Bound By Guilt

BoundByGuiltTitle:  Bound By Guilt

Author:  Sandra Bard

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press June 2013

Rating:  B+ Cher   B List

Blurb: Kit Mason works at Eddy’s, a boutique where the clothes are chic, the paycheck’s weak, and Kit has no qualms about snagging rich older men looking to pay for play. When Cory St. James walks in, he checks all Kit’s boxes: he’s middle-aged, the entrepreneur of a pharmaceutical company, and already has a kept boy at home—what’s one more? Kit sets out to seduce Cory and bulldozes through his denials, but when Cory finally gives in, his lover, Sasha, catches them with their pants down.

Sasha isn’t the pampered toy Kit expected. In fact, Kit may have misjudged him. And the consequences that ensue when Sasha catches Kit and Cory together leave him alone. Unwilling to be weighed down by guilt, Kit decides to look after Sasha himself, even if Sasha can’t stand the sight of him and there are a few things about Kit’s past he doesn’t want Sasha to know. But Kit isn’t willing to do all the work when it comes to forcing Sasha to rebuild his life. It’s a slow process of growing trust and learning to stand on their own—and together.

Review: I really enjoyed this story. It was complicated. Poor Kit and Sasha both broken in their own ways. Both rough around the edges and new to having a relationship, of caring, of thinking of anyone but themselves. They needed each other very much and neither knew how to admit it.

Kit was achingly lost. Having struggled his whole life with little to no guidance. Making his way through the world completely on his own since he was a small child. He had such little expectations of people and the world, that he didn’t even expect to be liked. I understood why he was so jaded. He worked, but he could never make enough to support himself fully, always living on the edge of desperation. Why not take advantage of the offers of the rich old men who wanted him? No one was hurt and everyone understood the score. He never asked for more than enough to help him survive. Cory changed everything, even if he didn’t know it or mean to, he was the impetus for change in both men and their lives.

Kit was a survivor and I have a lot of respect for that. He didn’t have a drinking or drug problem, he didn’t steal or even scam, he didn’t outright trick and he held down a regular job. While his moral code might not be one I share, he lived by his own set of rules and sense of honor, though he would never have described it as such. In many ways he had a very childlike view of things, probably because that was the last time someone who loved him had any impact on how he dealt with the world.

There is a lot of Kit’s history that is hinted at without much detail, but with a definite sense of desperation and ugliness. Even when it seems they are talking and in a better place he still keeps a defensive posture and an eye towards what could be used as a weapon if he pushes too hard or angers Sasha too much. He broke my heart at times. I wanted to see him demand more for himself, he took the money but he never asked for what he really needed. He was worth so much more than he ever gave himself credit for, and he deserved to be loved and respected.

Beautiful, broken Sasha was in many ways more of a mess than Kit. So smart and cold and lonely. I truly believe that Kit saved his life. He seemed to deal with most things by not dealing with them. Though he’d never admit it, Kit freed him and helped him to create a new, happier and much more fulfilling life. Very bad things had happened and he had frozen and given up on life. He was as alone in the world as Kit, he just had more money and resources, but neither had love or anyone who cared for them.

There were many times I wanted to smack Sasha for his cruel tongue. The way he looked at and treated Kit, at times hurt my heart. It wasn’t Kit’s fault that he lacked education, that all he knew was surviving. I think that it was frequently a defense mechanism, he kept distance between them by putting Kit down or insulting him. But Kit was plucky and sadly used to insults, so most just rolled off of him. Sasha was also shy and a little awkward and I think it came across as cold and indifferent when really he just had no idea how to deal with the situation or he was embarrassed.

There was a lot of misunderstanding and lack of communication between these men that hurt them both. Neither was good about expressing himself and both tended to jump to the worst conclusion first and then not ask any questions. They’re both quick with the insults and getting defensive and expecting unkindness. I wanted to shake them both and tell them to pay attention to how the other was showing his love in all sorts of oblique and misunderstood ways. I wanted to tell them that what they were feeling, what the other man made them feel, was love and that it was okay to accept it, both inside themselves and from the other man.

Not at all a traditional romance. There was no dashing hero, no one was swept of their feet, no declarations or grand gestures. In their own ways they save each other, even as they grow enough, to begin to save themselves. It is, however, a story of love, healing, change and hope. Even if neither would ever admit to any of that.

Reviewed by Nina

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Posted on June 14, 2013, in Nina and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Thank you so much for your kind review. You seemed to understand my character so well.

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