naked, spread out on the interrogation-room table. Deke’s cock thickened, and his pants felt far too tight. Well, it never hurt to look. He’d heard plenty of comments from his colleagues when they had hot women in the room. What would Serah say if she knew how attracted Deke was to Ryan Griffiths?

The FBI investigation is intense, and Ryan, who winds up in the middle of the action, is in way over his head. Ryan is looking for love and someone to take care of him, and Petrov knows exactly what do and say to get Ryan to relax. The BDSM in the story runs the gamut from mild to intense to abusive. Lynley does a great job exploring not only the trust components of this lifestyle, but she also shows what happens when trust and power are abused.

There are some interesting plot twists in this story; not everything is as it seems, and Lynley does a great job keeping the reader captivated. With this intriguing cast of characters, Lynley has developed a great plot that keeps readers on the edge of their seats. With Bound for Trouble, Lynley shows not only her mastery of character development, but also her ability to tackle taboo subjects with finesse.

Thank you to EM Lynley and Pride Promotions for providing a review copy of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

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